Category Archives: Trauma

Have you been impacted by suicide? Please watch this music video: “Arizona (I miss you most)” by Brian Byrne

So many lives have been impacted by loss due to suicide. In this video Brian Byrne captures a number of real individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide. It’s hard to get through this video without crying. In fact, I haven’t been able to yet. But regardless, it is beautiful, heart felt, and reminds me I am in a community of individuals who have suffered tremendous loss and we are somehow connected through it.

One of those individuals is Tana Nash, the Director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council. You can see her in the video at mark 2:18. I have had the privilege of speaking with Tana at the University of Laurier on two occasions. She is an incredible individual, and I’m so proud to be partnered with her for suicide prevention.

For anyone thinking of suicide, I know it can seem like no one will miss you if you’re gone. They will. Don’t underestimate the impact every life has on another. There is someone out there, someone you might not even realize, who will miss you most. So, stay. Stay with us. Because we want to enjoy your company. We want to hear you laugh one more time. We want to hold you as you cry. We want you to know that sometimes we feel broken too. We feel like a burden. Sometimes we lose sight of the light. But there is a way to find it again: together. So, stay.

Please click here to visit the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council website for resources.

With gratitude to Brian Byrne for making this song public. You’ve touched our hearts. Thank you.


Shawna Percy

Please visit for more info

Suicide Symposium – Feb. 19th, Vaughan, FREE! (seating is limited)


Suicide Symposium – “Helping our heroes and their families”

What: Panel of Peers and opportunity to connect with support networks in mental health crisis and suicide intervention for CAF Members, Veterans and their families.

Who is this for?: Open to the public (Military, First Responders, Police, Mental Health Professionals and their Families.)

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 19th, 2014

Time: 6 – 9pm

Location: Hilton Garden Inn, Toronto, Vaughan

Address: 3201 Hwy 7 W., Vaughan, ON, L4K 5Z7

RSVP to register: (416) 633-6200 x2666,

Cost: Free

Spaces are limited!


The official launch date of my book, Breathe, is coming soon…

It’s been a long time coming but the time is nearly here when my published book, Breathe: a true story about marriage, faith, and attempted suicide, will officially be released.

When, you ask? March 11th, 2014 is the official launch date. That’s when Breathe will finally be available on-line and start to appear in book stores.

Stay tuned for more details, and in the meantime if you want to learn more about Breathe click here to read the synopsis.


Breathe high rez file


The Bell Let’s Talk TOTAL TALLY is in!

If you thought the $150,000+ raised through tweets for the Bell Let’s Talk campaign that was announced this morning was good, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

The results are in. Yesterday, Bell’s tally registered over 100 million text, tweets, Facebook shares, mobile and long distance calls, raising a whopping:


That’s a lot of talking!

Way to go Canada!!! You really got your talk on!

If you didn’t have a chance yesterday I highly recommend taking a look through the Bell Let’s Talk website. How about starting with some video testimonials of people living with mental health challenges? Click here to start watching now, and let’s continue the conversation.


It’s Bell Let’s Talk day! Find out how you can help build a federal framework for suicide prevention.



bell lets talk 2014

Bell Let’s Talk day is finally here, and raising funds to support mental health initiatives has never been so easy.

Bell will donate $0.05 for every:

  • Text a Bell customer sends
  • Every Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
  • And every share of Bell’s Facebook posts on their Bell Let’s Talk page



The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is doing a broad consultation until the spring of 2014 to inform the development of the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention Act (as a result of bill C-300 that Kitchener’s own MP, Harold Albrecht, helped secure so that Suicide Prevention is now every Canadian’s responsibility.)  It is an extensive survey and can be filled out as an individual or from an organizational perspective (so be sure to share this with your company’s Human Resources department.)

Note: You are able to save as you go, so you can take your time completing this important survey. 

Please share widely with your networks so we can provide as much feedback to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) as possible and help build a solid framework for a stronger tomorrow.

CLICK HERE to start the survey now.

