awareness & prevention

The Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council began with a group of survivors, service providers, and passionate community members. Our goal is to support suicide survivors, and reduce the tragedy of suicide through education and awareness.

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Kayley’s story.

Every parent’s nightmare came true for me, the loss of a child. For reasons I will likely never know and will never be understandable, my 13 year old daughter Kaley decided that her life was no longer worth living. Only a week after making her Christmas wish list, talks of shopping for her Grade 8 graduation dress and future plans, Kaley attempted suicide. I say attempted because she was found out before she completed. She had barely any vitals and was taken to hospital. One week after Kaley’s attempt, her body succumbed to her self- inflicted injuries. She had in fact carried out her suicide plan.


In the hospital I held Kaley’s unconscious body. I held her hand and talked to her, told her stories, sang her songs, kissed her, hugged her and prayed she would survive this horrible mistake she had made. I held her hand while she faded away from this world, a memory and feeling that haunts me every day. There are no words to describe the loss of a child. Kaley’s death has left me devastated to say the least.


My world had crashed in a way I never imagined possible. I wanted to die myself. If it had not been for my 15 year old daughter Makenzie and other loved ones, I wouldn’t have survived this. I had to keep it together for those who needed me. I must somehow take care of myself so I could take care of them.


Living in a small town we felt as though we had become the subject of everyone’s whispering, gossip and looks of pity. Everywhere we went someone wanted to talk to us about what happened, in every form. News outlets, social media and just people in general would not leave us alone to grieve. Everyone wanted the story but no one wanted to actually listen and help. No one could understand what we were going through. I have never felt more alone in my life. Our friends and family didn’t know what to say. How could they?


Knowing my daughter needed a professional to talk to, I found counseling for her immediately while I tried to manage my grief on my own. I finally broke down and met with a family health team counselor. It was during this meeting that I discovered that this person, who had no children and had never suffered a loss, could not help me. She could not identify with me in any way. She had nothing to offer me with the exception of a pamphlet on a group called “Survivors of Suicide”. I left her office that day and never returned.

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Three months after losing Kaley, I joined the group “Survivors of Suicide”. The days leading up to the first meeting were awful. I was very nervous, so nervous in fact that I felt sick to my stomach. Here I was going to meet a bunch of people who I didn’t know, where I was going to share my inner most private feelings and the story of my loss. The thought of shedding tears and bearing my soul to complete strangers was terrifying. Knowing that I didn’t have anything to lose, I sucked it up and went in. It was there that I met the wonderful support network of people who I am honored to call my friends. The first night was a difficult one. Meeting new people and opening up and talking about losing my daughter to suicide was a lot to take in. I left that meeting mentally, physically and emotionally spent.


The following week I was even more nervous to return because I knew what was in store and I was right. Another night of going home tear stained and feeling exhausted. But soon I began to look forward to group. Being part of a support group with people who cared and who knew exactly what I was going through was helping. I had been afraid to speak openly to friends and family about Kaley’s suicide for fear of upsetting them or making them uncomfortable. Finally I could speak freely to people who understood. I could count on them to listen, offer support and advice. They would share their experiences of what worked for them and share ideas of things that may benefit me too.


Through group, I learned to focus on the life of my daughter and not her death. Kaley was a vibrant, funny, giving and beautiful young girl who had her whole life ahead her. I somehow get through each day with just her memory. I will never get over this loss but I now know that I have a support network for the times that I need it. I have learned from group that I can’t change what happened but only I can change how I move forward. I am here and as hard as it is to want it some days, my life must continue.


I am glad that I found the Survivors of Suicide group for in them I have found support, valuable coping techniques and friends. It is the group that none of us wanted to be a member of but all of us needed and took something from. I am grateful that the group exists for without it I don’t believe I would be surviving my grief.


Thank you to the leaders who give up their time to help others, you are truly wonderful people.