A pack of people sporting yellow ribbons walked through downtown New Glasgow today in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day.
Brenda-Martin Hurlburt hopes talking about her brother’s death by suicide will help lift stigma and prevent further loss.
Hurlburt was the guest speaker at a walk in New Glasgow Tuesday as part of World Suicide Prevention Day.
Approximately 40 people came to Carmichael Park at noon to hear the local services available and stroll through downtown, sporting yellow ribbons in honour of those who have died by suicide.
“The difficulty with his death was people were so rude,” says Hurlburt.
Many people were quite blunt and insensitive when asking her and her mother about her brother, Jim Snowden.
“I remember people would say things to me like, ‘Is your brother the guy who killed himself?’ Hurlburt said in her speech, adding that they also asked for specifics of how as well as called him a coward and selfish.
Hurlburt didn’t have time to grieve over her loss of Snowden like she did for her other siblings. She has lost all five of her siblings and says the recovery is very different when you lose someone to cancer versus suicide.
“People were saddened to hear that cancer took out two young women, but my brother was 30 when the weight of his world was too much to bear, but no one was saddened to hear that.”
Snowden died Jan. 12, 1993. He had a wife and three-year-old son. Hurlbert says from the outside, he appeared to have a good life.
It took her 15 years, but Hurlburt started to heal. She became involved with Communities Addressing Suicide Together and took their Survivors Voices training.
She is now able to travel from southern Nova Scotia to speak about her experience for similar events.
“After that, I made it my mission to not let people remember him for only how he died. I want people to remember he was a loving, caring person.”
She wants to get the message out that there is hope and people can get help.
Resources were available at the walk for those having thoughts of suicide, friends and family to someone suffering from mental illness and people that have lost someone to suicide.
Anyone that is experiencing a mental health crisis can call the N.S. Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-429-8167.
If you’ve lost someone to suicide, you can contact CAST for a Survivors of Suicide Loss Package at 1-902-466-6600.