Please SHARE THIS POST with the hashtag reference “#BellLetsTalk so we can spread the word AND raise funds every time you do so. $0.05 (1 share with Hashtag) + $0.05 (1 share with Hashtag) = $0.10 + $0.05 (another share with Hashtag) = $0.15 and so on…


 It’s Bell day. Let’s talk.

Blog for Suicide Prevention campaign: WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION day 2013!!!

Today is World Suicide Prevention day and the start of an exciting awareness campaign initiated by the University of Southern California. The USC is promoting a “Suicide Awareness Blog Day” by driving a campaign to Blog for Suicide Prevention!


Why does raising awareness matter? I can tell you from the first day I chose to be public with my story it has been met with encouragement, resonation, and has had a deep impact on myself and others. It’s not because my story is unique. In fact, quite the opposite. It’s because my story is so common others often see pieces of their story in my own. Raising awareness helps people understand that they are not alone, there are safe places to talk about suicide and safe people who understand the impacts of suicidal ideation and the unique loss this type of death leaves behind. Not one event has gone by over the past two years that I’ve publicly shared my story at without someone coming up to me after to share pieces of theirs, often with an expression of relief that they finally feel safe enough to let go of a portion of the heaviness they’ve been holding on to. Talking is healing. Talking brings about change. I highly support the initiative to further promote blogging for suicide prevention. I fully believe this is a life-saving campaign.

Click here to learn how you can add your voice to the USC suicide prevention campaign. Whatever you blog for, whether for suicide prevention, parenting, DIY crafts, anything, if you have a story to share today is a great day to use your public resource as a tool to further awareness. Never underestimate the impact adding your voice can make.
Blogging For Suicide Prevention Badge


Click here to read the article I wrote the day I learned my husband died by suicide: “Stigma in a large yellow envelope (or Stigma spelled S-U-I-C-I-D-E)”



About Shawna

Links to speaking engagements, with videos and audio of previous talks

Another step taken towards breaking the silence & stigma of suicide (video)

The naked truth about stigmas

Grief, suicide, and “inter-generational impacts”

The pandemic of suicide

Suicide prevention resources – a conversation

USC’s MSW Programs Blog Day.
Blogging For Suicide Prevention Badge


Click here to learn more about World Suicide Prevention day and events happening in your area.


A message from the International Association for Suicide Prevention President, Dr Lanny Berman’s:

Your voice makes a difference! Thank you for supporting suicide awareness.

Press Release: Suicide Ideation Group


NEWS RELEASE – September 5, 2013

Suicide Prevention Council to fund Suicide Ideation Group


Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council is funding a 20 week pilot group for individuals in our community that experience suicide ideation but have never attempted suicide.  This group will run out of the Self Help Alliance, a division of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.

The suicide ideation group is modeled after the Skills for Safer Living Group for individuals who have attempted suicide and is currently available in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph, also through the Self Help Alliance.  Although only brought to our Region in 2010, over 100 individuals who have attempted suicide have benefited.   “The support of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council for this pilot project is vital to be able to expand the range of supports available to those experiencing thoughts of suicide” states Allan Strong, Team Leader, Skills for Safer Living and the Centre of Excellence in Peer Support.

“It is imperative that we continue to bring groups like these to our community so that individuals that are struggling with suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide can learn different skills to help them cope differently.   We teach people that have had a heart operation nutrition skills and the value of cardio, why should we expect any different with emotional based skills?   If someone doesn’t learn to do something differently or to learn new skills, they will continue to resort to the same coping methods and that is unacceptable” says Tana Nash, executive director of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council.

World Suicide Prevention Day is this Tuesday September 10th.  In addition to hosting events to support this day, the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council highlights some key initiatives they are working on in collaboration with community partners to reduce suicides:  A new wallet sized help card and resource card for youth developed by the Council will be distributed to all counseling offices throughout secondary schools of the Waterloo Region District School Board.  The Board is also currently reviewing their suicide prevention protocols.    Lutherwood has introduced a My Life Matters Day at its school to help troubled teens overcome suicide ideation, and has added community workers as a resource for certain local institutions working with children such as a Mental Health Youth Court Worker for the provincial court system.  At Grand River Hospital, a ‘wellness call’ was introduced earlier this winter.  Any adult patient who has been hospitalized with thoughts of suicide or after an attempted suicide will receive a call from a hospital social worker within 72 hours of their discharge.   “Making a connection to those that have attempted suicide is a crucial step in showing we care” says Judy Shearer, AVP of the Mental Health and Addictions Program at Grand River Hospital. In addition, Grand River hospital will be piloting two booklets aimed at helping individuals and their loved ones after a suicide attempt.

