Spread love, not hate
Tuesday, Aug 02, 2016 06:00 am
I am only 23 years old and have known four people who have died by suicide. There is something seriously wrong with that.
It all started when I was nine years old and my brother, who was 19 at the time, took his own life.
He struggled with depression for as long as I can remember and there were numerous signs, but I was only nine and obviously naÔve when it came to suicide.
It wasnít until I grew older that I started to see the signs. Even now, Iíll be listening to an old song on the radio that he used to enjoy, and all of a sudden itíll hit me that itís about depression.
Being so young at the time, it was a difficult loss to cope with in school because kids were curious and always asking the questions you donít want to be asked when going through something like that.
I was still trying to figure it out myself but I never really did because I couldnít get past the fact that I was missing out on a brother, and my family was changing.
When I was 17 years old, my uncle killed himself. He had lived with us for quite some time and, again, I didnít see the signs until after.
I started to develop a passion for spreading suicide awareness and I got into journalism.
As a journalist, Iíve been able to write about suicide and meet and interview others who have been affected by it, hoping that in some way I can make a difference.
But I became hopeless when my colleague took his own life last summer, which came as a complete shock.
Iíve continued to try to spread suicide awareness because there is a stigma that needs to be broken so people who may be contemplating suicide donít feel so alienated.
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. There is no reason to feel uncomfortable when talking about suicide because it is happening every day and is becoming more and more common.
According to mental health officials at the Centre for Suicide Prevention, the suicide rate peaks in the spring and summer.
Albertaís suicide rate is higher than most Canadian provincesí and three out of four people who die by suicide are men.
More Albertans die by suicide than motor vehicle collisions each year, and suicides in Alberta increased by 30 per cent last year, which could be related to Albertaís economic situation.
I can almost guarantee that in a room full of people, at least one person knows someone who has died by suicide.
Most recently, I found out a friend of mine from junior high school killed himself in July.
When looking at his Facebook page, I noticed he shared a photo in January that said ďI feel myself changing. I donít even laugh the same anymore, I donít smile the same, or talk the same, Iím just so tired of everything.Ē
If that isnít a sign of depression then I donít know what is.
We need to work together to break the stigma, look for the signs, be kind to others and win the war against depression.