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N.S. author collects stories from 'brave souls in our community' for new book

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Eight years ago, Shauna Lilly lost her father to suicide and since then she’s devoted herself to mental health and self-care. Her advocacy led her to Gabby Scollard’s newest book project, which collects wisdom from people who have suffered great loss and found the power to keep going.

“Hopefully the readers will have a takeaway of doing an audit on their own life and realizing what’s really important and to move forward and live their best lives,” Lilly said.

Scollard, a Nova Scotia-based author, public speaker and mental health advocate, previously wrote “Why I Stay,” a book about depression and suicide prevention, in 2022, pulling from her own experiences.

“I wrote (it) after struggling with depression myself and I wanted to help anyone who was in that bad head space or struggling with those thoughts and help pull them out in the way I pulled myself out of it with writing,” Scollard said. “The response was beyond anything I could imagine. I think there is something so important about putting purpose to your pain because then it feels like it wasn’t for nothing.”

Scollard’s newest book, “What I Would Tell Me,” collects words of wisdom from elders, cancer and suicide survivors, and people who have lost loved ones to cancer or suicide.

"What I Would Tell Me: A Collection of Wisdom From Wise Souls to Their Younger Selves" by Gabby Scollard.

“(It’s) about what they wish they could tell their younger selves or what they have found matters in life, so hopefully readers can reflect on those wise words and implement that wisdom in their own lives,” Scollard said.

Kiera Huntley, a suicide survivor, shares her experiences to help those with similar struggles.

“I think healing is a never-ending road,” she said. “It’s really helped me to be able to share my wisdom with others.”

Scollard said she’s humbled to hear and collect the stories for the book.

“These aren’t my words, these are words of all these brave souls in our community,” she said. “There’s such a healing aspect to that.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available.

  • Canada Suicide Prevention Helpline (1-833-456-4566)
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (1 800 463-2338)
  • Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645)
  • Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)

If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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