by Stephen Dafoe
In 2015, the death of a close friend by suicide deeply impacted Morinville resident Zoe Majeau. She has been an advocate for suicide prevention ever since, and on Sept. 7, she is organizing a fundraising event for Huddle Up for Suicide Prevention Edmonton at the Pint on Whyte.
Four years ago, while struggling with the aftermath of her friend’s death, another friend reached out to help. Majeau was invited to a Calgary event to help those dealing with the aftermath of suicide.
“After attending the event and speaking with those participating, I quickly learned I was not alone in my struggles, and so many others had the same difficulties in dealing with suicide,” Majeau said. “Every year after that, I participated in Calgary’s event and watched it grow.
When Majeau moved back to Morinville in 2017, she decided to take action on the lack of resources and funding around the topic of suicide.
“Suicide seemed to be an off-limit word where everyone felt nervous to discuss. Speaking from experience, I wanted to change that, to open the conversation, and to help others heal,” Majeau said. “In 2018, I set the goal of selling 50 tickets and surpassed that in selling 120 tickets and raising over $8000 in our inaugural event. Since that time, Huddle Up for Suicide Prevention has grown immensely, setting new, provincial and federal goals.”
The Sept. 7 event starts with a tailgate party at the Pint on Whyte at 1 p.m. Participants will then be loaded onto a bus for the Edmonton Eskimos Vs. Calgary Stampeders game where they will watch in the Coors Fan Section. After the game, participants will return to the Pint where celebrations will continue.
Tickets are $50 for the tailgate and game, $20 for the tailgate only, and $40 for the game alone.
Majeau said proceeds from the Edmonton 2019 Huddle Up event would go to Canadian Mental Health Associations, specifically the Edmonton Suicide Bereavement group.
“Proceeds will also go towards Huddle Up’s provincial and federal goals of making Albertans and Canadians more aware of the rising numbers of suicide and how a prevention plan can help decrease these numbers significantly,” Majeau explained.
The Morinville woman believes it is essential for people to talk openly about mental health, and sees Huddle Up as an opportunity to do just that.
“Huddle Up started a community movement to make suicide safe to talk about,” she said. “We know that friends, family, and community form our strongest networks; if those closest to us knew how to talk about it, listen to each other, and notice signs of struggle, the risk of succumbing would decrease. Mental Health is a hot topic in the world right now, but we want to delve deeper into the word suicide to break through the fear of the word.
“There is a widespread stigma that if we speak about suicide, we plant the action in someone’s head. This myth is actually the reverse. Speaking about suicide allows people to get help, rethink their opinions and share their stories.”
Majeau said the Sept. 7 event is about more than just raising money.
“It’s creating a community of safe spaces and open conversations. Its discussing topics with people who you can trust and find comfort in the same struggle,” she said. “With one in five Canadians facing personal mental health struggles this year, you are not alone, and we hope to bring light to your darkness.”
For more information on Huddle Up for Suicide Prevention Edmonton, visit huddleupfsp.com. To purchase tickets for their Sept. 7 event, visit generoussolutions.com/e/huddle-up-for-suicide-prevention-edmonton-185. The Huddle Up event is an 18+ event.