Stories of Courage

February 13, 2019

People young and old reach out to the Canada Suicide Prevention Service. No two people are the same. No two stories are the same. And yet, what unites them is the courage to reach out, the desire to connect, and the will to find help.

Here are three typical stories of people who chose to reach out. The details have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the caller,

Story 1: Teen

Lately all I feel is disconnected.  Nothing I do seems good enough, everyone around me seems better at everything in a way I will never be able to match.  My grades aren’t great, and I am disappointing my family.  I know they love me, but I feel so empty and alone.  When I think about the future, I feel overwhelmed.  If I am really honest with you, the thought of suicide has started crossing my mind and it scares me.  I don’t know what to do and no one knows how I am feeling. 

… It sounds crazy but after sharing all this, I can’t believe how much better I am already feeling.  I am remembering who I do feel connected to in my family and I’m going to reach out to my Aunt tomorrow and see if we can go for coffee.

Story 2: Senior

Please be patient with me, I’m having a hard time talking.  Today everything just felt like too much and I can’t stop crying.  I can’t cope with feeling so alone anymore.  My wife died in a car accident a couple years ago and my health hasn’t been good.  I’ve had two strokes in the past year, and I don’t get out of the house much.  I don’t feel like eating and barely sleep.  I haven’t told my kids about this because they have enough to deal with, they don’t need me adding to their burdens.  Today I went through a box of my wife’s things and found a couple bottles of her medications and I thought about taking them all at once.

It feels like such a relief to say this all out loud.  I love my kids very much, I’ll call my daughter and I know she’ll come over right away.  Will you call me back later this afternoon to make sure I’m ok?

[Later that afternoon]:  I feel so much better than this morning.  My daughter spent the afternoon with me, and we ate some soup.  She called and set up an appointment with the doctor tomorrow and we will go together.  Tonight my grandson is coming by, he will be here shortly.  Thank you so much for checking in on me.

Story 3: Emergency Situation

My depression has been really bad lately.  I’ve had depression for the last couple years, but I could handle my classes ok.  Lately, I haven’t been sleeping well and I end up missing classes.  I’m falling behind and last week I took a test that I found out today I failed.  I feel so stressed and isolated from my family and friends.  I don’t know quite how I ended up here as I’m so exhausted but I’m sitting outside by a river and I have a couple bottles of pills with me.  What would happen if I took them?  I know I need help; will you stay with me until help arrives?

What do these stories have in common?  Each individual had the courage to turn towards life, towards help.  They found the strength to voice what had never been said out loud before, to talk about what had only been inside their head.  The desire to live is very strong and that spark of hope hidden under all that pain, that spark of hope motivated these people to reach out.

So how can you help others or even yourself?  Dr. Thomas Joiner introduced the Interpersonal Model of Suicide over a decade ago.  This theory suggests that there are two main feelings that lead someone to thinking about suicide:  They believe they are a burden to others, and they feel like they don’t belong. 

The amazing thing about this theory is that you only have to change one element of it to reduce the strength of those suicide thoughts.  If we are able to build a connection with people, to let them know that they matter, we can strengthen their life connections.  This is something everyone, everywhere can do.  Show empathy to those around you and strengthen your social connections.  As human beings we thrive when we are connected and feel valued.

If you, or someone you know is concerned about suicide, reach out now on 1-833-456-4566, or text 45645 between 4pm and midnight ET daily.

If you, or someone you know is concerned about suicide, reach out now on 1-833-456-4566, or text 45645 between 4pm and midnight ET daily.

For residents of Quebec, call 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277 3553)

If you would like to inquire about becoming a Crisis Services Canada Member, contact us at, or call our new national office at 437-317-4488 and press 1 for information.

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