Lets talk about it and let’s remember there is HOPE. I am not an expert but I am learning and today I wanted to share what I have learned with you. Being educated on this topic brings hope because its not being hidden.
I know its hard topic but its important for us to try to understand it better because too many lives are being lost this way. Please continue to read and search out more information on your own. Let’s end this epidemic. Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world. It starts with us.
There is no denying death by suicide is a difficult topic to talk about. But we need to …11 people die by suicide each day in Canada! That is over 4000 a year and the numbers are increasing at a staggering rate. In Alberta more than 500 die by suicide each year. Did you know 1/3 of deaths by suicide are among people 45-59 years and suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults (15-34 years). These are horrific statistics.
Why is the HOPE campaign giving back to the Canadian Mental Health Association Edmonton Branch?
Because they bring hope and healing. They save lives. The CMHA Edmonton needs our donations to prevent suicide.
Some information from their site.
The bad news: Globally more people die by suicide than in war and homicide combined. Every year, over 500 Albertans die by suicide.
The good news: Suicide is preventable! CMHA provides community services that prevent suicide. Last year, CMHA intervened with 1900 suicidal Albertans. 1196 phone interventions 2627 distress calls answered.
Information to note: Only 1 out 3 people who attempt or die by suicide enter the health system, community agencies must be ready to care for the rest. The CMHA needs our donations to support the people who need it most.
7000 admitted. 31K Albertans accessed CMHA suicide prevention services.
What if someone you know is having suicidal thoughts…you will need to be calm and gentle in your conversation. First, you need to ensure they feel understood. You need to let them tell their story. Don’t try to fix it or make them feel better, that can halt the conversation. Listen without judgement.
Here are some things you can ask…its not a script, its from an author (Stacey Freeedenthal, PHD, LCSW) who got these questions from suicidal individuals. These are not based on research; they are based on real conversations. Everyone is different and you need to follow their lead and always listen. These are a few ideas and reasons for questions.
- I’m so glad you told me that you are thinking of suicide. By saying “I’m glad you told me or something similar you are conveying that you encourage disclosure of suicidal thoughts and that you can handle it.
- I’m sad you are hurting like this. A simple expression of empathy can go a long way towards validating a person’s sense of aloneness.
- What is going on that makes you want to die? You are inviting the suicidal person to tell their story and you can provide validation, connection and show that you really want to understand. Then really listen. Showing empathy and understanding.
- Help is available. You are telling them again they are not alone and there are places they can call for help like the CMHA 780-414-6300 Distress line 782-482-HELP (4357)
- What can I do to help? Tell them about the above resources, but also make it clear that you are available, if you are able to be. (Do not promise something you cannot do.) That being said if you are feeling solely responsible for keeping this person alive, its best to involve others too.
- I hope you will keep talking to me about your thoughts of suicide. Just as you want the person to feel welcome for having shared their suicidal thoughts to you, make it clear that they are welcome to keep talking. By inviting the person to come to you again about their suicidal thoughts you can help prevent isolation and secrecy.
Also, if you feel this a crisis situation stay calm, call for help and don’t leave them alone.
HOPE? Where is the HOPE? The hope is in the education, the conversation, the recognition, the being seen and heard. The hope is removing the stigma about feeling suicidal. We need to communicate that mental illness and suicidal thoughts aren’t who we are. They don’t define us; they happen to us. They are real feelings that need attention and need to be heard.
Ashley Mielke, is a woman who lost her own father to death by suicide on November 26, 2010. She is a bringer of HOPE, she felt called by God to create this campaign built on hope, hope for those who are silently struggling with thoughts of suicide and hope for those whose hearts have been broken by the death of a loved one by suicide. On November 26, 2020 at 1pm, Ashley will be hosting a virtual talk about her story and the hope she carries after navigating the darkest and most painful time in her life. Hope was believing that her life had meaning and better days were ahead of her. She wants to give this gift to everyone and help prevent a death by suicide and the heartbreak and devastation that follows. That’s is the why behind the HOPE Campaign.
Sarah and I are honoured to be apart of something more than we ever thought possible and are humbled by the love and encouragement we find in this community.
Ways you can donate
- Buy a t-shirt (some sizes available XL and 3XL) and XS-L available for preorder.
- Buy a vintage inspired hand stamped key necklace “HOPE and LOVE”
- Attend Ashley’s 1 hour virtual talk on November 26, 2020 1pm
- Donate directly to the HOPE campaign on the CMHA Edmonton’s page. (all net proceeds from t-shirts, key necklaces and the virtual talk go directly to the CMHA Edmonton)
Links to “The grief and Trauma Healing Centre” are on the top of our online store and the link is in our bio on Instagram. All the information is there for you to access.
Matthew 5:14-16 Msg
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, the generous Father in heaven.”
We are asked as human beings to love God, love ourselves and to love others. Be bold and step out into the dark places where people live in fear, shame and hide. Go shine the light that is in you. Be loving, be kind, listen without judgement and ensure they feel heard. We carry HOPE in us. Everyone needs to know that tomorrow needs them, we need them.