Every story I hear about someone losing their child to suicide is shattering — it is just an endless journey.
is the second leading cause of death amongst our youth,” she emphasizes.
This tragic cause of death is put into perspective by Stephanie. “Each year, the equivalent of three full school buses of children die of suicide in Canada, and many of them show no signs or symptoms beforehand, like Daron. We have the ability to help those kids,” urges Stephanie. “Can you imagine if we said wH’rH nRW gRLng WR fix WKH RII-rDPS, wH’rH MusW going to let three bus loads of kids fall off and die without doing anything about it?” she asks. “It just wouldn’t happen.”
Stephanie is humbled by the community response to DIFD, but she is particularly impressed by the kids who are leading the charge against teen suicide. “The youth in this city are fearless. We have a generation of kids who have become advocates,” she notes. “The kids bought in to this issue and they drove it, which is why I think it’s been successful.”
While DIFD is raising awareness and making a tangible difference, the emotional scars will never fully heal for the Richardson family. They will never have Daron back, and they will never understand why it happened.
“With suicide, there is no legacy,” explains Stephanie. “It is so complicated, so emotional, so full of ‘if only’ and regrets,” she says. “Every story I hear about someone losing their child to suicide is shattering – it is just an endless journey.”
Despite the fact that the Richardsons never planned to be on this terrible journey, they intend to stick with it until youth get the help and support that they need. In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children requiring mental health services currently receives them. “We have a lot of work to do as a society,” says Stephanie.
Echoing her friend, Kris McGinn offers her thoughts on the journey forward. “I would like to see schools discussing mental health with younger children as part of the health curriculum,” she concludes. “I would like to see the day when we are all willing to talk openly about mental illness without stigma, guilt or shame.”
Perhaps that will be Daron Richardson’s legacy after all.