For the past four years, each September the Debney family has honoured their son Gordon Debney with a fundraiser in support of suicide prevention. This year they raised over $10,000 for Here 24/7 – Here 24/7 is the front door to the addictions, mental health and crisis services provided by 12 agencies across Waterloo Wellington. They have raised over $40,000 in support of suicide prevention in the past four years. The event took place at the Cambridge Newfoundland Club on September 14th and draws wonderful community support and engagement, over 150 people attended.
November 17th marks International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. The Debney family know this pain. On August 21, 2014 they received a phone call that would change their life. Their son, Gordon Debney, a normally happy and go-lucky man, had died by suicide after beginning treatment for clinical depression just three weeks before.
“The night Gordon passed we made a promise that we would fight the battle that he lost, that his life would matter. We would be very outspoken about suicide, that we would fight the stigma of depression and suicide and be open with our experience. We also promised to fundraise for a support that is open to anyone in need. Our event brings together people in a fun social setting supporting a great cause and the publicity gives us the opportunity to speak publicly and fight the stigma. We also know the resources going to Here 24/7 support the criteria above,” says Ken Debney, Gordon’s father.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) estimates that each day in Canada, 10 people end their life and 200 make a suicide attempt. Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social, and ethnic boundaries. The tragedy of suicide impacts the entire community.
Talking about suicide can provide relief and being a listener is the best intervention anyone can give. Here are a few ways you can help:
- Take all threats or attempts seriously
- Be aware and learn warning signs of suicide
- Be direct and ask if the person is thinking of suicide. If the answer is yes, ask if the person has a plan and what the time line is.
- Be non-judgmental and empathic
- Do not minimize the feelings expressed by the person
- Do not be sworn to secrecy…seek out the support of appropriate professionals
- Ask if there is anything you can do
If you are in crisis or wish to discuss whether CMHA has the right service for you, call Here 24/7: 1-844-437-3247 (HERE 247).