June 16, 2016
Disclaimer: SickNotWeak does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
The town of Woodstock has a population of roughly 38,000 people, it is by definition, a small town. Since the start of 2016, five of their own children have taken their lives by suicide. That is the equivalent of almost 400 Toronto children. That is as many suicides as there are high schools in Woodstock.
On June 7th, hundreds of students walked out of their classrooms in protest of how the town has dealt with this issue. They want answers, they want help, and they want to feel safe.
Mental illness is a taboo subject to even talk about as adults, can you imagine how confusing and misunderstood it is to children, to teens, to the youth of our world. Growing up, we had school wide presentations on drunk driving, and on bullying. We had fundraisers for heart disease and cancer. But nothing on mental illness; there is no one coming to these schools to let children know it is okay to be feeling what they are feeling.
Seeing what is taking place in Woodstock made evoked pride but also scared me, a lot of memories came flooding back – any one of those lives lost in that small town could have been me.
I suffered from bullying, depression, an eating disorder, and self harm throughout my youth. I was confused and embarrassed and the helplessness I felt in not knowing where to turn only made me go down a deeper spiral.
If I had something or someone like SickNotWeak or CAMH or any kind of mental health advocate come and talk to me, to show me that it was alright to feel sad, that not everyone has to be happy all the time, things may not have progressed as much and the lifelong consequences I’m dealing with now, wouldn’t exist.
The youth of Woodstock wanted answers – and they did something about it.
I am so proud of those students for standing up for themselves and for those they have lost and I’m proud of SickNotWeak for answering the call and setting up shop in Woodstock to show everyone we are not alone in this fight against mental illness.
We don’t know the exact solution to the problem, but we are hoping that this call to action puts us a step in the right direction. Statistics Canada shows that suicide is the second leading cause of death among the ages of 15-34. And this number is almost unchanging. That can’t be the case.
Let this be the first of many open dialogues about mental illness. Let this be the first of many voices.
Please join Michael Landsberg (TSN – OFF THE RECORD) and friends as he brings a message of hope to the community of Woodstock following the news of 5 youth suicides since January 9, 2016.
Thursday June 16th, from 7 pm- 9pm
381 Finkle St – 381 Finkle Street Woodstock District Community Complex, Woodstock, ON N4V 1A3
Get your tickets here:
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