Saskatchewan families reflect on loved ones who died by suicide
REGINA -- Many families who lost loved ones to suicide had an opportunity to grieve on Thursday after visiting the Walking with Our Angels site.
Among the family members was Ashley Denomie, who lost her two brothers a decade ago.
“It’s about more awareness,” she said. “There are so many pictures, and there’s more than just what is there.”
The visits come after weeks of peaceful protest by Tristen Durocher and supporters.
They had set up a tipi on July 31 after walking from La Ronge. Durocher has been demanding better action on suicide prevention.
“This is about ceremony and this is about opportunities for healing and opportunities for voice for families who may have felt that stigma of a suicide completion, and that they couldn't speak to their grief because somebody chose to end their life,” said Erica Beaudin, the executive director with Regina Treaty Status Indians (RTSIS).
Denomie said having this ceremony gave her a chance to grieve.
“It’s somewhere nice to go with my kids,” she said. “It’s summer healing within the city.”
RTSIS staff, along with family members, are expected to place an additional 54 photographs of loved ones who died by suicide.
Beaudin said mental health services are needed to help prevent suicides.
“It’s not only mental health services, but also cultural support,” she said. “It’s recognition of our languages and it’s recognition of the land. It's a reclamation of who we are. And when that happens, by default, there will be less suicide completions,” she said.
Beaudin said she supports a legislated suicide prevention strategy.
She said services need funding to be successful, and that investments now could save dollars in the future.
“We feel that this investment is actually providing opportunity for less costs by government later on,” she said.