Not talking about suicide isn’t working.
It’s the reason Scott Chisholm started The Collateral Damage Project in 2009. He’s been taking portraits of those left behind by suicide on the hope of putting it altogether as a book next year. In the meantime, his photos have become a travelling gallery exhibition.
One of those photos was on display during a silent auction for the Canadian Alliance of Mental Health and Mental Illness in May when Chisholm won a Champion of Mental Health Award. MP Bruce Hyer (Ind., Thunder Bay-Superior North) saw one of the photos was of Thunder Bay’s Margaret Hajdinijak. He bought the photo and presented it to her Tuesday.
“It’s sort of interesting to see it come back full circle,” Hajdinjak said.
She was the first person photographed for the project. Hajdinjak lost her 26-year-old son to suicide in 2005. Since last year, she’s been organizing the Out of the Darkness Memorial Walk, which had more than 300 people participate in 2012. Hajdinjak said talking about suicide and depression needs to happen.
“When someone ends their life that way there’s guilt, there’s shame, there’s a lot of things that families go through,” she said.
Talking about it and knowing how to talk about it can prevent suicide in some cases Chisholm said.
“It’s kind of like CPR or first aid, what can I do if somebody is hurt. That’s the way we have to look at this,” he said.
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