Kelsey Bareham is a talented local writer and artist who grew up in the Pemberton Valley and now operates Whistler Tatttoo Company and is raising her own family. She recently shared a post to acknowledge World Suicide Prevention Day, which was Thursday September 10, and her articulation of the pain and ripple effects of suicide is so genuine that I asked her permission to share it here.
I hate soapboxing, but if this helps even one person, it’s worth it.
It’s World Suicide Prevention Day, which always gets me thinking.
I wasn’t going to write anything because it’s personally difficult for me, but after seeing a friend’s mother post, I realized that it’s important.
My life has been directly effected by suicide since I was fourteen years old.
I have lost multiple close friends to suicide – sweet, kind-hearted people who were very loved.
It was a shock each time, and each time the pain rippling outwards from the occurrence touched pretty much everyone who knew them, and from what I know, still sits with them to this day. I know it does with me.
The grief associated with suicide feels different to me than when someone has died of natural causes or an accident. There is a lot of searching involved – could I have been a better friend? Did I hear them and not acknowledge what they were saying? Did I brush off their attempts to communicate their situation? Why didn’t I call/reach out/offer more support/see their pain? etc.
Having been down this road multiple times, these questions are very raw, and very real, and always very much too late.
Suicide leaves loved ones lost in the hopelessness of retrospect; what they might have said or done to change the outcome, which is now final.
Mental health is very important and I’m glad that the stigma attached to talking about these things is becoming less.
If you’re not okay, reach out to someone! Talk to a loved one! Be honest about it! People love you!
Hell – if you are reading this then you are important to me, and if you’re struggling, please, for the love of Dog reach out to me! Day or night, I am here for you if you are in that space. You would never believe the effect your loss would have on those around you.
For those of us who are doing just fine, reach out to the people you love to check on them. If their response to how they say they are doesn’t sit true with your instincts, ask them again. It’s always better to irritate your live friend with your love and concern than it is to have a dead friend who thought you wouldn’t care.
This video, by the Rubberbandits from Ireland, is dark and poignant. Full warning- it may be difficult to watch, but the message is clear and it’s beautifully done.
Thanks for listening.
by Kelsey Bareham
If you’re in distress or need immediate help, call 1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433
If you’re concerned for someone’s well-being, the Pemberton Local Action team of the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative (CYMHSU) created several Suicide Intervention Toolkits, for youth, professionals, and parents and care-givers.
Click on the images below to link through to each toolkit.
These toolkits are full of excellent resources – including ways to identify if you’re at risk, creating a circle of care, and stories from people who did reach out when they felt as low as it’s possible to get.
The BC Crisis Centre also has some helpful Q+A to get you oriented, if just talking about the S word makes you feel squirly. It’s understandable. We’re all likely to be triggered by this.