‘Getting Grounded’

Last Thursday night, Starlight Lounge in Uptown Waterloo hosted ‘Get Grounded’, a charitable musical event featuring performances by Amanda Kaye, Rob Szabo, Lyndon John X and Jason Moir. All proceeds went towards the Grand River branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Get Grounded saw its inception a couple years ago and was inspired by the tragic loss of Amanda Kaye’s brother Dan, who took his own life. In a podcast for the event, Kaye highlighted this motivation:

“Get Grounded was born out of a desire to celebrate Dan’s life, and to celebrate my family,” said Kaye. “A mutual love for music is what inspired the content for this event. Dan was a brilliant musician.”

Starlight’s usual dance floor was filled with tables and seating for the event, allowing attendees the opportunity to enjoy the night’s performances in a more relaxed, intimate fashion.

Away from the stage, a bulletin board was signed with words of encouragement for those affected by suicide all gravitating around the message “Help Prevent Suicide in the Waterloo Region.”

Also in attendance was Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht. In 2009, Albrecht championed Bill M-388, which was designed to clarify the criminal code to bring it up to date with modern social technologies — especially concerning suicide. Continuing this effort, Albrecht now seeks to pass Bill C-300.

“The primary objectives are to provide up to date statistics collating the best practices of various jurisdictions, and to provide those resources in a central location,” explained Albrecht, “I think it’s a no-brainer and there’s a good level of support across the various arms of government, so I’m pretty optimistic.”

Allan Strong — team lead for Skills For Safer Living (SFSL) — was also present. SFSL is a support group designed to assist those experiencing recurring suicide attempts. SFSL has support groups scheduled for Kitchener, Guelph, and Cambridge in the coming year.

When asked if suicide is stigmatized in the community, Kaye agreed. But she believes that this only makes it more important to discuss the issue.

“The big thing is: let’s keep the conversation going. Let’s not be shy of it, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable at first,” said Kaye. “As with anything in life the more you try something the easier it becomes. Let’s talk; let’s discuss; let’s give people the help they deserve.”

There is a multitude of resources available to anyone needing to talk about depression and suicide in the Waterloo Region.

Anyone experiencing depression or entertaining thoughts of suicide is encouraged to use them.

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