Nfld. & Labrador

Rally for better mental health services held in St. John's

A group of people who lost friends and family to suicide held a rally in St. John's on Saturday to promote better awareness — and better services — to tackle the issue.
Darlene Parrott-Manning says she lost a brother and an uncle to suicide, and more needs to be done to address what she calls a mental health crisis in the province. (CBC)

A group of people who lost friends and family to suicide held a rally in St. John's on Saturday to promote better awareness — and better services — to tackle the issue.

Darlene Parrott-Manning says she lost her brother to suicide last year and her uncle, years earlier.

She said her family has suffered and it's time more was done to help people who are suffering.

"People should be getting help. My brother, I don't feel, got the proper help," she said.
The rally in St. John's featured a drive from the city's centre to Topsail Beach, with funds raised going toward a community-run mental health crisis centre. (CBC)

"He was crying out three weeks before and yes, he was probably seeing doctors and I don't know the whole story, but he's not here today."

To help promote better awareness, Parrott-Manning helped organize Saturday's event.

The group drove from the centre of St. John's to Topsail Beach, one of her brother's favourite places.

According to Parrott-Manning, the number of suicides in the province has reached a tipping point.

"Usually you don't even hear of one because they try and keep it out of the media, but to me that's a crisis — it shouldn't be happening."
The group says community-run mental health services can offer more programs that government facilities like the Waterford Hospital in St. John's. (CBC)

Money raised at the event will go towards funding a community-run health crisis centre in St. John's.

Glenn Roil, with the Community Coalition for Mental Health (CC4MH), said traditional, government-funded health facilities like the Waterford Hospital are failing to provide all the services people need.

"There's certain services and programming that the community can deliver that government agencies and departments don't really truly comprehend," he said.

The new mental health crisis centre is a project of Richard's Legacy Foundation for Survivors of Suicide Loss and is expected to open in the fall.

With files from Mark Quinn