Yk youth launch suicide awareness campaign

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Cicely Laroque-Norn, Lead Reed, Michelle Larocque and Dani Larocque stand with a sign at the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre on Monday. They have launched a campaign to raise mental health awareness in the city.
Nick Pearce/NNSL photo

A youth group would like to remind you that if you’re feeling low, you’re not alone.

The Tree of Peace Friendship Centre’s youth committee has launched a suicide prevention campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues in the North.

The youth were going around the city this past week, putting up posters that feature messages of hope such as “don’t give up”, “you’re not alone” and “tomorrow needs you”.

“I hope people see the signs and realize that they matter,” said Cicely Larocque-Norn, a youth committee member who is spearheading the initiative.

The eight member youth committee have put up ten signs around the community but plans are in the works to put up many more, said Larocque-Norn.

Along with positive messages, the signs include contact information for the Department of Health and Social Services’ NWT Help Line and Kid’s Help Phone, which serve people in need.

Michelle Larocque, Aboriginal youth worker with the centre, said the project is intended to teach local youth to accept their negative feelings without judgment.

“It’s important for them to know the feelings are okay of sadness and anger sometimes,” she said.

A handful of local businesses, including the Raven Pub on 50 Street, have reached out to Larocque and asked for a sign.

“I want people to know about the resources out there and there and people and organizations who care,” said Larocque.

Tree of Peace is also helping organize a talk on suicide prevention in October called SafeTALK.

The half-day suicide prevention exercise is designed to teach young adults to notice and respond to situations where an individual may be at risk.

“When you’re in a dark place, alone in a dark place, you feel like there’s nothing out there for help,” said Larocque. “I’m just hoping when they see the sign it sparks something.”

– with files from Nick Pearce