Dry Grad donates to mental health

Dry Grad donates to mental health

Donation made in memory of Pen High grad

Penticton Secondary’s Dry Grad committee made a generous gift, giving up some of their funds to support suicide prevention training.

The committee donated $1,000 to Canadian Mental Health Association in the name of Isaiah Kozak, who died earlier this year. After graduation, Kozak had gone on to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., where he continued playing lacrosse.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the Penticton Dry Grad Committee”, said Leah Schulting, CMHA South Okanagan Similkameen executive director. “These funds will be used to support suicide prevention workshops in Penticton.”

Schulting laid out the statistics in a release, noting that suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadians aged 15 to 34, after motor vehicle accidents, and for every death it is estimated that there are as many as 20 attempts.

“These statistics are far too high but CMHA believes that suicide awareness and education can play a vital role in saving lives,” said Schulting. “Our suicide prevention workshops educate participants on how to identify someone who may be considering suicide and teaches them how to reach out to those who may be in crisis.”

The association encourages people, particularly those in trusted positions such as first responders, community service providers, Elders and spiritual leaders, coaches, teachers and others to sign up for suicide prevention training which could help them save lives.​ Bus drivers, hairdressers and others who face the public on a regular basis have benefitted from the training.

Thanks to the Pen High donation, the CMHA – South Okanagan Similkameen has been able to reduce the cost of two suicide awareness/prevention workshops planned for September.

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, a two-day interactive workshop, teaches participants to identify people who have thoughts of suicide, understand how beliefs and attitudes can affect suicide interventions, conduct safety assessments and develop safety plans with vulnerable individuals. It runs Sept. 6 and 7, and is discounted to $175 per person.

SafeTALK is a half-day training program helping participants recognize indications that someone is thinking about suicide and then connect them with care providers and other supportive resources. It happens on Sept. 8 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and is discounted to $10 per person.

To sign up for either of these workshops and for more information, please email Maggie at cmha.mhadvocate@shaw.ca or by phone on 778-476-5411.