This Thursday night, the community will get its first opportunity to wear locally created suicide awareness ribbons.
The creators of the Comox Valley Suicide Awareness Facebook group have initiated a ribbon campaign, and they are releasing their first batch of ribbons during the Community Support for Families: An Information Evening to Look at Resources Available for Families in the Comox Valley event.
That event happens Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School gym.
The ribbon campaign is part of the group’s efforts to get people talking about suicide and “give taboo the boot.”
“It’s the first step to getting awareness to people so people who are really into having suicide awareness and prevention can get their ribbon and donate to get them and wear them, and then other people see them,” said Ashley Anness.
“I think it shows support as a community, too,” added Stephanie Lafontaine.
Anness says the group decided a ribbon campaign was a good place to start because there is already a ribbon for suicide prevention.
The suicide prevention ribbon is yellow, and to minimize confusion with other causes that have a yellow ribbon, the Comox Valley Suicide Awareness group has created a black and gold ribbon.
“It made ours stand out because it’s also symbolic of light out of dark, hope out of darkness,” said Lafontaine. “We wanted something that represented our community.”
The group hopes to make at least 500 ribbons in time for Thursday’s community forum.
“I think the plan was to make enough so everyone can go home with one,” said Tom Smith.
Thursday’s community forum will be the first time anyone wears the ribbons.
“We’ve seen people talking; they’re very excited, and they want to get one,” said Brad Darling.
The ribbons will be available by donation.
“The donations are to help fund projects we have in the works to raise that awareness and keep people talking in the community and prevention activities,” said Lafontaine.
For now, most of the money raised will go toward making ribbons, as the group wants to get them out into locations throughout the community after Thursday.
“They are not cheap, and we want to make a lot,” said Darling.
Anyone who would like to support the ribbon campaign can contact Stephanie Lafontaine or Tara Sedar through the Comox Valley Suicide Awareness group on Facebook.
On the fundraising front, the group is also getting ready to launch an online auction within the next two weeks.
They are asking for the public’s help to donate items and services for the auction.
“Whatever people want to donate, somebody somewhere will want it,” said Lafontaine.