CameronHelps showcases run-therapy program at national suicide prevent conference

Suicide prevention using run-therapy for youth was among the ideas shared at the Canadian Association of Suicide Preventions (CASP) 2012 annual conference in Niagara Falls, Ont.

CameronHelps had the opportunity to present its unique program at the CASP conference. held Oct. 15-17, 2012. It was attended by about 600 mental health care professionals and others interested in suicide prevention. CameronHelps is dedicated to reducing youth suicide in Canada.

CameronHelps’ CEO David Harris and Program Manager John Knox spoke on the topics: “Finding a Way to a New Beginning,” and “Finding Your Niche to Enhance Fundraising.”

Their key message was how to start a Team Unbreakable run-therapy program with the support of the charity. Team Unbreakable offers motivation, encouragement, and demonstrates a positive attitude to team members who always run together.

“It was a very successful outreach opportunity,” said David. “We were able to reach many in the mental health care field and make them aware of how they can use our Team Unbreakable run-therapy program in suicide prevention.”

Offered by a growing number of Ontario hospitals and healthcare organizations since 2006, the Team Unbreakable program is designed for youth 13-18 years old who have been diagnosed with one or more affective disorders. As scientific research indicates exercise can be beneficial in treating mental health issues, the Team Unbreakable program uses physical activity – such as running – to help reduce depression and improve mental health in young people.

David and John were among the 150 session presenters at the conference, where the theme was “Stepping Out of the Darkness, Awareness, Attention, Action,” in acknowledgement of the growing openness regarding suicide prevention.

David founded CH after losing his son Cameron to suicide in 2005. David seeks to raise suicide prevention awareness and help adolescents with mental health issues through speaking engagements and running events.

In his role as Program Manager, John assists hospitals, community agencies, and now high schools, to set up Team Unbreakable programs for “at risk” youth. He also organizes fundraising events to raise awareness and engage the running community in mental health issues.

The CASP conference brought persons who share an interest in suicide prevention together to meet, share, and learn about suicide, suicidal persons and suicide prevention. They included researchers, nurses, social workers, physicians, crisis workers, clinicians, educators, policy makers, clergy, youth, persons with lived experience, survivors of suicide loss, members of First Nations, and volunteers.
– Written by Annie Shalvardjian