This Sunday marks World Suicide Prevention Day.

Canadian Mental Health Association spokesperson Vicki Swan says suicide is a leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 15 and 24.

“I think the ultimate goal of this day is to start building awareness around suicide prevention and particularly suicide prevention training that’s available,” she says.

Stats show that each year, over 500 people die in BC by suicide. Swan says a number of courses are being offered to raise awareness, including the safeTALK Suicide Prevention Training program.

safeTalk is a half-day [course] and it really helps people identify [other] people who may have thoughts of suicide and gives them tools to ask those people directly about the possibility of suicide [and] then it gives them instructions on how to connect people at risk to life-saving communities and resources.”

Swan says another course is the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) two-day program. Over 100,00 people in 30 countries attend ASIST each year.

In Courtenay, the Alano Club is hosting a safeTALK seminar on Tuesday, September 12th. Swan says the session has already been booked up, but interested parties can contact the Canadian Mental Health Association to go on a wait-list. Swan is hoping to have another course in the Comox Valley in the near future.