There is always hope

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December 22, 2015 8:42 AM

The holiday season is in full swing and, sadly,  for some it brings more grief and pain than joy.
People who’ve recently lost loved ones have a hard time finding their cheer, and those who have lost someone in the past have their sadness driven home again, as it’s a time most often a time spent with family.
Shirley Scott, the facilitator for the Walking Through Grief Society in Kitscoty, said she finds her work increases each year in the month of December.
“I have been very busy and some of them aren’t just recent losses,” she said.
“It’s just that the whole Christmas jolly, happy family thing kind of hits them this time of year.”
Scott said losses that happen close to Christmas can cause friends and families to be numb over the holidays and the grief they feel is actually worse the second Christmas spent without that person.
According to recent media reports, the suicide rate in Alberta has also climbed 30 per cent in the first half of 2015.
Scott said the rate in Alberta has always been the highest in the country and that she has encountered three or four cases in the last two months alone.
“Yeah, I would say the rate is high and people are now starting to reach out more,” she said.
“We’ve been working so hard to get rid of the stigma and shame around suicide and we’re finding more people are contacting me with regards to their losses.”
The best thing a person can do if they’re thinking about self-harm, said Scott, is talk a person they feel safe around.
The trauma people experience may lead to taking their own life.
Or it can, from losing someone to suicide, often be sorted if they can discuss it with someone who may help them find solutions.
Other people who can help include councillors, support people like Scott, physicians or just friends and family they trust.
“Because often our worst forebodings in our head are never as bad if we can lay it out on a table and discuss them with someone and find solutions,” Scott said.
The Walking Through Grief Society helps by offering one-on-one support to those experiencing sadness because of lost loved ones.
They also have support groups as well, where people can get together with others who can sympathize with similar types of personal tragedy.
Scott doesn’t have any formal education and isn’t considered a councillor but her firsthand experience with loss makes her good at listening and offering advice.
She started the society in 1991 after almost a decade of coping with her daughters untimely death in a drunk driving accident.
When she was coping with that loss there weren’t many support groups out there and she determined that no one should have to walk through grief alone.
She stressed again that people who are going through difficult times find a trusted person to talk to, to recognize and validate the emotions they’re feeling.
“Not dealing with (the emotions) will only lead to physical illness and depression and we want people to grow to be healthy and heal,” she said.
“That would be my advice: to reach out, talk to someone, find supports and to walk through their journey with supports for sure.”
Those interested in contacting the Walking Through Grief Society can call 780-853-1818.

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