September 11, 2002
Well, it was a long day's journey from Edmonton to Fredericton yesterday and none of us were prepared for the scorching 32-degree weather when we landed! After we settled into our hotel, we enjoyed a fabulous meal at the famous Lobster Hut. Consequently we were well rested for the start of our day today.
Tom and Dave co-facilitated their suicide workshop today for 50 caregivers from a variety of locations in and around Fredericton - namely St. Mary's, Kingsclear, Big Cove, Oromocto and from as far away as Lennox Island, PEI. When a workshop is for people in the human services field, it's important for participants to know that it was 'all about them'! Often people in the care-giving field rarely stop to think about themselves and Dave encouraged them to conduct their own mini-workshops once a month to acknowledge their successes. After participants filled out questionnaires to start the proceedings, Dave shared the following staggering statistics:
- There was 501 years of experience in the room
- On average, the caregivers see 25,080 people per year
- The caregivers have intervened with 2,487 people who were thinking about or at risk of suicide
Primarily David got the group to think about "compassion fatigue" - sometimes known as 'burn-out' to those not in the social services field; how caregivers spend their energy and when it's depleted, how do they replace it? Dave outlined some of the warning signs and recommendations on how to resist giving too much energy to others. All this was valuable information to share, and although everyone is aware of these kinds of stressors in life, it was great to have them revealed and shared in a group setting. We wrapped up the meeting by introducing ourselves to everyone and shaking hands. All the caregivers in attendance came to the concert later and that no doubt led to a full house of over 400 people! Tom and Susan were interviewed by Rocky Paul of CKTP Radio and Susan found a moment to speak with a reporter from the Windspeaker.
The audience at Le Centre Communautaire Saint-Anne was a boisterous one and kept Susan and Tom onstage for one final encore of Amazing Grace. The line-up for autographs and photos post-show took close to an hour to complete but everyone left rejuvenated and blessed to have shared a great evening together. It was the perfect way to pay respect to the anniversary of "9/11".
Special thanks to France and her fabulous team of volunteers. Funds raised from the concert went to the NB Division of Mental Health Association for Suicide Prevention Activities.
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