SURREY – An art exhibit of photographs from men who have experienced suicidal thoughts will be featured at a local funeral home.
The single-day event, on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at Valley View Funeral Home in Surrey, will mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
The exhibit, called Man-Up Against Suicide, also showcases photos from people who have lost a male peer, friend of family member to suicide.
A panel discussion on the subject of suicide is also planned, starting at 7 p.m. at the funeral home, 14660 72nd Ave., Surrey. Participants will include one of the exhibited artists and Jackie Yurick of the Fraser Health Crisis Line.
The event organizer is Marlyn Ferguson, who works at Valley View as a grief-support person and office administrator.
She viewed Man-Up Against Suicide when it was shown last spring at Foster Eastman Gallery in Vancouver.
"It’s all very moving, the images in the exhibit, and it’s so important to raise that awareness," Ferguson told the Now.
"You know, the timing is right, too, with the death of Robin Williams in the media. And suicide is on the increase, especially with men between age 18 and 25. The number of suicide deaths in that age group is really high."
The exhibit is an initiative of Movember Canada, UBC professor John Oliffe and the Men’s Depression Suicide Network.
According to a press statement, the exhibited pieces "reach out in a range of ways, some dark and despairing, some hopeful of a brighter future, some messaging those at risk. The collection of photographs and narratives challenge the stigma of men’s mental illness, highlight the tragedy of men’s silence and isolation and hold up the important connections and relationships that provide alternatives to taking one’s life."
Close to 500 people die by suicide in B.C. each year, according to the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC (also known as Crisis Centre, online at CrisisCentre.bc.ca). The organization operates a 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).
"We hope that with increased awareness and better capacity in the community to identify and help prevent suicide, we will see a significant decrease in the number of suicides each year in British Columbia," stated Kyle Tiney, Crisis Centre’s director of development and communications.
In addition to the event in Surrey, other events marking World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10 include BC Place being lit in yellow for two hours that evening, from 9 to 11 p.m. Also, the Crisis Centre will host a free suicideTalk Awareness Session (Suicidetalk. eventbrite.com), and a 30-minute webinar will be staged at Reasontolive. ca/30minutestosavealife.
Two or three times a year, Valley View hosts support groups for people who have lost someone to suicide. For details, visit Valleyviewsurrey.ca/AfterCare.