Article content continued
Merasty has already agreed to form a partnership with Cooper’s research project. He said there is a strong need for supports directly focused towards men. Merasty does a workshop with men at the Besnard Lake Correctional Camp, and said the number one concern from inmates is the need for support.
“A lot of them are scared ’cause when they get out of here there’s nothing in their communities for them. No support, no guidance, no understanding, no resources,” said Merasty.
The issue of mental health has also been seen by touring artists in the province.
This week, the Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange Society (SCES) hosted a trauma prevention workshop to train touring artists how to respond to signs that a youth may be at risk of suicide.
Carol GoldenEagle, outreach co-ordinator with SCES, was doing a storytelling class in a northern community last fall when a boy confided in her that he had been contemplating suicide.
“He told me that and honest to goodness, I didn’t know how to respond. I was shocked and uncomfortable and I felt like running away almost because I didn’t know what to do,” said GoldenEagle.
GoldenEagle later told the principal at the boy’s school, but still wishes she had done more. She also spoke with other touring artists who told her they had had similar experiences. Seeing that it was part of a larger issue, GoldenEagle suggested the idea for the seminar to SCES’ executive director.
Cooper praised Merasty’s work. In order for there to be change, she said the communities need to be directly involved.