I once again had the pleasure of taking pictures at The Royal’s Leaders For Mental Health breakfast on Tuesday morning. If you haven’t had the opportunity to become a part of The Royal Ottawa Hospital’s events, you are missing out. This breakfast, and their annual Inspiration Awards, celebrate individuals who have overcome challenges in their lives due to their mental health. After photographing these events for the past four years, they continue to be the bar that I hold all others to. I always leave ignited with the passion to make a difference…
It’s 7:30am. There are 600 people in the room. Six hundred people completely silent; listening as 15-year-old Sam Fisher talks about why he tried to kill himself. His father, Ian tells these 600 strangers about his own brother who successfully did just that at the age of 20 in the mid-70s, and his emotions, thoughts and actions the day he raced to save his son. Suicide is rarely talked about. In fact, Ian says, his parents referred to his brother’s suicide as “the accident” right up to their own deaths. People didn’t talk about suicide, depression or metal health back then. Most people still don’t today. By realizing that he had “done something stupid”, as he describe it, Sam decided to live and called his parents for help. They’ve been given a second chance. Some families are not so lucky. So now the Fishers’ talk about it.
I’m reminded inappropriately of a joke about mental health: Statistics show that 1 out of 5 people are crazy. Look at your four closest friends, if it’s not them, it’s probably you. Joking aside, chances are we all know someone who suffers from some form of mental illness. You may not even know it. If you see someone struggling – help. If you’re struggling, ask for help.
Silence kills. So speak out about mental health – loudly.