Suicide is a difficult subject for people to talk about. On Sept. 10, World Suicide Awareness Day, two dozen people in the Alberni Valley gathered to express themselves in their own way on a Canadian Mental Health Association-Port Alberni branch event.
People gathered at CMHA’s New Horizons Clubhouse to make lanterns, then they walked at dusk to Harbour Quay, where an area was set up outside under cover for people to talk.
“It’s always a hard day for me,” said Katrina Kiefer, executive director of the CMHA Port Alberni branch.
“One of the hardest parts of a day like today is how much it reminds me of the loss…this year has been a brutal year for suicide,” she added.
“Everything we do is relationship based and here we’re through COVID-19 and trying to keep up relationships.”
She thanked her staff at CMHA for their hard work through the past year, and said she wants to empower people with hope moving forward.
“That’s what is going to move us forward is love, connection…and reaching out to each other.”
The opposite to reaching out, she reminded those gathered at Harbour Quay, is accepting help. “When someone asks you how you’re doing, be honest.”