The second leading killer of young people in Canada is one you may know but not understand. Suicide is one of the deadliest risks in our society today, along with accidents and cancer.
Many know the dictionary definition, but you cannot truly understand the meaning of suicide until it knocks on your door. I used to be ignorant about the effects of bullying, abuse, and unhealthy relationships – some of the ways people may be forced to the edge. But I’m not anymore.
Talking about the worst times in our lives can open other people’s minds and make those who are struggling feel better. That’s what I’m trying to do here.
Less than six months ago, my sister made an attempt on her life. This beautiful girl, my partner in crime for most of my life, was suddenly lying in a hospital bed, lost and upset. If only I had known the true extent of what she was dealing with, maybe I wouldn’t have been angry at my mother for forgetting to buy me birthday presents, or constantly worrying about her on my special day. I remember being rude when my mom told me why she had been at the hospital all night. Selfish, stupid, I walked out when my family needed me the most. I could not believe that my sister, so young and innocent, could have ever wanted to end the life she had so fortunately been given. As it began to sink in, I had to ask why? Why had she wanted to end it all so badly? And how had I not seen it?
She had been lost and alone in a group of people who did not like her because they did not understand her. Her love for others was too great and her trust too strong. She is a beautiful and amazing girl, free to explore the life that she wants to have, but some do not understand what they can never be. The people around her tried to ruin her, and tried to put out her light, because they knew that the small confidence they possessed was nothing compared to hers’. My darling angel, I am so glad you are still here to be with me today. If you were gone, my life would be empty. You are beautiful and you are loved.
This fear that I could lose my sister so easily gave me the passion I now have for raising awareness about those who are struggling. I wondered how, if this can be so devastating, if we can lose 300 children per year in Victoria alone, why we have not done more to stop it as a community. But there again I was ignorant, although I am glad to say I am not anymore. When I came to Victoria, I was looking to expand my life – and there are endless ways to help in this city. This is part of the reason I chose Victoria to be my home. On October 1st, I had the chance to explore an organization that truly cares. NEED2 graciously allowed us to view the program they share with high school kids in the Victoria area. Their goal is to increase youth knowledge and awareness of suicide. Educating over 4000 children and teens over the past few years is an amazing feat, and NEED2 is truly helping to establish a new sense of understanding surrounding the effects of suicide. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to be involved in what this organization has been achieving since its naissance in 1971, and to be allowed to be a part of their future. They are helping to stop families from experiencing the fear we felt, and to allow teens to avoid fear of suicide and the stigma that it brings. There is so much love out there – we just need to extend it to those who are struggling.