How youth from the northern community of Pinehouse Lake are preventing suicide | Gordon Lake Youth R
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Gordon Lake/Norbert falls 3 day Youth Retreat
Louis Iron is a 16-year-old Pinehouse Photography Club member. "I grew melancholy after my stepfather committed suicide," Louis explains. "I felt sad a lot of the time, didn't want to go outside...we were all miserable." Louis discovered the Pinehouse Photography Club soon after the catastrophe.
Pinehouse Photographic Organization (PPC) is a local photography club that encourages children and teenagers to utilize photography as a therapeutic tool. "Learning photography has helped me a lot with my sentiments," Louis adds. "I've met a lot of new people that encourage me and make me happy. Taking photographs allowed me to see things I had never seen before, and I began to feel less depressed."
The PPC sponsored a spring/summer event at Gordon Lake and Norbert Falls, thanks to funding from the Youth-led Community Health Grant programme. Vice Present Jon Durocher says, "We only wanted a select youth with whom we could spend some quality time." "Instead, we had a flood of youth who wanted to engage!" The group ended up hosting almost 30 youngsters for the three-day outing, exceeding its initial aim of 15 youth. "We concentrated on photography, teaching the students how to take images and then discussing them afterward," Durocher says. "And we've noticed that once these kids start shooting pictures, they start to open up to one another and to the rest of the group." They begin to converse.
Durocher goes on to say, "It was a great time. They camped, swam, fished, went tubing, hiked, and played hide & seek in addition to photography. They watched movies on a projection screen outside. It was a fantastic experience for all of us!"
The photography club received a $2000 grant from the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute's Youth-led Community Health Grant program for this event. "We wouldn't have been able to put on this event for the kids without those monies," says Mallory Lariviere, program director. "We couldn't believe how many kids were interested in photography and this event," Lariviere says. "Using photography to initiate a conversation about mental health and feelings helps the youngsters start the conversation."
The event was hosted by a non-profit group with a focus on healthy living. "We wanted to have a combination of enjoyment for the kids while also taking the chance to conduct some educating," says Dre Erwin, President. The youth were given a list of activities as well as discussions about addictions and mental health. "Photography is frequently used to assist young people in communicating. It provides them with a means of expressing themselves, which in turn allows for more dialogue ", Erwin says.
Morgan Tinker, youth and volunteer at the event says the experience was just a lot of fun. "Everyone was happy and laughing and we did so many activities. No one wanted to leave", says Tinker.
The Pinehouse Photography Club focuses on using photography as a means for young people to express themselves without having to say anything. Youth who are at high risk for mental health issues and/or addictions frequently start talking about their feelings and thoughts. For more information, visit their website or join their Facebook page to witness some of the incredible work that the youth are doing.