Hope Equals Life

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Hope equals life


"I got involved with the council through my best friend, who lost her daughter to suicide at the age of 24. I had written a song for her trying to help ease her pain, and let her know she was not alone, I understood how she felt. I had just lost my cousin to suicide 3 weeks prior.

My girlfriend was deeply touched by the song and suggested I send it to the Chair of Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council. She had been involved with some of their support programs and thought they might be interested in the song.

Bernadette Copeland contacted me and was very interested in having me sing at the upcoming walk in Barrie, that was in 2017. I have since been singing at numerous events, as well as being asked to be a council member in 2018.

I am very passionate about bringing awareness to the public and hopefully ending some of the stigma's that still exist today. I have since lost another cousin and nephew to suicide, so it makes me want to be more involved in our council.

Together we can bring awareness and offer support."

Lee Matthieu
Washago, Ontario

“I have been part of the Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council ever since meeting Bernadette and am truly thankful for the amazing team of volunteers who are part of our council.

We strive to raise awareness, provide support, and reduce stigma.

I urge anyone struggling to reach out for help and know that you are not alone. I also urge anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide, to know that you are not alone and that there are supports in place to help you in your grief journey.”

Springwater, Ontario

"The annual Walk of Hope is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other people that have been impacted by suicide loss. It was a shared emotional experience that was grounding and I felt connected."

Barrie, Ontario

Tuesday April 28, 2015, was the day my life changed forever.

I came home from work to find my son had died by suicide, at the young age of 19. My heart will never heal from this immense loss.

This tragedy found me to become very isolated. The stigma surrounding this type of loss caused me to feel very judged by society. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and die.

Looking for support, I found Bernadette’s support group for Survivors of Suicide Loss. Back then, pre-Covid, the meetings were in person. Going to that first meeting was the scariest thing I could imagine, but it was my wisest decision. This began my healing journey.

Being able to connect with others who were experiencing a similar grief journey was the only thing that kept me going.

I consider myself very fortunate to have found a safe place to discuss that elephant in the room.

The Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council is a non-profit organization is run by some amazing volunteers who dedicate their time to raising awareness in our communities.

My goal was to help others, just like everyone else involved. Very rewarding and healing.

Fast forward, eight long years, to the present, I am no longer wanting to curl up and die. There’s been a shift in society regarding mental health and I couldn’t be prouder.

This past Christmas Day my daughter was admitted to a Toronto hospital and I went to be with her. I can’t tell you how much comfort I felt ever time I used the elevators to see signage advertising the new 988 Suicide help line.

Thanks to every single volunteer who dedicates their time to raising awareness. It’s working. It’s given me hope again. I will be forever grateful.

Michelle Richens

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