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Business Leader Summer 2018
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OPEN MIND Talking helps

Sometimes things happen in our lives that we just can’t seem to shake. When the topic of suicide is part of that experience, our reactions can be intense. After four student suicides, the University of Guelph is taking action by addressing this with various new initiatives. 

A recent fictional Netflix series, which depicts the distressing life of a high school teen and her ultimate death by suicide, has raised serious concerns about the mixed messages and graphic images that could be potentially triggering. Both are examples of tragic loss, and many have felt compelled to talk about it.  

In my role with the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington Dufferin, I advocate passionately for the importance of talking about suicide. Talking helps us to understand, to become more aware of people who may be at risk, and to learn ways to connect a person to supports and resources that can help.

Conversations that help us process our emotions, identify new ways to cope with life’s inevitable challenges, and explore where to turn for support are productive.  

Suicide and the reasons for it are very complex. There is no single reason why someone takes their life. Thankfully suicide is not a common response to life’s challenges or adversity. Most people reach out, talk to others, seek help or find other supportive ways of coping. But that is not true for everyone.  We know that some people will think about suicide – not that they absolutely want to die, but they are struggling to live with their current life circumstances.  

What can make all the difference is encouraging people who are struggling to seek help early by talking with someone they trust and connecting with resources in their community. We should all make a point to find out about walk-in counselling, support groups, peer support and individual counselling.  Access to Family Health Team resources, your doctor, or places of faith can offer care and comfort when you need it.

If you are not sure where to turn for mental health services, reach out to HERE 24/7 1-844-437-3247; the local Distress Line 1-888-821-3760; Kid’s Help Phone 1-800-668-6868; or Good 2 Talk (post-secondary student Helpline) 1-866-925-5454.

Open Mind article written by Sandy Parkinson, with the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington Dufferin,

The “Open Mind” column is sponsored by community partners who are committed to raising awareness about mental health, reducing stigma and providing information about resources that can help.  

Contact For local mental health resources/information, visit  or call 1-844-HERE247.

August 11, 2017


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