Champion for Change Prepares Community to Address Youth Suicide

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On June 29-30th, Champion for Change Brayden White attended a safeTALK suicide prevention training in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Brayden is working toward being able to train others on the Akwesasne Nation to recognize and respond to signs of depression and suicidality.

In January 2012, Brayden lost a close childhood friend to suicide. “From that point on, my outlook on suicide changed,” said Brayden. “There’s no ‘mold’ of person that suicide affects. It can happen to anybody of any gender, race, financial standing or education level.”

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Brayden with safeTALK Spokesperson Khari Jones

Brayden learned about the safeTALK training through Independent First Nations (IFN), after completing a Mental Health First Aid training in Barrie, Ontario, in February. During the training, Brayden learned to recognize “invitations” that a person in crisis may send when contemplating self-harm. This and other suicide prevention skills are crucial, as the number of youth suicides in Brayden’s community – and in Indian Country, broadly – is high. According to the Center for Disease Control1, suicide is the second leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Natives ages 15-34. With this knowledge, Brayden sees an immediate need to train his fellow community members to help attack the suicide epidemic.

The next step in Brayden’s training is attending the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) training, which includes more in depth suicide prevention tactics. Learn more about safeTALK and find a training near you.

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