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Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from Globe Newswire
Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Conversation and Camaraderie Can Offer Simple but Strong Compassion for Survivors of Suicide ...

July 7, 2021 GMT

DENVER, July 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Like every other part of society, the cannabis community struggles to help populations vulnerable to death by suicide within its ranks. The isolation that often accompanies ailments commonly treated with cannabis medicine like chronic pain, anxiety and depression can be high-risk conditions for suicide ideation.

In order to help, the Cannabis Creative Movement is partnering with The Wake Up Project, a non profit devoted to helping prevent suicide, to deliver a Suicide Prevention Guide that provides tips and information that can help prevent a needless tragedy.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide is the 17th leading cause of death in the world, representing about 1.4% of all deaths globally. Fortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health issues is gradually eroding as a new willingness to bring difficult conversations into the open takes hold. It’s a lesson that Vince Giardino learned in the most difficult way when his 14-year-old cousin took his own life in 2016 during a years-long string of suicide deaths at the middle school he attended.

“The community is always going to be looking for answers when tragedy strikes,” he said of the incident five years ago. “But what I have learned is that if you can spot the warning signs, you can potentially save a life.”

This realization led Giardino to create The Wake Up Project, an ongoing series of events designed to bring survivors of suicide together to grieve as one in a fun environment while providing prevention information and direct assistance to those in need. Created with Giardino’s cousin’s favorite activity in mind, The Wake Up Project uses wakeboarding to bring community members together for a solemn purpose. The idea for the project took shape when Giardino brought his cousin’s classmates together following the boy’s death.

“We grew up on a lake and my cousin loved wakeboarding,” Giardino said. “And I was always supportive of mental health and knew that we had a problem. So after some other cousins and I took his friends out, I began to think, ’why not create an event where all of my cousin’s friends had a place to be together and grieve together. They were all 13-14 years old and they had no idea why this happened. They needed some way to deal with what they were going through.”

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Today, The Wake Up Project’s events attract as many as 1,200 participants and combine the excitement and fun of wakeboarding with the camaraderie of community and healing. The events give children and their parents and families a chance to recognize and better understand each other’s grief and challenges. Giardino believes the events have made a big difference in people’s lives.

“I think these events definitely ease the minds of the parents, who don’t always know how to respond when their children act out,” he said. “A lot of parents just argue with their kids because they don’t understand the root cause of their acting out, but often times these can be warning signs of suicide. Being able to differentiate between normal teenage behavior and someone struggling with their mental health can help prevent more tragedies from occurring.”

The Wake Up Project is focused on working with youth ages 10-24 years old, where suicide is currently the second leading cause of death. Since the group’s first event in 2018, the organization has donated thousands of dollars to leading youth mental health organization Active Minds and become a resource for officials managing suicide crisis situations.

“We were inspired by Vince’s passion to help others struggling to understand the loss of a loved one to suicide,” said John Shute, CEO and Founder of PufCreativ and a founder of the Cannabis Creative Movement. “So we wanted to create a resource for the cannabis community to prevent these needless tragedies. The work of The Wake Up Project demonstrates how recognizing the warning signs can make a big difference in helping people when it is most important. Suicide is preventable, and that is a message we need to repeat over and over again.”

The “Suicide Prevention Guide” offers helpful information on the warning signs of suicide, steps you can take when you recognize them in loved ones and tips on how exercise can help support good mental health. Created in collaboration with The Wake Up Project, the guide is available for free download here. To download other free guides from the Cannabis Creative Movement, you can find them here.

About the Cannabis Creative Movement
The Cannabis Creative Movement is a joint initiative of PufCreativ, an award-winning community-focused cannabis marketing agency, and The 9th Block, a branding + communications firm focused on the cannabis, healthcare and tech industries. The group welcomes participation from other cannabis creatives interested in generating awareness of critical issues facing the cannabis community. For more information, email the Cannabis Creative Movement at hello@pufcreativ.com.

For more information:
Jim Dissett
303-532-7392
jim@the9thblock.com