Grant aids stress and suicide awareness The Whistler/Blackcomb Foundation recently presented Vancouver’s Crisis Centre with a grant that will go towards providing courses on coping with modern life for youth in the Sea to Sky Corridor. A series of presentations, to take place in the spring, will deal with stress management for Grade 8 students and suicide awareness for students in Grades 9 and 12 at Brackendale, Howe Sound, Pemberton and Whistler high schools. The Crisis Centre has already held a half-day suicide awareness workshop for counsellors from all four schools. Director of community education for the Crisis Centre Kathy Schoenfelder says they are not being excessive with theses topics. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people in B.C. between the ages of 15 and 19. "The need for stress management techniques and suicide awareness programs in schools is higher than ever," says Schoenfelder. "The academic and social pressures teenagers face today are enormous. Teens are not only facing peer pressure to use alcohol and drugs but must also deal with the presence of gangs at or near their schools, depression over lack of job prospects after high school, and difficulty in qualifying for and financing post-secondary education. The supporting statistics are sobering. One in every 10 high school students will make at least one attempt on their lives during their high school years." The Crisis Centre takes the approach that suicide prevention is about awareness. "We recognise that since teens are each other’s confidantes, they are in the best position to identify those in their peer group who are at risk of suicide," says Schoenfelder. "Our classroom objective stems from a commitment to the empowerment of young people. When students know the risk factors and are clear on what they can do to help, they can become active agents in suicide prevention. The workshop programs are designed to provide young people with the coping skills to deal with loss and depression in the hope that these skills will last a lifetime. Workshop topics include Sources and Effects of Stress, Self-Talk, Coping Pitfalls, Facts and Statistics on Suicide, Signals of Suicide and How to Respond.