Dear editor: A small group of us showed up on Suicide Prevention Awareness Day in Fort McPherson Sept. 29.

Fort McPherson resident Jim Martin reflects on a recent suicide prevention walk and gives a message of hope to those struggling.
photo courtesy of Jim Martin

We started walking from John Tetlichi Building, then through Gwich’in, Tetlichi, Andrew Kunnizzi and William Vittrekwa Street. It was a long walk that we never gave up on. We gathered at the community wellness office to remember all those who committed suicide in the past. It was not easy.

I felt discouraged that I was the only man who participated in this important event. Even a little boy joined in. I have to tell all you men out there that I came close to suicide over 21 years ago. At that time I was going through the worst time of my life. I have to tell you the truth – faith kept me strong. Without it, I wouldn’t have survived. And you might want to understand that sometimes could be short-lived because the demons can come back much stronger than the first one.

My last suicide attempt almost happened in 2001. I was lucky two RCMP officers came to my rescue. I thank both of them for that to this day. I thought I was alone and found out that I am not alone. If you have suicidal thoughts, I encourage you to get help before it’s too late. And whatever you do, don’t do it. There is hope. Suicide is not the answer. Don’t hold onto resentments because it doesn’t pay. Hate and resentment is like drinking poison wishing to do the other person away. All that happens at the end of the day is that you are the only one who is hurting, not the other person.

I went through difficult times and know how it feels through tough times. It’s time to start treating poor people like human beings. I also learned through professional help that the feelings you have are just feelings. They are not you and they are not facts. I also learned that firewater is not a solution to fix deep emotional pains. It is known to be slow suicide. I had to mention that because it was not easy for me to lose two brothers.

I came a long way and must tell you that I am no angel, rabbi or perfectionist to tell anybody what to do or how to live. But I borrow from religion and psychology on the necessary basis. Speaking of success, there will be days, nights, moments when you feel like giving up, but it’s through these times that you are defined. Do not fear failure. Every failed attempt you survive brings you that much closer to success. It’s because you dare to fail that you will succeed.

They say faith without work is dead. It’s true. I’ve learned God could and would if he were sought. I find that power in every channel available to me. There is no better teacher than the holy spirit. And there is no better text than the word of God. May you find him now.


Jim Martin

Fort McPherson

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