We think, perhaps, we could have done something differently -- made a move or said the right words that might have tipped the balance in favour of life. Death is not easy on a regular basis, but it becomes tainted and shame-faced when described as a suicide. It's as if we, the survivors, have somehow failed to do our part.
People with lived experience like myself have historically been excluded from being on the same committees, councils and boards as the people who are in charge of making decisions that will affect and impact people like us the most. After many years of waiting, we're finally starting to see organizations comprised solely of people with lived experience and -- even more rarely -- bodies with representation from patients, their families and healthcare professionals. It has always puzzled me as to how you could have committees and councils dedicated to patients with mental illness without having anybody from their community on them -- and it appears those who are working to improve Canada's health system are realizing this as well.
What happens when the tools that are supposed to connect us end up segregating us and making us feel excluded? The overuse of social media and the subsequent underuse of real-world skills has resulted in difficulty for many to socialize meaningfully -- leading to feelings of loneliness, social anxiety and depression.
I recently attended a mental health first aid course in order to further educate myself on the various mental illness disorders, the consequences of their severity and their overall prevalence in the population -- My eyes were opened to an entire population of our Canadian people whose rate of suicide was too horrifying to further ignore. As statistics related to aboriginal suicides were listed, I realized that this war being waged against the stigma of mental illness is but one of the many battles that will need to be addressed honestly in order to understand the magnitude of the affliction our mentally ill population is facing. As communities of aboriginals are fighting an invisible disease, society can dismiss the reality of the stigma by citing drugs and alcohol as the weak link in this people's history.
Life is for the living. In the years to come you will wake thinking about your son and not his suicide. In accepting loss, your mind will search for memories of life before depression and suicide became part of your lexicon. There will be much work to do in your son's name and in support of youth suicide prevention.
My name is Sana. I am 31 years old, mother to a little baby girl, and wife to a major techie. I'm also a writer, journalist and artist. And, as much as I dislike the usage of labels, you can add another label to my being. I am bipolar. Everyone's experience with their disorder is different, much like how we, as individuals, are so unique. I no longer want to be ashamed of being bipolar.
He told me he was fine. He wasn't. Wade's suicide represents a failure of some kind to me. I'm not sure what. I just know that we were friends -- not best friends, but special friends. Special, because we were bonded by the knowledge of each other's illness. Bonded the way undercover cops might be. Why didn't he reach out to me? Had I not instilled in him enough confidence that I "got it?" I wrote about my guilt shortly after his death. In an article for TSN.ca I referred to my guilt as "blood on my hands."
I am awake late again tonight, longtime sleep warrior that I am. Sleep and I, we have not yet found a way to comfortable exist together. I am forever hopeful. Bouts of insomnia tend to make one feel isolated, cut off from the world, so I try, these dark hours, to think of all the other people awake right now.
My name is Jean-Paul, and I am in treatment for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Hearing me say that usually elicits one of two responses in people -- abject pity or recoiling fear. I want you to know that I understand where you're coming from, but allow me a few minutes to see if we can change this dialogue.
The plan was to drive off the neighbourhood bridge. It had one of those flimsy corrugated steel side rails at the bottom of a steep hill and curve. I always felt those railings were only a token effort to protect against plans such as this. I had spent the morning running errands and my two-year-old was fast asleep in her car seat in the back. I had installed that seat with the help of a police officer and I knew it was secure and designed to protect on impact. I could see her in my rearview mirror and had a moment of doubt thinking of what I would miss out on.
As a business owner, my employees' health and well-being is important to me. I know that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce. Here are a few suggestions on what we all can do to make our workplaces better for those who are living with mental health issues and in turn increase productivity.