Last summer, Cochrane lost more than one young person too soon.

Through tragedy, does come a silver lining. Community members and health professionals are coming together to support those who are struggling, have struggled, or are providing support to community members affected by a wide array of mental health complexities.

Summer, although not usually a peak time for suicide, can be hard on youth, as support peer groups dwindle, and anxiety over future plans can run high.

Sharon MacDonald, Family and Community Support Services, Community Helper Programmer, says communication is key when feeling overwhelmed.

"It is really important for people to reach out to family and friends when having thoughts of suicide. Sometimes we mistake thoughts for actions, and thoughts are just thoughts; they need to be talked about and brought out into the open."

MacDonald stresses it is important for families and friends to reach out to professional services if someone they love is talking about suicide. 

"We are lucky here in Cochrane, we have Cochrane Mental Health Services where people can walk in during week days and receive help. We also have our Family and Community Support Services so if someone is suffering a stressor that is leading to these dark thoughts certainly Family and Community Support Services is a great place to come for finances, food bank, housing, parenting, and family need. We also have Cochrane and Area Victim Services and Calgary Communities Against Sexual Assault."

The tragic losses of last summer not only brought our community together but brought awareness to programming needs for Cochrane.

"When some of these tragic losses have occurred we have really seen the community rally and we've seen our professional helpers partner to bring new services to Cochrane, to expand services."

Cochrane also offers the 'Community Helpers Program' offering workshops and support to caregivers and people on the front line.

"When your family member or friend discloses to to you that they are having thoughts of suicide it is very stressful and concerning, you don't want to be alone in supporting them. We have this community helpers program where by caregivers can reach out for support, come to some training around how to talk, support, and steer them towards other choices and how to make sure you yourself are supported through that difficult situation."

MacDonald comments that humans are social creatures and Cochrane is receptive and open to communicating about the stigma of suicide.

"We have seen Cochrane as a caring community. Willing to talk about thoughts of suicide, stressors, anxiety, depression some of these difficult things that maybe we have left quiet for too long."

If you are in a time of crisis reach out for help.

  • Family and Community Support Services 403-851-2250
  • Addiction and Mental Health Services 403-851-6100
  • Cochrane and Area Victim Services 403-851-8055
  • Cochrane Community Health Centre 403-851-6000
  • Cochrane Youth Association 403-932-4747
  • Cochrane RCMP 403-932-2211 or 911
  • 24 Hr Distress Centre Crisis Line 403-266-4357
  • 24 Hr Community Resource Team 403-299-9699
  • Calgary Communities Against Sexual Assault 1-877-237-5888
  • Child and Family Services 403-297-2995
  • Connection Line (264-Teen, Peer Talk Line) 403-264-8336

To find out more about the community helpers program, contact MacDonald at