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Help is out there

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 06:00 am

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Twenty-six year old Louise Veillard was reported missing earlier in May. She finished work one day in Edmonton and was not seen again. She’d been described by friends as having lived with depression.

While “Lou,” as she was known, was not a resident of St. Albert, she was known in this city’s arts community.

On Thursday, May 29 her remains were discovered in the North Saskatchewan River. Edmonton Police Service stated several times they don’t suspect foul play, and had the missing persons unit investigating the case. Once her remains were found no other information was released. She took her own life.

Suicide is a taboo subject, especially in the media where many reporters and editors are taught not to discuss it despite the fact that suicide is the number one non-disease related cause of death of Albertans. Alberta has the highest suicide rate in the country. Hiding this issue does no one any good, and in fact causes harm because a stigma is attached to it. Suicide should be discussed openly and at every opportunity.

According to the provincial government, interviews with those who’ve attempted suicide revealed that these people felt they had no one to talk to. People living with depression or going through a critical time in life have resources available to them in this and surrounding communities.

The St. Albert FCSS office says that there are several emergency resources available 24 hours per day, seven days per week:

• 911 for an imminent danger

• Alberta Health Services Children’s Mental Health Crisis Line at 780-427-4491

• Edmonton Area (including St. Albert) Crisis and Stabilization Team (18+) at 780-342-7777

• Crisis Support Centre Distress Line (The Support Network) at 780-482-HELP (4357)

• Crisis Suicide Line at 1-800-232-7288

• Kids Help Phone (5-20 years) at 1-800-668-6868 and

• Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton at 780-423-4121

There are also several counselling supports for non-emergency situations that can range from your family doctor to your priest or pastor. Other close-by resources include:

• St. Albert Family & School Liaison Program at 780-459-1699 or 780-459-1749

• Alberta Health Services, St. Albert Addictions Office at 780-460-4971

• Alberta Health Services, St. Albert Mental Health Office at 780-342-1410

• St. Albert Stop Abuse in Families Society at 780-460-2195 and

• Seniors Abuse Help Line at 780-454-8888

Many employers may also offer counselling as part of their health plans, and staff may not even be aware of it.

In the hustle and bustle of life, signs of trouble can be missed. Too, those living with depression or those passing through troubled waters in life, including divorce, bankruptcy, the death of a family member or the loss of a job, can reach out to friends and family.

That’s the time to listen, without judgment. People who reach out to the community need a sympathetic ear because they are facing an issue of life-and-death proportions.


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