On June 18, 2015, in partnership with St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton Ontario we unveiled the ‘Miss You Most’ exhibit as part of the Collateral Damage Project. This exhibit and collaboration is part of our mandate to share the Collateral Damage Project images and stories in every Province and Territory across Canada.
“At St. Joe’s, we want to start a conversation that will increase awareness of suicide prevention and break down barriers to important resources that can save a life.“The ‘Miss You Most’ exhibit can be viewed at the West 5th Campus of St. Joseph’s Healthcare (100 West 5th Street, Hamilton) during visiting hours 9am-9pm. Monday – Friday. There is a guest book that people are encouraged to sign and add their comments. To view a virtual copy of the exhibit please click here.
This exhibit was made possible with generous funding by St. Joseph’s Healthcare. The driving force in making this a reality was Dr. Jennifer Brasch who, after viewing our interim exhibit in Dartmouth Nova Scotia in 2010, made it her mission to bring a Collateral Damage Project exhibit to Hamilton. I would like to personally thank and give my gratitude to Dr. Brasch and St. Joseph’s Healthcare for believing in my work and believing in the power of breaking stigma through sharing our stories of loss to suicide. Above all, I would like to thank everyone who courageously shared their story with me that is included in the ‘Miss You Most’ exhibit.
Nicole O’Reilly is a journalist at the Hamilton Spectator and shares her story of losing her father to suicide in the exhibit as well as in this article; “Miss You Most: Shattering the stigma of suicide.” CHCH Television in Hamilton covered the opening of the exhibit.
The people who came forward to share their stories all did so with their own purpose and with shared hope to help others. Others who have lost loved ones and friends to suicide. Others who are having thoughts of suicide and don’t know where to turn. Others who feel lost in the isolation of stigma, hopelessness. Others who feel alone. It is our collective voice, our collective stories that want to let you know that you are not alone and that you can talk about it.
It was an honour to have Hamilton Chiefs of Police, Fire and EMS join us in sharing their stories for the exhibit. Police Chief Glenn De Caire joined us as a keynote speaker for the opening and here are his words.
Miss You Most Exhibit Opener
June 18, 2015 @ 1100 Hours
St. Joseph’s West 5th Campus
by Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire
Thank you for the opportunity to join in such an important project related to suicide, stigma reduction and encouraging people to get help.
In March we met with, and I want to thank, Dr. Jennifer Brasch for reaching out to the Hamilton Police Service and inviting us to participate. I think it took all of about 30 seconds for us to agree to participate.
I want to congratulate Scott Chisholm for advancing this effort and for the outstanding manner in which he has captured the images that convey such powerful messages of those left behind.
I do want to thank our officers for volunteering to participate. Chris Elliott, John Ross, Marcine Blake, Lyndsey Scott, Andrew Toms, Fab Guiliani and Maggie Schoen.
Each of our officers that are depicted in the photos have been personally impacted by suicide, more specifically, by the suicide of a police officer. We stand together in the memory of those that are gone and we stand together in our support and prevention efforts…… for others.
I want to recognize Fire Chief Rob Simonds and Paramedic Chief Mike Sanderson and it is our hope that by sharing our photo that we send a very strong message of support to our emergency first responders, not only in Hamilton, but across this country. Thank you Chiefs for your participation.
Everyone stands united in our commitment to eliminate the stigma around mental health and encourage anyone and everyone to reach out and get help. Easily said……but difficult to do.
We need to break down the barriers that make reaching out difficult.
Privacy…. will be respected.
Services… will be provided.
Support… will be available.
Jobs ………. will be secure.
Futures…. will be bright… and
Recovery… will be possible.
I have been encouraging our members to engage in ‘Courageous Conversations’. I read a ‘Courageous Conversation’ yesterday. I read the article published yesterday in relation to today’s kickoff and the moving article of Nicole O’Reilly. Nicole has shared her most private of thoughts and that takes courage. It is that very courage the calls us to action. It is the ‘Trumpet of the Swan’ that we hear today that beacons us to speak out more. It is the ‘Trumpet of the Swan’ that calls us together… today… to stand as one and to encourage others to seek help.
We are here today…. for Kevin, For Ian, For Daryl…..and for Shelley.
In the Hamilton Police Service we are taking many positive steps to support our members and also our community. All 1200 members have been trained this year in SAFE Talk – Suicide Alertness. We will expand our program in September with the Road to Mental Readiness Resiliency program. We are working to give our members tools to support the desire to live and the desire to live…..in mental wellness.
That is our Trumpet.
It is loud. It is strong. It is unending.
As a community, we need to remain committed. We need to Stand Up, Speak Out and Reach Out.
Glenn De Caire
Chief of Police
Hamilton Police Service
I want to thank everyone for your courageous conversations and the proactive dialogue that is smashing the stigma on suicide. Please share this blog post with your friends and family. Be part of the dialogue on suicide, be part of healing and be a part of smashing stigma.
Not talking about it isn’t working,
Founder of the Collateral Damage Project