'Final frontier of stigma': Senator speaks up on World Suicide Prevention Day
Senator Denise Batters lost her husband, former MP Dave Batters, to suicide in 2009
Senator Denise Batters says people are still uncomfortable talking about suicide but it's getting better.
Her husband Dave Batters took his own life in 2009.
Dave was a member of parliament from 2004 to 2008. In fall 2008, he decided not to run again because of his mental health issues and he put out a press release explaining his situation.
"That was unheard of then," Denise Batters said. "That actually helped people. People that he knew, people that we didn't know from across the country."
Senator Batters said there were fewer conversations about mental health 10 years ago and she didn't know how important it was for her husband to get professional help.
"When the illness started, it was very quick," she said. "By the time Dave really started to get some serious help things were quite advanced for him."
'Final frontier of stigma'
Today there are many initiatives that aim to raise awareness about taking care of mental health, including Bell's 'Let's Talk' day and World Suicide Prevention Day, which is every Sept. 10.
But Batters said suicide is the "final frontier of stigma" when it comes to mental health and sometimes it's still not talked about enough.
"There is that link between mental illness and it could be the worst case scenario, suicide," she said. "It's not something that's unrelated and that's why people need to seek help early and reach out to people because for those of us that are left behind, we would do anything to get those people back in our lives."
For those of us that are left behind, we would do anything to get those people back in our lives.- Senator Denise Batters
As someone who has been through this with a loved one, she said her best advice is to take advantage of the help available and talk to the person you think may be suffering.
"Please don't be hesitant to reach out to them and ask them, are you suffering? Is this something you're thinking about?"
For those who are having a difficult time themselves, she wants you to know you're not alone.
"Please reach out. There is help for you and there is hope."
If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis, there is help out there.
For an emergency or crisis situation, call 911.
You can also contact the Saskatchewan suicide prevention line toll-free, 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566, the Regina Mobile Crisis Services suicide line at 306-525-5333 or Saskatoon mobile crisis line at 306-933-6200.
With files from Sam Maciag