Suicide Prevention Program

Offers presentations, one-on-one support, and community wide campaigns focusing on prevention, intervention, and postvention related to suicide. The program also provides MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) workshops to Fort McMurray and outlying rural areas. Through education and awareness, SOS wants to reach all individuals in our community to ensure people know the warning signs of suicide, things they can do to help others, and resources to access professional help.

The Suicide Prevention Program seeks to prevent suicides in our community by:

(a) Raising awareness of mental health problems in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. By educating all people about the reality of living with mental health problems, we can reduce stigma – the fears and discrimination – and encourage more people to get help.

(b) Letting individuals know that there is help . Get the message out there through presentations, media and the 24 hour crisis line that you do not need to suffer alone; many people struggle with suicidal thoughts, and most people also recover. When individuals hear this message and believe it, they are more likely to seek help and become empowered to find the right professional support that works for them.

c) Educating the general public about the warning signs of suicide and how to respond. Because suicide is not a common topic in the main discourse of our society many people are unfamiliar and even uncomfortable speaking about suicide. Through presentations and workshops we open a dialogue by getting people to reflect on their own perspective, judgments, and misinformation. By the end of the presentation participants always leave with more knowledge and understanding than when they arrived.

Grief and Loss Program

The Grief and Loss Program Provides presentations, information, one-on-one and group support to individuals and families dealing with some sort of crisis, loss, trauma or every day stress. The Program facilitates a Parent Bereavement Support Group the first Thursday of every month where anyone can attend to help find support after losing a child or baby. Presentations and workshops on grief and loss are also offered in the community, often targeting front-line caregivers and other social service staff.

The Grief and Loss Program provides information on the normal grief process and helps support those who have experienced a loss in any area of their life; such as a loss of a friend or family member, the loss of a job, identity or financial security. SOS Partners with Victim Services, Public Health, Public and Catholic Schools, NLRH to provide presentations to the agencies themselves, co-facilitate presentations to the public, refer clients back and forth, and provide one-on-one follow up support as a continued care approach. There is also opportunity within our community to better support the individuals at end of life as SOS has the expertise to partner with the hospital and provide palliative care support.

SOS has responded to critical incidences in the community, helping people deal effectively with loss due to a traumatic event only when other service providers were unable to provide the support. We currently have 3 trained staff in Critical Incidence Stress Management and see a more suited niche for SOS to provide support to care-givers and front line workers, who deal with ongoing stress, and as a result are at greater risk of compassion fatigue and burnout. This is a problem many organizations are trying deal with having no in house debriefing process established. SOS plans to build the expertise of the Health and Wellness Specialist to provide in house support for other high stress front line workers to help workers have the support needed. This will reduce absenteeism, presenteeism, poor morale, and workers leaving the field. SOS sees this expertise able to support not only the social sector front-line workers but also professions such as nurses, paramedics, police officers, and outreach workers.

GAP Counselling

The goal is to provide barrier free counselling to all individuals in the RMWB, with a focus on crisis intervention and solution focused therapy. Clients have access to services from an experienced Registered Social Worker who will provide support, education, referrals, and advocacy. GAP Counselling provides immediate support between the time of the crisis, and being placed on a waiting list for other community counselling support services, such as Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) or counselling from RMWB services.

SOS provides affordable and accessible counselling to all individuals through the GAP counselling services. Gap Counselling is confidential, short term counselling services for individuals in our community. Individuals can meet with a registered Social Worker for 1:1 counselling and crisis intervention, to access information and education materials, and receive support and referral to other service providers.

Many times in life we are faced with issues or situations that challenge us emotionally. At times, we are unable to manage these issues on our own and can benefit from the support offered by a professional. Counselling offers the opportunity for non-judgemental, unbiased support and can be helpful in a ‘crisis’. GAP counselling offers individuals short term support to improve functioning and coping.

Issues addressed in GAP counselling can include:

  • Relationship issues including separation and divorce
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Addictions
  • Grief & Loss
  • Separation & Loss
  • Parent-Child Conflict
  • Self-Esteem

For more information on presentations in your workplaces and schools, or for individual support, please contact the SOS office: 780-743-8605.

Gap counselling services are available to all individuals in our community. Individuals must be able and willing to consent to service. Parental consent may be required. Services are confidential.