Local families joined people across the globe to raise awareness and remember loved ones on World Suicide Prevention Day.
On Thursday, the Border City had emotional conversations on social media or gathering with family and friends for a walk.
This day, even just one day, means the world to a lot of people.
“It means a lot to me because first of all, I lost my dad to suicide and secondly, I’ve been there before where I had suicidal thoughts and I wanted to take my life,” Paul Laberge, founder of Let’s Walk the Talk.
Laberge walked for six days from Saskatoon to Lloydminster last year to raise awareness and open up the conversation about mental health. A journey that started after the death of his father in 2018 and the realization of his own battles with his mental health.
“I didn’t even know I had it for my whole life until literally one day I woke up and I just burst out in tears and I didn’t know why. And I went to the doctor and I found I’ve got anxiety and I’m depressed. To be honest with you, the first thing that came to my mind was great, I’m crazy.”
Since last year, Desiree Wile, a part-owner of Dark Hour Ink, has been active on social media to share ‘#Jaydenstory’ in hopes people realize the impact of bullying after the death of her son.
“If we can help one, that’s more than enough for me but the fact that we’ve helped hundreds and, so many people have come to show their love, it’s really bringing that awareness forward,” expressed Wile.
To do this, an event like the Walk of Remembrance aims to bring residents together to build a stronger community.
The walk usually involves families gathering at Bud Miller Park to walk and light a candle at 8 p.m. to honour lost loved ones, but this year was different.
Resource bag was handed out with pamphlets and numbers for help in Lloydminster and people were asked to walk at their own leisure.
One family decided to still walk in Bud Miller with their friends, while wearing masks and practicing social distancing, but they got more support than expected.
“We were just going to do something small due to the [pandemic],” said Wile.
After posting about the walk on social media many joined such as Jayden’s best friend, his classmates, family, and acquaintances.
Wile felt overwhelmed by the love and the fact she never thought she would lose someone to suicide.
“It’s every parent’s nightmare. It truly is. And I don’t ever want to say, put yourself in my shoes because I don’t ever want anybody to ever have to feel like this.”
“My husband’s amazing and he’s my rock, but as a mom, it’s just, it’s undescribable the emptiness that you feel.”.
Laberge believes putting a spotlight on mental health and suicide will make the conversation easier for those affected.
“I’m just glad that we’re finally starting to talking about this, and I’m glad that we have this day. This day means a lot. It also gives hope that maybe one day might be able to end this stigma.”
Anyone looking for mental health resources in the City can go to the Lloydminster Mental Health website.