Straight Talk About Suicide

 

Straight Talk About Suicide

Dear Members of the Association,

CSM Al McCambridge has provided the following message from Commissioner Lucki delivered in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day.

I should also mention that during a 2020-09-09 Board of Directors meeting which CSM McCambridge attended he said that there was a very strong feeling in his office that members of our Association could play a substantial role in assisting serving and retired members in dealing with the various triggers that cause people to commit suicide. This will be a topic that will shortly be addressed by President Glenn in a further message.

James Forrest
Director of Communications
RCMP Veterans’ Association


>>> NEWS 2020-09-10 1:50 PM >>>
>>> ACC-NOC ACC-NOC 09/10/20 13:50 >>>NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION TO INDIVIDUAL MAILBOXES APPROVED BY COMMISSIONER BRENDA LUCKI ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2020.DISTRIBUTION NATIONALE AUX BOÎTES INDIVIDUELLES APPROUVÉE PAR LA COMMISSAIRE BRENDA LUCKI LE 10 SEPTEMBRE 2020.(le français suit)

Straight Talk About Suicide

Once again, World Suicide Prevention Day is hitting far too close to home for the RCMP family as we grieve friends and colleagues lost needlessly to suicide. It is never easy to lose a member of the RCMP family, and even harder when current restrictions do not afford us the ability to come together as a community to celebrate their lives and support each other.

I know that, for some of you, how we talk about suicides in the hours and days following is frustrating. Some have told me they feel that the RCMP is avoiding or hiding the truth instead of openly identifying a sudden death as a suicide.

When an employee takes their own life, our first priority is the family. They are often struggling to come to terms with the tragedy they are experiencing. They need time to properly inform their extended families of the circumstances of the death – and that’s if they even choose to do so. We only release the personal details that the family wants to share.

But that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring it. Behind the scenes, our Warrant Officers are doing their best to inform troop mates and close colleagues before they read about it on social media. The appointed family liaison is ensuring that the loved-ones of the deceased are getting the support they need. That is our priority, and it will not change.

We all know that suicide needs to be talked about openly, but we don’t need to wait for tragedy to strike to talk about it. We should be doing so before -– not after — another person takes their own life.

But what does that look like?

If you see someone struggling, reach out, listen and get them help, or find someone else who can. Please don’t assume someone else will.

While sometimes there are no signs that a person is in emotional pain, often after a suicide there will be people who say:

“I kind of thought they were struggling, but it wasn’t my place . . .”

It’s ALL of our place to look out for one another. It’s an awkward conversation, you may make someone mad. So be it. You may also save their life.

We also all need to look after ourselves. I know, it sounds trite. But the fact is, if you are not getting proper sleep, abusing drugs/alcohol, engaging in behaviour that is putting your financial future in jeopardy and/or you are not seeking medical help for issues such as anxiety and depression – then you are putting yourself at risk. Please get help, and do so early – this is key to either recovering from, or living with, a mental illness/injury.

I know you have been advised numerous times of the programs and services available to you (http://infoweb.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/hr-rh/health-sante/ment/talk-parler-eng.htm). I also know that there are some of you who will never use them for fear that it will hurt your career. It saddens me to know that, and this message may not change your mind. Perhaps the words of someone who has been there will. The following is an excerpt from Staff Sergeant Major Kent MacNeill’s personal story:

It is an unfortunate reality that far too many members feel that being open about their issues, or simply seeking help, will damage both their career and their reputation. . . I can now say that seeking help was one of the best decisions I ever made, not just for me, but for my family, who beared witness to my struggles more than anyone.

I encourage you to read SSM MacNeill’s full story on the Infoweb, along with those of other colleagues who have faced challenges but sought support to change their life (http://infoweb.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/hr-rh/health-sante/ment/stories-recits/stories-recits-eng.htm). We will feature more in the coming months. If you have a story of hope to share, please send an email to the Workplace Well-being Directorate at mentalhealth-santementale@rcmp-grc.gc.ca and someone will reach out to you.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you don’t have to face it alone – there is always someone waiting to take your call; you just need to reach out. These services are offered in-person, by phone or online (http://infoweb.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/hr-rh/health-sante/ment/talk-parler-eng.htm). Please use them or other external services, and do not suffer in silence.

Over the coming weeks we will be talking more about this issue, until then, let’s continue to take care of one another.

Brenda Lucki
Commissioner

Suicide Prevention Resources


Commissioner Lucki

 


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