Mother urges people to talk about suicide

Posted on August 26, 2011 in Articles

Jeanna Dawson didn’t want to talk about it at first.

Now she won’t stop.

Dawson urges everyone to talk openly about suicide, knowing all too painfully it’s a huge, but hidden, problem in the region. Suicide can affect anyone, any family — just like her own.

Her daughter Mariah Simcoe-Dawson was 15 when she died by suicide early this year.

“This is a secret. Nobody talks about it,” the Kitchener woman said. “I was embarrassed, ashamed that this happened to my family, my daughter.”

Dawson started Mariah’s Mission in her daughter’s memory, raising money for the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council to help with the non-profit, voluntary agency’s efforts to reduce suicidal behaviour through public awareness, education and advocacy.

“This is my way of keeping my baby’s name going. This is her legacy,” Dawson said.

She has already raised about $3,000 by selling yellow ribbons, bracelets and car magnets. On Saturday, there will be a fundraising celebration of Mariah’s 16th birthday.

Featuring food, raffles, dancing and games, the event is being held at the Moose Lodge in Kitchener from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets are $15 at the door.

Money collected is earmarked for posters for local high schools and a collection of inspirational stories from people who have struggled with suicidal thoughts, but survived. Dawson would like to see more school education about suicide and at a younger age, to reach children at risk such as her daughter.

Not talking doesn’t mean the problem isn’t there.

“You always think that this will never happen,” Dawson said. “It happens, so I’d really like people to not be blind. It can happen to anybody.”

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La Frontera Arizona