October 10th is World Mental Health Day.
We need to talk openly about suicide. We need to share stories and educate our communities. We need to ensure that every single person knows how to access the resources available.
If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal know there are people who care and can help. Please call 1-800-SUICIDE
Every year 800,000 people around the world die by suicide. When someone dies by suicide their family, friends and community are left to grieve, often in silence, as suicide continues to be stigmatized and misunderstood.
Yvonne Law works for the Bow Valley Community Helpers program, funded through Alberta Health Services, and her life has been impacted by the suicide of a loved one. Yvonne and I are working in partnership to tell the stories of suicide survivors in the Bow Valley. The goals of our photo project are to hold space for those left behind and to spark conversations about suicide.
In honour of her brother, Steven, Yvonne is telling her story as a suicide survivor.
Survivor: Yvonne Law
Loved one: Steven Law, Yvonne’s brother
Memorial Object: Converse runners
“These shoes! I have kept them for 22 years as a way to remember my brother. I have a memory of him wearing them, and that makes them forever special to me.
A few years after my brother died, I wanted another chance to be just like my big brother, so I went out and bought the exact same pair for me. I put them on, and felt like I could make a new memory with him, even though he was gone. He should be wearing them, walking in them, living his life in them, but they are empty. I have walked many miles over the last two decades without my brother by my side, but his lasting gift to me is my voice, my message and my hope.
My voice and message is to bring the pain of being a suicide survivor out of the darkness, and into the light so those struggling with suicidal thoughts, feelings and behaviours never feel alone, so they can find someone that is compassionate and understanding to help them find support. My hope is for no one to ever die by suicide, ever again. I walk this path of hope with other survivors, and we make a difference through our pain, courage, strength, and through sharing our stories.”
This project is about suicide survivors.
The people you will meet over the coming months are the family members and friends of those who died by suicide.
Below is my family’s story as suicide survivors.
Whether you live in the Bow Valley or not, your story matters.