Under sunny skies people in Williams Lake gathered to tackle the heavy subject of suicide last Wednesday during a suicide and sudden death prevention event.
Around 20 attended the opening at Boitanio Park, gathering around a tree the city has provided to remember all the people who have committed suicide.
“The tree is fitting,” Cariboo Regional District director Joan Sorely said. “It’s kind of struggling like our community. We need more resources.”
Sorley held two separate pamphlets from memorials of men she knows who committed suicide this year.
One man battled depression, phoned the doctor one morning to see if he could have an appointment.
“He was told he couldn’t get in until the next day,” Sorley shook her head and said he took his life later that day.
Speaking on behalf of the city, Coun. Surinderpal Rathor said the community needs to commit to helping people.
“It’s a shame to lose people in our community through suicide.”
Rathor recalled going through a rough time after he arrived in Canada.
“I would sit in my car for hours when I got home from work,” he recalled.
Luckily a coworker helped and listened.
“This guy let me put my head on his shoulder, and if I hadn’t talked to someone that would have been my biggest mistake,” Rathor said.
“I still owe him my life.”
Family counsellor Bettina Schoen, who helped co-ordinate the event, said 3,500 people die from suicide in Canada each year and across the globe, the number is a staggering one million.
“Someone dies from suicide every 40 seconds,” she said.
In 2011, there were 426 deaths by suicide, and of those 317 were male and 109 were female, and August being the month with the most suicides for males and February for females, cited a B.C. government vital statistics report.
From the park, people walked to Lake City Secondary School Carson Campus, carrying a huge World Suicide Prevention Day banner.
At the school there was food, music, entertainment, a film, door prizes and displays, as well as free bright green bracelet with the words: Embrace Life.