photo credits: Danika Gamache Photography and Prime Media
World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity for everyone to join together to promote understanding about suicide:
those impacted by a suicide attempt or loss, friends or family, survivors, professionals, volunteers and community members impacted by suicide.
Every year on September 10th, communities all over the world work together to prevent suicide.
For the past few years in Vernon we have hosted, “Be the Light” an event that brings people together to facilitate hope and healing.
This year, due to the current circumstances, we will be holding this event virtually on our website.
click on the links below for more information about suicide prevention
Every year we lose thousands of people to suicide.
The North Okanagan has one of the highest cases of death due to suicide. We have all been impacted by suicide. Too often stigma and shame prevent people from talking openly about their struggles leaving them in the dark.
The time has come to reduce the stigma and taboo about suicide. Now is the time to share resources, stories and band together as a community. Our goal is to reach out to those affected by suicide, connect individuals to resources and raise awareness. Coming together as a community and reaching out to each other can save lives.
Research has shown that sharing stories of resilience can help save lives.
We wanted to give our community a place to do just that.
Below are videos and stories submitted from members of our community who have been impacted by suicide.
Guy Willy, Family Member
Mike, Crisis Line Volunteer
Joy, Family Member
Dr. Sandra DeSouza
Jeff Teale, Father
“I had seen what suicide had done to friends and family – the heartbreak, the questions, the anger. And yet that didn’t stop me from having those thoughts. I was exhausted physically and mentally – worn right down. There didn’t seem to be any other way for the pain to end.
To this day, I am not sure why I didn’t act on those thoughts but I am forever grateful that I did. Relationships are healing, I have a new career and for the first time in my life, I am truly taking notice of the world around me. That’s not to say that there aren’t days, or even moments, where I can feel the pressure across my chest and the anxiety trying to take over. It would be so easy to give in.
But when I feel like that, I go for a walk. It’s amazing how air filling your lungs distracts you from those negative thoughts, and then I start taking pictures of flowers, birds, whatever, and the creativity kicks in. This may not work for everyone, but it sure helps me.
Mental health can kick your self-esteem around like a football so if I can tell you anything, it’s not to be too hard on yourself – be compassionate and gentle. Love yourself.
And don’t be afraid to talk to others, whether it’s a family member, physician, friend, co-worker or the Crisis Line. For me, being vulnerable and honest has been liberating.
But most of all, know that you are not alone.” – Richard Rolke
If you, like us, want to work towards a suicide safer community please consider getting involved through the following action items:
- Familiarize yourself with local resources
- On September 10 join us and others around the world by lighting a candle at 8:00 pm
- Download our DIY Lantern Kit Tutorial and help spread the light or visit our tutorial page
- Use our hashtags to help raise awareness: #BeTheLightVernon #SuicidePreventionOkanagan
- Share your stories and messages of hope and love
- Share our poster and help spread the word