A Spallumcheen company is tackling the issue of mental health.
Hytec-Kohler has raised funds for mental health services in memory of co-worker Ryan Collins, 30, who recently died from suicide.
“Ryan’s anxiety was so bad it held him back from living his life. He would focus on the “what if’s” and the extreme worry would paralyze him from doing things. He wasn’t able to sleep well because his mind would never shut off from the worry. He would constantly worry about things he had no control over,” said Ryan’s parents, Ricky and Theresa Evanoff.
“We would be there to listen and comfort him but his anxiety only continued to get worse. He did not want to open up about what he was going through, he did not know how to explain it so he kept a lot inside. The stigma surrounding mental illness prevented Ryan from talking openly about what he was going through and getting the help he needed.”
Anxiety is the most common type of mental disorder affecting 12 per cent of B.C.’s population, or one in eight people, in any given year.
“Ryan was an extremely generous and caring, he was always there for you when you needed him. He believed in paying it forward. This is why we want to share Ryan’s story because things need to change,” said the Evanoffs.
“There needs to be more services for mental health in our community. Anxiety and depression are diseases, the same as addictions and cancer are recognized as diseases, anxiety is just as important and just as dangerous.”
Hytec-Kohler hosted a fundraiser, raising more than $2,000 for mental health.
“We wanted to come together to remember Ryan and support his family during this difficult time and to bring awareness to the fact we need for more mental health services in our community, said Deborah Fox, human resources manager at Hytec-Kohler.
About 4,000 Canadians die by suicide every year. The most at-risk group for suicide is men in their 40s and 50s.
Sunday is World Suicide Prevention Day and CMHA is hosting an evening at Polson Park from 7 to 8 p.m. Free meditation will be offered from 6 to 7 p.m.
If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be, call the 24-hour crisis line: 1-888-353-2273.
To learn more about the Canadian Mental Health Association or to make a donation, visit www.vernon.cmha.bc.ca or call 250-542-3114.