Courtesy Metroland Media – “Silence Hurts” was the key message the Halton Suicide Prevention Coation (HSPC) wanted to get out at a recent session on suicide prevention at the Georgetown District High School.
The HSPC is attempting to raise awareness and break the silence around the issue to help reduce the stigma associated with suicide, prevent it, and get the word out that help is available in Halton.
At the session, that drew about 40 area residents, Alyssa Gremman, 22, of Oakville, hit home the importance of break the silence when she talked about her suicide attempt. “ I have contemplated suicide many times in my 22 years,” said Gremman. “I can tell you 100 per cent I did not look suicidal when I was.”
She had just started high school and now knows she was suffering from anxiety, but at the time, had no idea what was wrong. She didn’t feel she could talk to anyone and eventually she started harming herself. “No one ever asked, or noticed,” she said.
She said she became so unhappy that she “tried to self-harm myself enough that I would pass away.” At that point she knew the only option was to tell someone, so she worked up the courage to talk to her mom. “This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Grumman.
She said, “It’s okay. We’re going to figure this out, it’s okay.’ Those words have stuck with me my entire life and are the reason I’m here,” said Gremman, who still struggles with suicidal thoughts. Gremman said because she “broke the silence” made it possible for her to tell her mom anytime she’s contemplating suicide.
Halton Suicide Prevention Coaltion member Erin Horlings said each year in Halton approximately 30 residents die by suicide, and about 420 people are hospitalized for attempting to kill themselves. She said suicide is the second leading cause of death in Canadian children, youth and young adults.
She said that suicide can be prevented by creating awareness, reducing the stigma around suicide and getting people who are contemplating suicide to seek help. She said stigma is one of the key barriers for people from getting help.