Photos and suicide focus of province-wide workshops
Karlee Posine-Avila, Kaiya Morrisseau-Ferguson, Molly Smith, Hannah Myers and Conrad Baxter enjoyed learning more about Safetalk and Photovoice during the second of three Safetalk and Photovoice training workshops being held across Ontario this summer. The third workshop is scheduled for Aug. 21-22 in London.
Suicide awareness and the sharing of experiences through photos were the focus at a recent Safetalk and Photovoice training workshop — one of three being held across Ontario this summer.
“I really liked that they combined the Safetalk with the Photovoice,” said Karlee Posine-Avila from Pays Plat First Nation during the Aug. 7-8 workshop, which was held last week in Thunder Bay. “I’m really interested in the Safetalk — that’s kind of my interest.”
“The Safetalk gives them the skills to become a suicide alert helper, which basically means they can see signs and symptoms of somebody who might be thinking about committing suicide.”
Loretta Sheshequin Posine-Avila would like to see more people trained in what to do when they see someone in a suicide situation.
“There is another program that I am interested in, which is the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), where you are actually trained the next level up on how to help the person a little further along,” Posine-Avila said. “I just see a lot of younger people with problems with suicide, thinking about it, and it’s sad to see a lot of youth think that way. I think with more people knowing how to handle it, they will come together.
Youth are more likely to talk to youth, not an adult person they are going to feel judged about.”
The workshops were held through the Life Promotion project, a collaboration between Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Union of Ontario Indians and Allied and Iroquois Indians funded by the National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, Health Canada.
“The project has three prongs to it,” said Loretta Sheshequin, the life promotion coordinator. “There’s a prong that focuses on community support workers training, youth training and then there’s a media promotional campaign piece.”
Sheshequin said the Safetalk Photovoice workshops are part of the youth training prong.
“The Safetalk gives them the skills to become a suicide alert helper, which basically means they can see signs and symptoms of somebody who might be thinking about committing suicide,”
Sheshequin said. “And it goes beyond that in giving them the confidence and the ability to say directly, ‘are you thinking about committing suicide.’ And if you are, it also gives them the skills to be able to take that person to another resource person, whether that be a health professional, a community support like a counsellor, or even an adult that they trust.”
Aimed at youth from 16-24 years of age, the workshops feature Safetalk and photography training, peer networking, information about the Life Promotion Project and how to engage peers, an opportunity to voice views and share visions for the future and participate in a public display of photography.
The first workshop was held July 9-10 in Sudbury and the third is scheduled for Aug. 21-22 in London.
Pays Plat’s Kaiya Morriseau-Ferguson enjoyed the creative aspect of the workshop.
“It’s very creative and it just gives youth from all walks of life a chance to voice their opinions and show what they have to say through photography,” Morriseau-Ferguson said. “It’s hard to speak when you feel like you are not being heard, so you often don’t speak, but Photovoice just gives you the chance to speak and to show what you’ve been through, your experiences, your stories, your life and to put it out to the world.”
Morriseau-Ferguson also appreciated receiving a digital camera for use during the Photovoice portion of the workshop.
“It gives us a chance to go around in the area that we are in Thunder Bay just in this moment and take pictures and capture our timing in a different light,” Morriseau-Ferguson said. “You can just see how everyone sees things through a different lens. You can see what captures someone else’s eye might not capture your eye. It’s interesting to see what people take pictures of and what their story is.”
Rainy River First Nation’s Molly Smith and Hannah Myers enjoyed taking a variety of photos around Thunder Bay, including perspective, panorama, black-and-white and geometric photos.
“I really enjoyed that, getting our cameras and taking pictures of everything,” Smith said.
“I think a good part of (Photovoice) was learning what is behind the picture, why you took it and what point in time that was.”
Myers wants to begin taking more pictures back home to get her point across to community members.
“I’d probably do something with the youth because our community doesn’t really do anything like that anymore,” Myers said. “I remember back then, we used to do so much stuff when I was a kid and now that I look at it, our community centre is barely ever open.”
Smith wants to take pictures of the Rainy River burial mounds and other cultural features.
Marten Falls’ Conrad Baxter wants to take the information he learned at the workshop back home and present it to his community.
“I’m planning on taking that information and summing it up, make it brief and use it in the community,” Baxter said.
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