The Nova Scotia Collateral Damage Project exhibit opens tomorrow, Tuesday March 22 at 10:30am, in the Student Commons area of the Pictou County Community College in Stellarton. The show will run until March 29th.
Left Behind by Suicide
Scott Chisholm was just 16 when his dad took his own life. The 44-year-old Thunder Bay man remembers it like yesterday. “My brother and I were shooting some baskets at the school gym when the teacher came in with a really serious look on his face,” Chisholm recalls. “Right away, I thought, we’ve been caught. I didn’t know what we’d done, but we were boys. We were always up to something.” Instead of discipline for a teenage prank, Chisholm and his brother got news that would change their lives forever. Their father, Robert, had shot himself. Committed suicide. Or died by suicide as Chisholm likes to differentiate. “Commit makes it sound like a crime,” he says. “Suicide isn’t a crime. The stigma around it is.”
That’s why Chisholm is embarking upon a photographic journey to tell his story and the stories of others whose lives have been affected by suicide. To challenge the stigma that casts such a long shadow.
Collateral Damage: Images of Those Left Behind By Suicide will be a book of photographs of people whose loved ones have taken their own lives. Chisholm, a Thunder Bay firefighter and photographer, takes the pictures himself. “The idea of putting a face to those left behind by suicide has been with me for more than 10 years,” he says. “I passionately believe stepping out of the dark to talk about this taboo subject will help others facing a similar life-altering experience today.”
Olympic champion swimmer Alex Baumann has agreed to participate in the project. His older brother Roman jumped over Niagara Falls when Baumann was 16. “I have personally been affected by suicide and I believe that a collection of images of survivors will not only create a path of healing but will also help with the social stigmas that continue to plague the issues of suicide,” Baumann says.
The Canadian Mental Health Association also supports Collateral Damage: Images of Those Left Behind by Suicide. “The stigma that survivors of suicide face daily is everywhere, and leaves them alone to deal with their loss. We are pleased to host the Collateral Damage Photographic Exhibit that will be travelling to communities across the province of Nova Scotia. We believe that this exhibit will help to put a face to those left behind by suicide, and begin to break down the stigma that survivors of suicide face”, says Angela Davis, Coordinator, Communities Addressing Suicide Together at the Canadian Mental Health Association NS Division.
Most of the photos in the exhibit are Nova Scotians who Scott photographed in March 2010 while travelling around the province. The exhibit was initially presented at the National Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention Conference in Dartmouth in October 2010, and has been booked to continue on to communities in Pictou County, Colchester County, the Annapolis Valley and Halifax Regional Municipality.
The first Nova Scotia exhibit opens tomorrow, Tuesday March 22 at 10:30am, in the Student Commons area of the Pictou County Community College in Stellarton. The show will run until March 29th.
For more information or to inquire about hosting the Collateral Damage Exhibit, please contact:
Coordinator, Communities Addressing Suicide Together
Canadian Mental Health Association – NS Division
Click on images to enlarge.
I am one of the counsellors at the Pictou Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College. We have been hosting your project over the last week and have been honored to do so. I think you have done a terrific job of capturing and communicating the impact of suicide on those left behind. I love the diversity of the stories, each one showing a slightly different angle. I also wanted to let you know that your project is making a difference. I have witnessed and participated in several conversations about suicide as a direct result of your project being displayed on our campus. So, thank you from all of us at NSCC – Pictou Campus. Your courage and project are making a difference.