Statement on World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide is something that has touched a lot of peoples lives, whether they’ve known somebody that has committed suicide, or whether they’ve considered it themselves. In my own life, it has been a consistent presence.

The first time that I was suicidal was soon after my mother had died suddenly, and I’d lost my home, and everything I knew. I was in a very tumultuous living situation and not getting the support that I needed, and I really also didn’t feel like there was anything to life for me anymore. And what kept me around was the feeling of not wanting to hurt anyone in my family.

The problem with the response that I got to being suicidal was that it wasn’t taken seriously because there were feelings standing in my way to actually killing myself. So I was told that it wasn’t real, it wasn’t serious, and maybe I was just trying to get attention.

Over the years, I’ve maintained and realized to a greater extent that those feelings were always real, and valid, and true, and should have been treated seriously.

My experiences of suicidal ideation didn’t stop at that point. After years of psychological abuse, I would feel trapped. And every time I would feel trapped without agency, I would get overwhelming urges to want to leave.

Suicide continues to be a really big problem for queer and trans youth. I have had the great fortune of a community around me that accepts me, appreciates me, loves me for who I am, and has given me the support that I need. For a lot of young people who are queer and trans, they do not find acceptance easily. They do not have communities around them or families that accept them, and they also experience a lot of hate.

Inside this leadership race, and outside of it, I’ve experienced a lot of hate relating to my identity, and if I didn’t have the community around me to give me a lot support, I don’t know that I would have been able to withstand it.

It’s very important with all the reasons that people have and the prevalence of trauma and mental health problems that we work on destigmatizing suicidal thoughts and suicide itself.

If somebody is willing to admit that this is how they feel, we have to believe them. And we have to take it just as seriously and help them through it.

It’s clear we need to expand our mental health system. But before we even get there, we need to step up and help each other. Taking people seriously is one thing, but also not putting them down for the feelings that they experience.

If you are having a rough time, reach out if you can. Find somebody to talk to. Or reach out to a crisis help line. And if you know somebody that’s having a hard time, it can mean everything that somebody’s there for you.

Crisis Services Canada: 1 (833) 456-4566
Kids Help Phone: 1 (800) 668-6868
Hope for Wellness: 1 (855) 242-3310