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Alberta

More Important Now Than Ever: Remembrance and a few thoughts on this World Suicide Prevention Day

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More Important Now Than Ever: Remembrance and a few thoughts on this World Suicide Prevention Day

Tracey Lubkey

On August 31, 2019 my sister Kelly and I lost our bright, kind, and beautiful mother Tracey to suicide. In the weeks preceding her death, a major depression Mum had dealt with and overcome several times before in her life came back with a suddenness and intensity that staggered us. It was terrifying to see this episode’s impact and how debilitating it was; the helplessness you feel when a loved one is being tormented by their own mind is it’s own kind of torture. Still, even through her long and grinding bouts of depression in years past, suicide somehow never felt like a possibility. The very notion was abstract, dark, and seemed impossible- so it was the most shocking and devastating thing we could have imagined that it happened. It’s now just over a year later and there are many days we still can’t believe she’s gone.

Our Mom was our best friend, our biggest cheerleader and just exuded light and kindness. She always wanted to help, whether it was my sister and I, her friends and family or complete strangers- if there was a need for volunteers, she’d be one of the first to sign up. She had so much love for us, for her dogs, for travelling, for golfing, for gardening, for relaxing with drinks on the patio and talking for hours. She was so compassionate and could truly see the good in everyone. When we were growing up, she worked as a registered nurse and often brought home little gifts from patients and their families that she had cared for. She left such an impression on the people she met and this was especially obvious at her memorial, where we were just blown away by the amount of people who attended that had worked with her years, even decades ago. The stories people were generous enough to share with us about our mom were so beautiful- they were such a gift and helped to propel us through that surreal day.

Last year at this time, as we moved through the chaos and fog immediately following Mum’s death, I began to see bright yellow billboards all over town stating that ‘11 Edmontonians attempt or die by suicide per day’. As it turns out, each year, over 50 countries recognize September 10th as World Suicide Prevention Day. So soon after losing my mother this way, the subject of suicide was the only thing on my mind apart from the endless ‘Why?’s. This campaign’s timing was bananas.

I quickly learned the ads were promoting 11 of Us, a resource portal developed as part of Living Hope: A Community Plan to Prevent Suicide in Edmonton. The Living Hope initiative was developed by a committee of individuals and organizations dedicated to preventing suicides in Edmonton. The plan’s objectives include raising awareness and making education on mental health and suicide prevention available to Edmontonians, in most cases free of charge.

Over the past year, I’ve taken advantage of this initiative and attended excellent courses provided by Living Hope stakeholders including Mental Health First Aid (Basic Course), Safe Talk, Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and Trauma Informed Care. Through these courses I have been lucky enough to meet and share my story with so many kind, compassionate and interesting people, whether they were the ones delivering the course or learning alongside me.

Of course COVID-19 has changed everything. Most of these courses are now offered online, including one I have yet to take called LivingWorks Start which teaches trainees to recognize when someone is thinking about suicide and to connect them with help and support. While many of us are dealing with screen-fatigue, please don’t let the idea of one more online session deter you. Most courses don’t require more than an hour, but the information you’ll learn really could help keep someone with us.

This past year has been the hardest of my life, yet I’ve been encouraged and inspired by the work and efforts of so many as I try to gain peace and a better understanding of my family’s experience. It goes without saying that suicide is a difficult topic- I’ve come to learn that nothing sucks the air out a room quite like the mention of it. It’s much easier to look away, but for World Suicide Prevention Day this year, if your own mental health allows for it, take a moment to read about the experiences of suicide attempt survivors, caregivers, suicide loss survivors, and those at risk of suicide.

We live in a new world now and we’re going to need each other more than ever. Like another one of those big yellow 11 of Us billboards I saw recently said, ‘There’s rarely been a more important time to check in with one another.’

WHERE TO GET HELP

Call 911 if someone is in immediate danger of becoming injured or dying.

In Edmonton: Call The Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Edmonton Distress Line 24/7 at (780)-482-4357 (HELP)

In Red Deer & across Alberta: Call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-(877)-303-2642

In Calgary: Call the Distress Centre Calgary’s Crisis Line 24/7 at (403)-266-4357 (HELP)

Alberta

Tampa’s Steven Stamkos returns, Lightning beat Dallas 5-2 in Stanley Cup final

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EDMONTON — Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos returned — very briefly — from a seven-month injury layoff, and scored on his first shot on net as the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars 5-2 Wednesday in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.

Victor Hedman had a goal a two assists. Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point also scored for Tampa Bay.

The Lightning lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 is set for Friday and Game 5 just 24 hours after that on Saturday night.

Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 21 shots for his 16th win of the playoffs.

Jason Dickinson and Miro Heiskanen replied for Dallas. Anton Khudobin turned away 24-of-29 shots and was replaced by Jake Oettinger for the start of the third period when the score was 5-1. Khudobin is 13-8 in the 2020 post-season.

Stamkos, a two-time winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s goal-scoring leader, last played Feb. 25. He underwent core muscle surgery in early March.  

The 30-year-old from Markham, Ont., started the game on the fourth line with Cedric Paquette and Pat Maroon and didn’t skate on the power play.

He played less than three minutes in the first period, then stayed in the dressing room until well into the second and didn’t leave the bench for the rest of the game.

Nevertheless, he made the most of his 2:47 in ice time, scoring less than seven minutes into the game to make it 2-0 for Tampa.

He took a cross-ice pass from Hedman and, with a burst of speed, slipped through a tiny space between the boards and Dallas defender Esa Lindell, flew in and fired a wrist shot from the right face-off circle top-shelf far side on Khudobin.

Kucherov opened the scoring just over a minute earlier when Heiskanen lost the puck at his own blue-line. Kucherov pounced on it and fired a low missile blocker-side on a breakaway.

Kucherov, with seven goals and 30 points, is the league leader in 2020 post-season scoring.

The Tampa bench erupted in cheers after the Stamkos goal, but it was Dallas that caught fire. Roope Hintz stole the puck in the Tampa end and dished it to Dickinson for a short-handed one-timer from the top of the left face-off circle.

Tampa took control for good in the second period, outshooting Dallas 21-4 and adding three more goals.

Hedman scored on the power play, firing a shot from the slot through traffic for his 10th goal of the playoffs. Kucherov then fed a streaking Point on a 3-on-1 for Point’s 11th goal of the playoffs. Palat then tucked in the puck on a goalmouth scramble.

In the third period, Dallas made it 5-2 when the puck bounced in on a goalmouth melee. Heiskanen got credit.

Stamkos is in his 12th season with the Lightning. He produced 29 goals and 66 points in the regular season, which was cut short on March 12 due to the spread of COVID-19.

The final is being played in front of no spectators at Rogers Place, and players are isolating between games to prevent contracting the coronavirus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Searchers find bodies in Jasper National Park, remains believed to be missing couple

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JASPER, Alta. — Alberta RCMP say searchers have found two bodies in Jasper National Park.

Investigators believe the bodies are the remains of a couple who were reported missing after their vehicle was found in a parking lot at the Mount Edith Cavell Roads trail.

Matthew Kozak and Zabrina Ferrier were last seen on Friday.

Relatives had driven to the area to help with the search.

RCMP say Parks Canada staff in a helicopter found the bodies just before dark on Tuesday night near Verdant Pass.

Jasper RCMP and Parks Canada staff recovered the remains on Wednesday morning.

“It is believed the couple were hiking and succumbed to their injuries after falling from a steep bank in the area,” RCMP said in a release.

RCMP along with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner continue to investigate.

Police say family members have been notified.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020

The Canadian Press

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