Suicide is followed by darkness — pain, anger, a sense of loss.
But the goal of World Suicide Prevention Day is to remind grieving families and friends that the light can return.
“It’s an opportunity for people to come together and remember those they lost,” said Julia Payson, Canadian Mental Health Association executive director.
“It revolves around hope, health and healing.”
World Suicide Prevention Day takes place Sunday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Polson Park rose garden, with free meditation from 6 to 7 p.m. Among the speakers will be a survivor of suicide.
“They have built their life back up and this speaks to the fact that there is hope,” said Payson, who is hoping more people will become aware of those around them and the pain they may be experiencing before it becomes too late.
“We need to reach out and offer people help.”
“A lot of people are afraid to talk about it and believe talking about it may cause suicide. But it’s about reaching out. It’s possible to live through this. We need to break down the stigma.”
Among those who have accepted the challenge is Mike Fox, a Telus employee who has lost a friend, a co-worker and a family member to suicide, all within 10 months.
It was after his co-worker died in January that Fox reached out to his employer.
“I told them I couldn’t go another day without helping people, letting them know they aren’t alone,” he said.
With assistance from Morneau Sheppell, Fox has sat down with groups of Telus workers locally, where he tells his story and provides details about assistance.
“I want to open the eyes to each employee that anxiety and stress affects how you look at your day, how you make the decisions in your day,” he said.
“The reception has been incredible. Many have told me about their own struggles and what’s going on in their life.”
Fox is hopeful others will be better able to understand mental health issues with their family, friends and co-workers.
“They feel like they are alone and often nobody loves them. People see what’s happening but they don’t know how to respond, what to do. (This is) about that — reaching out.”
In the end, Fox says he’s just an average person who hadn’t thought about suicide until he was touched three times.
“I try to relate to people. Every one of those three stories will relate to someone,” he said.
For more information about World Suicide Prevention Day, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be, call the 24-hour crisis line at 1-888-353-2273.