Many local agencies care deeply about youth mental health. Together, they are trying to create a supportive and safe community, especially for youth with thoughts of suicide, who enter the mental health care system in Sarnia Lambton. The distribution of “We Care Packages” is one way to show youth that they matter.
The Sarnia Lambton Suicide Prevention Committee and Sarnia Lambton Rebound have partnered for the second year in a row to create 125 We Care packages to be distributed by a variety of service providers including Bluewater Health, local school boards, and St. Clair Child and Youth.
The “We Care Package” is built from the feedback of youth who have personally made the journey to access mental health services. They report difficulty in knowing where to turn for help, often facing long waits, feeling discouraged, confused and unprepared for the journey.
The We Care packages are meant to meet some very basic physical needs, help youth to feel valued and to inspire hope. They include clear information about how to connect with local helping agencies, a water bottle, snacks, a mandala colouring book and pencil crayons. Youth who have had to stay overnight at the hospital recommended the kit include toiletries and therefore has shampoo, conditioner, body wash, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. There are a variety of other items included such as a “Give Hope a Voice” bracelet and a stress star.
“The We Care package is one way to narrow the gap- the gap where a person may feel they are uncared about,” says Cathy Butler a SLSPC volunteer. “We would like the youth and parent/caregiver to be aware that there are people and many agencies in our community who care about them and are available to help.”
The We Care packages are funded by grant from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth. The packages were put together by many local agencies and individuals who have volunteered their time to help support our youth.