#365Convos is our initiative to encourage dialogue around mental health and suicide prevention throughout our community 365 days of the year. It was announced on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2021 in recognition of the fact that mental health is important every day – not just on days where the media spotlights. In this year-long initiative, we will investigate various monthly topics and share weekly posts to encourage you to continue your own dialogue. Follow our social media channels by following the links in the footer below to engage with us throughout this initiative.
Together as a community, we can have #365Convos, 365 days of the year.
Our theme for February is language and myths. The language we use and the beliefs we hold around suicide can be stigmatizing, and even harmful. This month’s content will provide the basis for having safe and stigma-free discussions on suicide as we join together in #365Convos. Check back each week to view the week’s content.
Language & Myths 1: A conversation with Ed Mantler, VP Programs and Priorities, Mental Health Commission of Canada
This week in #365Convos we share a video that our friends and colleagues at the Mental Health Commission of Canada filmed for us. This video features Ed Mantler, VP of Programs and Priorities, speaking about the importance of safe language and communication in online platforms. It is important to remember that words matter! In all of our conversations or communications, whether virtual or in-person, it is important to talk and share safely about suicide and the work of prevention so that we can create spaces where people can offer or seek help.
Language and Myths #2: Language Matters
Today in #365Convos, we are going to consider our language. Specifically, the ways in which language can be harmful or helpful. While we continue to encourage conversations each day of the year, we want to ensure that our words are welcoming rather than stigmatizing. In reflection this week, consider the ways in which you can adjust your language to promote healthy conversation. Take a look at our images above to find some ideas for how to get started. The content in these images has been directly adapted from Language Matters: Safe Communication for Suicide Prevention, created by the Public Health Agency of Canada in partnership with Centre for Suicide Prevention and l’Association québécoise de prévention du suicide.
Language and Myths #3: Myths Pt.1
Today in #365Convos, we want to combat some common myths about suicide by presenting you with the information you need to know. Above, you will see a series of myths and facts. Reflect on which one stood out the most? Were any surprising to you? Consider how you might share these facts, to try to remove misinformation from our continued conversations.
Language and Myths #4: Myths Pt.2
Today in #365Convos, we have more myths and facts to share. We want to ensure that our continued conversations are honest, caring and free from misinformation. Consider all information about suicide you may have heard, think about which sources you heard it from, and question how you might ensure information you share is factual and helpful and works towards breaking down stigma.
During the month of March in #365Convos we will look at risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors for suicide. While there is no one blueprint for identifying someone who might be thinking of suicide (not everyone will have the same risk factors or warning signs), we can learn to recognize changes in our family and friends that may indicate they are struggling and can use what we notice as a way to start a conversation. We can also learn about protective factors and how to promote them in ourselves and others to decrease the potential risk of suicide. We invite you to join us this month in talking about risk factors, warning signs, protective factors with your friends, family, colleagues, and loved ones. Together as a community, we can have #365Convos, 365 days of the year.
