safeTALK workshops being held

Part of the money which was raised through the Elias Giannoulis Memorial Hockey Tournament went to Christ the Teacher School Division (CTTSD) to help train people in the safeTALK program.

Kerri Shear, with CTTSD, said they were one of three recipients, the others being the Good Spirit School Division and SaskAbilities, of funding which was to target mental health support in the community.

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The safeTALK program fits that focus as it is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone 15 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper.

Shear explained that she and Scott Musqua took training in June to be instructors of the safeTALK program, which focuses on helping people in the community help others.

The program helps those taking the course better understand what might be indications someone is having suicidal thoughts.

“It teaches how to ask that question,” said Shear, adding people often feel uncomfortable, or scared to ask another person if they are thinking about suicide.

“It’s a very difficult thing to say,” he said.

But, people should understand asking the question does not suddenly put the idea in someone’s head.

“And, you’re not making the situation worse by asking the question,” she said.

Once the question is asked, Shear said safeTALK helps people “listen to the answer.”

That is an important facet of the program as it creates a dialogue.

And finally the program gives participants the tools to help someone with suicidal thoughts get to the right agency or group for the help and support they require.

Shear said it is hoped, as trained instructors, she and Musqua will provide the three-hour course to all teachers within their division in the coming months.

“And, we’ve contacted Yorkton Minor Hockey,” she said. Once the minor hockey program is in full swing they hope to provide the course to all coaches and staff.

The public will also have an opportunity to take the course, but dates have not yet been set, said Shear.

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