YORKTON - World Suicide Prevention Day is held annually Sept. 10, in more than 50 countries around the world.
The day is a chance to promote greater understanding about suicide.
In Yorkton the process of better understanding was given a boost a couple of days early as the Yorkton Tribal Council hosted a Suicide Prevention Walk down Broadway Street.
At the end of the walk those taking part were provided lunch, and a number of speakers talked about their own journeys and the help that is available to those needing it.
Keynote speaker Tarrant Cross Child, of Saskatoon, said it is not an easy road to find a way to ask for help when you have thoughts of suicide, but you must take that step if you want to heal.
Cross Child said in 2014 he was sitting at his kitchen table when he faced the worst of it.
“I was three days sober. For me it was good – really good,” he said, adding for the previous 10-12 years “I drank – a lot.”
But on this day he was sober, but alone, his wife and four children away.
“There was a beer bottle on the table,” he said, adding he was fighting with himself not to open it.
“I was not wanting to open it,” said Cross Child.
But there was so much hurt inside.
“It was feeling like a deep dark pit (inside),” said Cross Child.
“I started thinking how did I get to this point?”
Looking at his life Cross Child said he was raised well, and had been a good father, coaching his daughter and doing other things a father does.
But, the drinking started, and he stopped being a good father. He wasn’t at parent – teacher interviews. His 10-year-old daughter would lay in front of the door begging him to stay home, but he’d just move her and go out and drink again.
Then the gambling followed.
“The more I drank the more I gambled. The more I gambled the more I drank,” said Cross Child.
By the time he lost the battle to open that beer, and the others that followed that day, Cross Child said he came to a conclusion the only way to help “my wife and kids was to take myself out of the picture.”
He said at this point “I felt absolutely helpless.”
Cross Child began to write his letters of good byes, begging his sons to not grow up to be like he was, for his daughter not to marry a man like he had become; that life for his wife would get better because he would be gone.
The letters written Cross Child went to his garage and found a rope, trying to hang himself.
“I failed three times,” he said.
Eventually, Cross Child said he “woke up in the hospital,” adding his first emotion was anger. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this . . . I wasn’t supposed to wake up.”
It was in the hospital though that the course changed for Cross Child.
“I realized I needed help,” he said. “I just knew deep down inside my gut of hopelessness I needed help.”
Four days later Cross Child was on his way to a year-long treatment centre.
“I was scared at first . . . But, I knew I needed to do something different,” he said, adding it worked. “Pretty soon from the deep dark pit I could look up and see the light.”
A year later Cross Child was out, and restarting his life, renewing vows with his wife, finding a way to save his home from foreclosure, and restarting his flooring business with about $200.
Cross Child also took up marathon running, something he said became something of a personal symbol of renewal for him. He said he recalls crossing the finish line of his first race, and realizing for him it was “a brand new start to a brand new life.”
Now Cross Child works to help others, adding he knows what people face when the helplessness overwhelms them because he has faced it.
“Maybe I can go out there and help,” he said.
Today he travels extensively giving talks to help people take the step to ask for help.
“It’s so humbling as I stand here sharing my story,” said Cross Child, adding the key message is “. . . no matter what you’re facing, all things are possible.”