By Laurie Cook
[Note: Laurie Cook wrote the following open letter after learning of the tragic story of 20-year-old Anthony Nauss’s suicide. Last November, Nauss had gone to the emergency room at the Halifax infirmary because he was feeling suicidal, with a history of previous suicide attempts. He was told to go home and make an appointment with the provincial health services. There were no appointments available until January, and a week later, Nauss killed himself.]
There is no excuse for this to happen.
Something needs to be done. I know you are a great champion for people with physical disabilities, I would hope you would also make yourself one for people with all sorts of challenges.
This is not ok. On so many levels. This was someone’s child. A human being.
I have spoken to you many times about the need for increased resources and care for people with mental health challenges. I know other people have spoken to you as well.
In frustration, and extreme sadness, I’m asking you to make this your own cause - not just for the Eastern Shore, but for all of Nova Scotia.
People are dying. This past fall, one of them was almost me. Others - young people, from the Eastern Shore and else where in Nova Scotia - have also died.
More needs to be done, and it needs to be done now - before we lose any other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters…
You get the idea.
I want to know what you and the government are going to do about this. I want a detailed plan, and I want it now.
It can be done. Jacinda Ardern just did it with gun violence in New Zealand. Within 10 days she said. Ten days, and she took decisive action.
There is no reason governments can’t act - and with speed, to save lives
Do something. There are #NoExcuses for no action.
For everyone else out there, chances are you know someone in your life dealing with mental illness who could also be on the edge, in desperate need of help.
I ask you - all of you - to write to your MLA and the Premier - and demand the same kind of action, and the same #NoExcuses.
[Laurie Cook is cofounder of Eastern Shore Mental Health, a grassroots peer support group. She lives with her own mental health challenges.]