Social workers at Brockville General Hospital are concerned with the number of suicides in South Eastern Ontario.
Numbers provided by the hospital indicate that during the years of 2012 to 2014, there 641 suicides in the area that encompasses Bancroft to Cornwall, Kingston to Ottawa and all areas in between which are often rural.
“Part of the problem with depression and suicide, isolation increases the risk factor. Isolation can be kind of two-fold,” Charles Massey, a Social worker with Brockville General Hospital said.
Social workers and health professionals at the Brockville General Hospital are hoping to reach out to the large rural population in Leeds-Grenville to let them know the kinds of services and help available in their own community.
People in these areas may not have the same support system as those in urban areas, where researchers suggest, mental illness may be seen as a weakness.
“There’s a stigma about mental illness, and an even bigger stigma about suicide,” Massey said. “So I think it’s sometimes hard to ask for help when you really need it the most.”
The ongoing stigma surrounding mental health is something social workers with another Brockville mental health agency have also seen.
“Identifying ‘this is how I’m feeling’ is the first step to the solution,” Ted Trainor of Lanark, Leeds-Grenville Addictions, and Mental Health Services said. “We want people to come in, that’s what we’re here for.”