The Canadian Mental Health Association, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (C.M.H.A. H.K.P.R.) would like to sincerely thank Team55, Let’s Tackle Suicide Awareness, as well as all who contributed in any way to the success of the sixth annual Friday Night Lights, raising $17,500 for suicide prevention.
On September 21, a crowd of more than 2000 gathered at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School for Friday Night Lights, an annual Team55 event supporting suicide prevention through C.M.H.A. H.K.P.R.’s Assertive Outreach Suicide Prevention (A.O.S.P.) program.
The program has served more than 100 individuals and families since launching in 2016. Through the great work of A.O.S.P. staff, none of these individuals has made a further attempt at suicide. They are all still living.
Team55, founded by Dave Pogue, initially committed to raising $40,000 annually for two years to be directed towards suicide prevention. This commitment, which has now been extended for a third year, paved the way for the A.O.S.P. program, which costs approximately double the annual investment.
“The community cares about suicide prevention. It matters to those who sponsored Friday Night Lights, donated to the event, attended the event or participated in the evening in any way,” says Pogue. “What we need now is for the Government of Ontario to come on board so we can build a long-term plan for the A.O.S.P. program and continue saving as many lives as possible.”
Robin Martin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care attended the event, witnessed the immense impact it has had and was immersed in the strong community support for the program. This followed a meeting where Ms. Martin and local MPP Dave Smith met with C.M.H.A. H.K.P.R. officials earlier that day to discuss the program.
“We hope Ms. Martin will take her experience back to Christine Elliott, Minister of Health, and advocate for funding to continue this hugely successful and impactful program,” says Mark Graham, Chief Executive Officer for C.M.H.A. H.K.P.R.. “The A.O.S.P. program is saving lives here in Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge and we want to see it continue for as long as possible. Furthermore, we believe it has potential to be replicated across the province, should our government recognize its social and fiscal value.”