Risk factors, Warning Signs, & Protective Factors #1: Risk Factors
Today in #365Convos, we define risk factors and warning signs. We also will provide examples of risk factors, which may increase the potential for someone to think about suicide. As you read through these examples consider how these listed risk factors could play a role in forming thoughts of suicide. If you or anyone around you has experienced these risk factors, think about what impact they created, or how you or others may have coped with experiencing these factors. It is important to remember that not everyone who experiences these risk factors will think about suicide, and also that someone may have thoughts of suicide without having experienced any of these listed factors. Think of these risks factors as events or experiences where you or a friend may benefit from a supportive conversation. Next week, we’ll explore warning signs that one may exhibit if thoughts of suicide are forming. Learn more at wrspc.ca/understanding-suicide/risk-factors-warning-signs/
Risk factors, Warning Signs, & Protective Factors #2: Warning Signs
Today in #365Convos, we will further consider warning signs. Now that you know some possible risk factors, explore these images and consider what warning signs may look like for you of others around you. Warning signs can act as an alert system, and as invitations for help. If you notice yourself or someone around you showing these signs, it might be time to have a supportive and caring conversation. Reflect on what warning signs you show when you’re struggling or experiencing heightened stress – and what warning signs have you noticed for those you are close to? Check in next week as we shift to looking at protective factors, and learn more at wrspc.ca/understanding-suicide/risk-factors-warning-signs/
Risk factors, Warning Signs, & Protective Factors #3: Protective Factors
This week in #365Convos, we want to share protective factors. Protective factors can protect us against the potential negative impacts of stressors and risk factors we may experience, and therefore can decrease the risk of suicide. This week, reflect on what protective factors are present in your life. How can you build your protective factors to prepare ahead for hard times that may come? How can you be a protective factors, or promote protective factors, for someone close to you? Have conversations about protective factors with those around you. One protective factor is access to supports. We’ll be exploring community supports in more depth in a later month, but some supports you can keep in mind as you build your protective factors might include Here 24/7 (here247.ca) and Kids Help Phone (kidshelpphone.ca). View our series on Resilience and Protective factors on our website for more details: wrspc.ca/category/resilience-protective-factors/
Risk factors, Warning Signs, & Protective Factors #4: What about COVID-19?
Today in #365Convos, we wanted to mention that risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors might look different during COVID-19. Consider how you can still check-in with loved ones virtually, and how you might adapt to changes in your usual protective factors, including how you might build new ones. How might we continue to check-in with ourselves and others during a time of decreased face-to-face contact? For a more in-depth exploration of Suicide Alertness during COVID-19, wrspc.ca/suicide-alertness-during-covid-19/ and for resources available during this time visit https://wrspc.ca/maintaining-mental-wellness-during-covid-19/
Tune in next week for a special guest video exploring risk factors, warning signs, and resilience factors that parents can watch for in their youth.
Risk factors, Warning Signs, & Protective Factors #5: A Conversation with Stephanie Mattie
Wrapping up March’s #365Convos topic of risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors, we talk to Stephanie Mattie, a Mobile Crisis Worker with Carizon at Front Door: Access to Child & Youth Mental Health Services. We talk about how these things show up for youth. Stay tuned next month as we move into April’s topic of how to have a conversation, and kick things off with another guest video.
Welcome to April and to this months #365Convos topic which is “How to Have a Conversation”. Now that we have covered safe language, myths and facts, and warning signs and risk factors, this month we will share some guidance on how to have a conversation with someone about suicide when you think they may be struggling. We will kick off the month next Monday with a special guest video from our partners at CMHA Waterloo Wellington.
Monday April 5: Guest video – Laura McShane, CMHA Waterloo Wellington
Today in #365Convos, we share with you a conversation with Laura McShane, Coordinator of Mental Health Promotion and Education at CMHA Waterloo Wellington. Laura is also member of WRSPC’s advisory council, a member of Suicide Action Wilmot Wellesley, and a Livingworks SafeTALK trainer. In this conversation, Laura chats with WRSPC Program Coordinator Amanda about how to have a conversation with someone who might be thinking of suicide.
Monday April 12th: The Golden Rules & Some Tips
Today in #365Convos, we are sharing some quick tips from two great resources. First, we have Jack.Org’s resource Bethere.org and their “Golden Rules for Starting a Conversation About Suicide”. This resource provides 5 clear rules to follow when supporting someone with their mental health. Learn more on their website at www.bethere.org.
Today we also have some tips that come from the Centre for Suicide Prevention’s video: “Talk to Someone About Suicide”. These are helpful reminders for what to do while having a conversation about suicide. The video itself presents even more pointers, in a comprehensive way. View their full video here.
This week, think about which of these tips resonates with you, and think about how you might apply them in the next conversation you have with a friend who you think is struggling. Share this tips with others to create a caring community around you.
