The 109 empty pairs of shoes are a stark reminder.
They represent all the people who committed suicide in Prince George from 2001 to 2010.
Today at Wal-Mart, those shoes will be on display to help the Crisis Prevention, Intervention & Information Centre for Northern B.C. raise awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday.
"Suicide is a difficult topic, it's not one everybody wants to talk about and we're hoping by bringing it out in the open we will have those conversations and will be able to pass out cards with the warning signs and what to do," said Sandra Boulianne, the Crisis Centre co-ordinator.
"These 109 deaths that have happened in Prince George, maybe they didn't have to happen."
The crisis centre offers support to people who are contemplating suicide or who might be despondent over anything from a marriage breakup to tobacco/drug/alcohol dependence to a child custody issue.
"We don't give advice, but we do help diffuse a situation and we are trained in what to do in the event of a suicidal caller," said Boulianne. "Most people who are suicidal don't want to die, they just want to end the pain, and we just try to alleviate that pressure they are feeling. We have a large database of our whole region and we do give referrals."
The Prince George centre serves people 24 hour per day, 365-days per year who live in a vast area of northern B.C. that extends north to south from the Yukon border to Quesnel, and east to west from Alberta border to Haida Gwai.
The centre has counsellors aged 16 -21 trained specifically to talk to teens on the youth support line -- 250-564-8336 or toll free at 1-888-564-8336. They can also be reached through the online chat website, northernyouthonline.ca. The general crisis phone number is 250-563-1214 or 1-888-562-1214.
"The [suicide rate] is high in the north and the high groups are teens," said Boulianne. "In youth, it's the second-leading cause of death after motor vehicle accidents. Males, aboriginals, people struggling with their sexuality, and people who are incarcerated [are in the statistically-high group].
"We made a YouTube video for teens about suicide and we've asked all the high schools to play that on Monday. We know there are hurting people and a lot of time they don't call."
Boulianne said crisis centre volunteers are typically students. There is continual need for more middle-aged adults and seniors to deal with crisis incidents. Training of volunteers takes place on two weekends with a 60-hour program. The next training periods are Sept. 28-30 and Oct. 19-21. For more information, go to the website northernbccrisissuicide.ca or call Boulianne at 250-564-5736.
The Salvation Army's crisis response trailer will also be at the store today, with support from mental health professionals from Northern Health, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Prince George Native Friendship Centre and Crisis Centre volunteers. Wal-Mart is donating cookies and Tim Hortons will have free coffee.
Suicide signs to watch for
According to the website suicide.org, suicide warning signs include:
n Appearing depressed or sad most of the time (Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide);
n Talking or writing about death or suicide;
n Withdrawing from family and friends;
n Feeling hopeless or helpless;
n Feeling strong anger or rage;
n Feeling trapped -- like there is no way out of a situation;
n Experiencing dramatic mood changes;
n Abusing drugs or alcohol;
n Exhibiting a change in personality;
n Acting impulsively;
n Losing interest in most activities;
n Experiencing a change in sleeping habits;
n Experiencing a change in eating habits;
n Losing interest in most activities;
n Performing poorly at work or in school;
n Giving away prized possessions;
n Writing a will;
n Feeling excessive guilt or shame;
n Acting recklessly.