Ottawa teens to learn to spot suicide warning signs

A local suicide prevention group has launched a training program in Ottawa's high schools to help students identify signs their peers may be contemplating suicide.

Community Suicide Prevention Network launching program in 6 schools

New program aims to teach high school students to watch their peers for warning signs. 2:01

A local suicide prevention group has launched a training program in Ottawa's high schools to help students identify signs their peers may be contemplating suicide.

Suicide prevention

These are some groups that provide support to youth:

Ottawa's Community Suicide Prevention Network's youth gatekeeper training program will run for three years at six local high schools.

The program begins at Glebe Collegiate Institute and at West Carleton Secondary School before expanding to four more Ottawa high schools.

The training includes learning how to talk to other young people and encouraging them to get help, connecting to mental health resources in the community and awareness of issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual students.

West Carleton principal Reg Lavergne said he hopes the program can help bring the topic out into the open.

"This can be a really uncomfortable topic. It can be something that people don't want to talk about," said Lavergne.

"They may not want to acknowledge that anything is wrong. So helping them, giving them the language that helps create that safe place and the opportunity for students to feel that that information can come forward [is important]."

Depression is serious issue, say teens

Students at Glebe Collegiate said depression is a serious issue among their peers.

West Carleton principal Reg Lavergne hope the program gets teens talking about their struggles. (CBC)

Kelly Hogan, for one, said she has a friend who has struggled with depression.

"I think it would be good if she talked to somebody about it," said Hogan.

Fellow Glebe student Kassandra Burke agreed and had a message for those in trouble.

"Open up to someone you trust, because when it gets bottled inside it will really affect you," said Burke.

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