When friends and family just aren’t enough

Organizations open lines of communication for local youth in Fraser Cascade

Several organizations have banded together to stem the tide of youth suicide, depression and isolation, through something called The Help Project.

It will be accessible all children in the Fraser Cascade school district, and is aimed at educating, awareness and open discussion. One of the organizations involved is the Agassiz public library, along with librarian Terrill Scott.

Sadness is one thing, she says, but there are times when children need more than just a hug from a parent, or a chat with a friend.

There are so many song lyrics that can help someone through tough situations, she says.

‘We get by with a little help from our friends’ comes to mind, and ‘we are family.’

“We know the songs and the words can keep us connected when we need it,” Scott says. “But there are times when friends can’t lend a hand, and family is just not the thing. There are times when it takes more to get over tough times.”

This is when the Help Project can step in.  Local agencies, including the schools, are hoping to bring help closer to kids who need it.

Scott cites information from the World Health Organization, a group that also keeps tabs on the mental health of children.

“Growing up is not easy,” WHO states. “Children and teenagers face many tough decisions and difficult life experiences that, at times, seem overwhelming. Each and every member of society can take effective action, which would lead to saving a life. Talking about a personal crisis, learning about what brings on depression and mental health problems cannot be underestimated in the help they give to the isolated and suffering.”

With this in mind, those behind the Help Project say they will work to this end. To provide confidential, safe access to information that helps youth and to make the whole community aware of the seriousness of this issue in the area’s small towns.

“Knowledge is ultimately the power to make a difference,” Scott says.

There are many ways residents can become part of the Help Project, including participating in an art contest.

Get involved

The images used for the project will come from children and youth in local communities. A contest is being run asking for entries to produce the image to go on these resources. Teachers at all Fraser Cascade schools are being informed about the contest, and provided with entry sheets to share with all students, Grades K to 12.

The winner’s image will be used on promotional and awareness materials. They will be encouraging images produced in any form — on paper with pen or colour or computer generated – and in any way imaginable. The deadline for entries to the contest is the end of  November. Entry forms for this contest  will be distributed in the schools or can be picked up at your local library in Hope or Agassiz.

Scott says parents should encourage their children to enter the contest, and to use the contest as an opening itself to increase family awareness of how to handle the hard times.

“Be part of this project by educating yourself and your family on the signs of crises and getting rid of the secrecy surrounding mental health issues,” she says. “We will be the change in our communities, we will help.”

Why Help?

There is a need in our area to provide children and youth with the information they need to be able to find help for themselves or a friend, in a safe, confidential way, Scott says. “The world has changed but the reasons that young people do not seek help have not changed. Fear, shame, shyness or isolation, are the same old reasons that young people face, no matter what the era, but what does change is how we can spread the word that help is always there – a phone call, finger click or scan away.”

What it Help?

This project seeks to engage the community by informing them of the resources available to young people who need emotional support in general or in crises.

This is to be done by distributing a wallet card and posters and maintain this information with a website. The project has the goal of making resources and awareness a stable, sustainable means of keeping ‘help’ resources in the view of the public, not just a temporary campaign.

Backpack straps or wallet cards will be produced and had a special QR barcode on it that connects mobile devices to a website of help resources, entry level phone contact numbers, and a sponsorship offer on the flip side that encourages keeping this item.

Posters will also be produced that have straightforward information and the QR barcode to catch the eye and be available around town, so there is access can be everywhere possible out in public.

Just Posted

Chilliwack goes cluck-cluck for chickens ahead of civic election

With an election in sight, urban chickens supporters ramp up their efforts for legal acceptance

Wildfire smoke brings in air quality advisory for Lower Mainland

People with health conditions are urged to avoid the outdoors

Mt. Hicks fire near Harrison Lake continues to grow

The fire, which started Wednesday, has forced the intermittent closure of Highway 7

U.S. flight museum founder ID’ed as pilot in Abbotsford International Airshow crash

Pilot John Sessions was giving rides in a vintage 1930s airliner at the airport in Abbotsford.

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Drug-checking started as pilot in four B.C. communities to test for fentanyl

Substance is mixed with water on test strip, and result is revealed in minutes

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Most Read