Light the Night for awareness

Lab West RNC trying to shed light on mental health issues

Published on March 3, 2017

Lab West RNC are asking people to turn on their Chrismtas Lights during winter carnival to show their support for those battling mental illness

©File Photo

In the last six months, mental health issues have been at the forefront in Lab West. A number of suicides in the area have affected the community and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) are to raise awareness.

The RNC is asking the public to turn on their Christmas lights during Winter Carnival from March 10 to 19 in support of mental health awareness. The event, called ‘Light the Night’ is to raise awareness of mental health issues in the community

“Anything we can do to help,” said Inspector Sean Ennis of the local detachment. “This is an issue that impacts the whole community.”

The Lab West RNC detachment made a video and conducted a roadblock for Bell Let’s Talk Day, which has reached over 14,000 people on the departments Twitter page alone. They also offer a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course to people in our community. Ennis said this focus on mental health is needed, especially in a community with a population as close knit as Lab West.

He said the goal of this is to raise awareness and show people struggling with mental health issues that they have support.

 “When something like that happens here everyone feels it,” Ennis told TC. “It’s important we have the conversation. Obviously when you see the number of deaths we’ve had there are people who are struggling in the community. This is just a small way to show that people do care, that others are grappling with the same issues.

He said in many cases when you talk to the families of the people who have committed suicide, after the fact, they didn’t reach out for the help the needed. It’s important to have the conversation on how to identify when a person is in crisis and how to help them seek the help they need, he said.

There are resources available for those in need such as the MHFA course, sessions at the high school to try to raise awareness of youth who are facing crisis, the Traumatic events team and others.

 “There’s a lot going on and there are resources available but unfortunately the people who are in crisis aren’t identifying the resources that are available to them or they don’t seek them out. What we’re trying to do, if possible, is raise awareness in the community,” he said.