Medicine Hat Counselling Collective holding silent vigil tonight at Riverside Veterans Memorial (Details)

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The Medicine Hat Counselling Collective will be holding a silent vigil tonight in recognition of International Suicide Awareness Day.

The vigil is taking place at Riverside Veterans Memorial Park from 6-8:30 p.m.

“We will have white paper bags to decorate to honour a loved one, or to write messages of support,” said collective member Angela Irvine. “These will be illuminated by candlelight. Every hour we will have a member of the community to hold a prayer, inspirational reading or a speech.

“We wanted to create a space for those who are grieving to connect and to reflect on what has been going on in our community.”

Medicine Hat has had an alarming number of suicides since the end of May.

“This is trauma in our community and I would argue that almost everyone has been impacted in one way or another,” she said. “This is a chance for everyone to come together.”

Irvine says it was important to hold an event on World Suicide Prevention Day, especially this year.

“We recognize it every year on Sept. 10,” she said. “We didn’t know what we were going to do initially, but with all of the tragic losses in the community we needed to do something.

“I think this space will be good for people to attend, no matter how they have been impacted by suicide.”

Irvine says COVID-19 protocols will be in place. Hand sanitizer will be available and people are asked to physically distance from those outside of their cohort when possible.

People are asked to wear a mask if they plan to attend.

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This reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

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