“It is our hope that the Skills for Safer Living Ideation Program will receive ongoing funding so that all individuals who would like to take part in this group can,” Nash said.  “But for now, it is a huge step in the right direction.”  The group has graciously been funded by the Bowl-a-thon fundraising efforts of the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council and the Daniel Tudisco Memorial Golf Tournament.  “We are exceptionally fortunate to have the generous support of the community so we may provide these types of programs” Nash added.

For more information about the Skills for Safer Living Ideation Group, please contact Allan Strong at


Tana Nash, Executive Director                                                                                           

Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council                                                                                 

519-884-1470 ext 2143 or 



Click here to learn more about World Suicide Prevention day: SEPTEMBER 10th

Shawna’s Elevation talk now available! (Mental illness, suicide, and finding God in the darkness)

It’s Mental Health Week!

What better way to kick it off than by sharing my Elevation talk with you. Special thanks to the Elevation crew who made this talk available so quickly!

Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll hear in this podcast:

-A piece of Shawna’s story
-What the Bible says about suicide
-The political & religious history of how/when suicide became a crime
-Helpful and harmful responses
-The medical history of perception and breakthroughs
-Does what we do here, on earth, matter as we’re waiting for the promised land?
-Is God present in the darkness?

I would LOVE to hear your comments, so please click the title of this talk to get to the screen with the comments box, and leave me a note below.



PS – this audio was recorded at the Elevation service in Waterloo.  For more information about Elevation, please click here to access their website.

Just a reminder: Mental illness, suicide, and finding God in the darkness talk tomorrow @ Elevation!

Good morning readers,

This is just a friendly reminder that I’ll be speaking at Elevation church tomorrow, at 9:30am in Waterloo.  For directions and more information, please click here.

Here’s a snapshot of what I’ll be sharing:

  • My personal story
  • What the Bible says about suicide
  • The political & religious history of how/when suicide became a crime
  • What’s helpful and harmful
  • The medical history of perception and breakthroughs
  • Does what we do here, on earth, matter as we’re waiting for the promised land?
  • Is God present in the darkness?

I hope you come mentally hungry.  I’m planning on feeding our listeners LOTS of information!

See you there 🙂



Kicking off mental health week at Elevation Church in Waterloo! – May 5th, 2013

1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and 1 in 7 Canadians have seriously considered suicide. How should the church respond? How can we help those who are facing these realities both within and outside the Church? What are God’s promises for people affected by mental illness and suicide, and can He be found in the darkness?

These questions and more will be explored as we kick off Mental Health week at Elevation Church in Waterloo this coming Sunday, May 5th.

The Elevation Church community is a group of individuals who are interested in journeying together.  As they say on their site: “Just come as you are – no dress code, no high expectations, no pressure. We promise.”

As I have the privilege of sharing a piece of my story in this community, I will also be providing statistics, talking about harmful and helpful ways to respond to those living with mental illness or those affected by suicide, examining what the Bible says about suicide, and discussing where some of our cultural concepts about suicide come from.

If you, or someone you know is facing these issues, or wants to learn more so they can better journey with others, please join me at Elevation Church this Sunday for “Mental Illness, Suicide, and finding God in the darkness.”  I hope to see you there!

  • 22 Willow Street, Waterloo (the Elevation church takes place inside St. John’s Lutheran church)
  • Parking: there is some parking at the church, but additional parking is available at the much larger free parking lot just around the bend.
  • Time: 9:30am
  • Discussion time: Part of what is so unique about Elevation are the discussion tables set up after the service.  For those who want to dig deeper into the talk, and wrestle with questions over coffee and treats, this is the place to do it!
  • For more information, please visit the Elevation website by clicking here.

Click here for more information about Mental Health week 2013.