You just don’t know

A workmate a lifetime ago was having a tough day. She had just learned a co-worker’s husband had taken his life and wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Confusion abounds whenever these situations arise. People – who we tend to see as inherently good and kind – want to do the right thing and support their friends and family.

Making sense of these things is not easy for anyone involved, whether it be how to support the immediate family or comfort friends. After listening for a good long while, I offered a line like, “you never know what goes on at home.”

It was hard to tell at the time if that provided some comfort, but months later she repeated it like gospel in another conversation about some sadness that befell another family. The thing is, without living in another person’s circumstance we have no idea how they are feeling or getting along in this journey called life.

None of us can expect to be all-seeing and all-knowing, but it behooves us to at least be aware of those around us having troubles.

This week we have an interesting story on a new effort to address issues surrounding suicide. The County of Wellington will be working with the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo-Wellington and Wellington OPP to implement a strategy called Here4Hope.

That it is a first-of-its-kind program does not come as a shock since this region is well known for identifying issues and setting about to find working solutions. The group aims to promote mental health dialogue and resources and to prevent suicides.

This noble cause is something we support, having spent the better part of 25 years encouraging openness on the subject of mental health in this very publication.

Even now, in this day and age of knowing people’s every move on social media, it is rare to really know how people are doing. Often, we see what they want us to see, hence the notion that “you never know what goes on at home”.

There are some tell-tale signs, like usually-social people withdrawing from crowds or avoiding friends and family. Attitude changes at work may alert a supervisor or co-workers that something is wrong.

As important as it is to notice these things, those struggling need to feel safe to take the next step and open up a dialogue.

We all need the tools to be there for them, as there are some cases that need much more than just a friendly ear.

With an optimistic approach, Here4Hope will help good people across the region support those in need, in the best possible way.