FALL RIVER: Emily Saulnier wants to make sure that any youth in her home community of Fall River can find the help they need if they are suffering through mental health issues.

Saulnier, who has anxiety issues and has attempted to take her own life last year, met with The Laker News and now former councillor Steve Streatch on Oct. 14 at the Fall River Dairy Queen. She wanted to raise her concerns with the HRM representative and seek support going forward from HRM.

In the last few years—one just a couple months ago–there has been at least two young men who have died by suicide. Saulnier wants to see that change.

“There’s nothing in this community that is helping us with our mental health struggles,” said Saulnier. “It’s a huge issue to me, because you seek help and there’s nothing, there’s literally nothing there.”

Saulnier gave an overview of her attempted suicide.

“I made a video awhile ago after I attempted my suicide and I had no help, and I was sent home form the hospital when I should have been admitted,” said Saulnier. “My parents called the mental health team, but there was no one to come to see me all the way out in Fall River is the answer we got.

“Where’s the support for us out here when we need it.”

One idea that was breached was that of creating a youth mental health group in the Fall River community, whether it would be a standalone or one done in conjunction with Lockview High and Georges P. Vanier Junior High.

Emily Saulnier sat down with then councillor Steve Streatch to discuss youth mental health on Oct. 14. (Healey photo)

Saulnier liked that idea.

“I think that would be a very good start if we could get something like that started,” she said.

She praised the help in previous years with a former guidance counsellor, who has since died, at Lockview High.

Streatch said he would be supportive of something of this nature, and elected officials like him must be open to listening. He concurred that schools play a big role in this.

Saulnier gave an overview of her attempted suicide.

“I made a video awhile ago after I attempted my suicide and I had no help, and I was sent home form the hospital when I should have been admitted,” said Saulnier. “My parents called the mental health team, but there was no one to come to see me all the way out in Fall River is the answer we got.

“Where’s the support for us out here when we need it?”

Streatch said he understands the issue is something that is hard to talk about, so he commended Saulnier for coming to speak to him and The Laker News about it.

He said it is heartbreaking when the youth cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel there is no other answer.

“It’s heartbreaking when they feel they’re in such a dark place they feel forced to make decisions like taking their own life, and it’s something we all have to share in,” he said. “It’s not an individual issue, it’s a community issue. I believe it is a municipal issue as well.”

Streatch shared a message of hope for those like Saulnier.

“It is okay to feel the way that you and your friends are feeling,” said Streatch. “You should not shy away from talking to people. It’s important to talk about how you feel and share.”

Saulnier concluded the interview meeting with a simple message to other youth who may be feeling like the dark clouds are hovering over.

“To know what your feeling is okay, don[t be scared, there are people there, especially if you’re in Fall River, reach out to me I will do the best that I can to help anyone,” she said. “If you really do look, you can find that support you t.”

With the municipal election now over, Saulnier said she is hopeful of bringing her concerns to newly-elected District 1 councillor, Cathy Deagle-Gammon.