Monday April 19: Being a Better Listener
This week in #365Convos, we are sharing some guidance and tips collected from articles by the Mental Health Commission of Canada around how to be a better listener. Explore these images to learn about active listening, how we can be a mirror, and the dangers of ‘At least’. It can be common to want to put a positive spin on someone’s experience by saying ‘At least…’ but by doing this, we may be dismissing or diminishing a person’s real feelings and experiences, and may be further harming them through creating guilt or shame about what they feel. During COVID-19, our ability to be there for one another has shifted and we have had to find new ways to connect and check in with one another. Remember that your health is also important. While we continue to have conversations and be active listeners for others, we can also listen to our own needs. This week, consider how you can be a helpful listener in conversations and the ways in which you can listen internally to your own needs as well.
Monday April 26th: Considerations When Sharing your Experience
Today in #365Convos, we will provide you with some resources for people who want to share about their own experiences. Take a look at these images for some questions to ask yourself before you share, as well as some helpful tips on how to share safely if you decide to share with someone. Although these posts focus on online sharing, you can also apply them when thinking about when and how to share with someone in-person as well. These tips come from Orygen’s #Chatsafe guidelines, accessible here. As we come to the end of April, reflect on what you’ve learned this month, and consider how you can be a safe conversation starter and an active listener. Join us next month as we continue our #365Convos by exploring mental health resources and crisis supports in our community.
Welcome to May! This month in #365Convos, we wanted to provide some very practical mental health supports and crisis resources. This month we will have websites, chat options, phone numbers, crisis safety planning, and local counselling service options for you to explore. This month, consider what resources you already know of, have used previously, or have access to in case you or someone you know is in need of help. When looking at the resources presented this month, consider adding some of the numbers to your phone or writing them down somewhere easily accessible. We’re better able to navigate a crisis that we or someone else is going to if we feel prepared for it by knowing what resources can help in that situation.
Monday May 3: Guest video – Brenda Richard, Self-Help & Peer Support, CMHA Waterloo Wellington
Today in #365Convos, we share with you a conversation with Brenda Richard, Facilitator of Self-Help and Peer Support at CMHA Waterloo Wellington. Brenda is a Peer Support Canada Certified Peer Supporter, and also a longstanding volunteer with WRSPC. In this conversation, Brenda chats with WRSPC Program Coordinator Amanda to share information about Peer Support, and the services Self-Help and Peer Support offers.
Monday May 10th: Mental Health Support and Crisis Services
This week in #365Convos, we are sharing some phone numbers for text and calling as well as some website resources. The phone numbers can be used when you, or someone you know, needs to talk. Sometimes these services also provide an online chat box or an app version as well. The websites offered are generally more useful in gathering resources and information. Generally, the websites act as redirection for phone/text services. However, they have plenty of information about suicide prevention, and other mental health resources (in a variety of formats too). This week, consider checking out a website to gather some helpful tips for mental health. Next week, we will highlight some services that provide a “What to Expect”, in hopes of alleviating some of the uncertainty of the unknowns that arise from considering using these services.
Monday May 17: What to Expect
This week in #365 Convos, we want to offer a couple profiles of what to expect with different services. The three we will highlight this week are Here24/7, the Canada Suicide Prevention Services, and Kids Help Phone. Each of these services have provided articles of frequently asked questions or a step by step of what to expect when using their service. We hope that you will check out the websites, you may find comfort in knowing what to expect, or being able to explain to a loved one what they might expect from these services.
Monday May 24: Crisis Safety Plans
This week in #365Convos, we want to give a potential outline of a Crisis Safety plan. These templates can be adjusted as needed, but are intended to hold your information in one place, so that it is easily accessible in a crisis situation. There are printable versions of these cards, and also you may find an app, or just simply consider adding this to your phone or wallet for safe keeping. This week, consider creating your own crisis safety plan and finding an accessible place to keep it.
Monday May 31:
In this final week of Crisis Resources for the month of May in #365Convos, we want to offer some suggestions for local counselling and mental health services. While there are plenty more to offer, we provided some highlights with website links that you may want to consider. These services are preventive, and are not commonly intended to be used in crisis situations. Please check with the resource first to best understand what services it can provide. For a more in-depth list of sources, please check out https://wrspc.ca/maintaining-mental-wellness-during-covid-19/ and stay tuned for next month’s conversation, “Self-Care”.