Suicide is something that has touched the lives of many and it is something that isn’t talked about as much as it should be. Bringing awareness to mental health and suicide is important, especially in the coming days as we mark National Suicide Prevention Week from Sept. 5th-11th with World Prevention Suicide Day taking place on Sept. 10th.
In Lacombe, officials are looking to spread awareness about the issue as the annual Walk for Wellness & Suicide Prevention is set to be held on Sept. 21st. The walk is a chance for people to spread awareness about suicide and mental health issues within Lacombe and beyond.
The walk will take place at the Lacombe Memorial Centre beginning at 5 p.m. with snacks and information booths. At 6 p.m. there will be a program with speakers and at 7 p.m. the walk will take place downtown.
No pre-registration is required and participants are asked to wear a white t-shirt.
The annual walk was spearheaded by Heather Jackson who lost her son Wade to suicide when Wade was only 15. About three month’s after Wade’s death, Heather and her daughter participated in a March for Suicide Awareness walk in Edmonton. It was that event that inspired Heather to start something similar here in Lacombe.
Heather said that when her son died, he had recently been through a traumatic experience and his cognitive thinking wasn’t at all what it should have been. She added this is something many people in similar circumstances face. They hide their pain from loved ones and their thoughts literally do not make sense.
It is important for people to know there are options when it comes to getting help for mental wellness.
There is no ‘one-size fits all solution’ and what works for one may not work for another, but reaching out and asking for help is the first step.
Walk for Wellness & Suicide Prevention works to promote these options, said Heather. Not only that, but it also strives to let people know there are options to get help when faced with mental health issues and no one needs to deal with them on their own. She said many who are going through such difficulties think that it is easier not to burden their families and friends with such issues, when in reality that is only hurting themselves.
According to Statistics Canada, overall, suicide rates continue to climb across the country. The latest reported stats from 2012 show there were 3,926 reported suicides across Canada in comparison of 3,896 the previous year. In 2012, the number of suicides of persons between the ages of 50 to 54 were the highest with 465 suicides that year.
We as a community can help to bring awareness to mental health and suicide. We encourage Lacombians to join the upcoming walk to help show support and to continue the dialogue of this very important issue.