Former Quebec City Councilor Laurent Proulx urges the military to sign a pact against suicide
A few days after losing a friend and brother in arms, former Quebec city councilor Laurent Proulx created a Facebook group where the military is invited to sign a pact against suicide.
“It is intentional that we appeal to the feelings of courage and honor that animate every soldier. You would not have let us go on the battlefield in Afghanistan, so it’s the same today, “says Proulx in an interview.
On July 24, Corporal Mathieu Hamelin, 33, took his life. Moments earlier, the one who served at the Valcartier military base until 2016 published a “heartbreaking message” on social networks, says Mr. Proulx. “It really took my heart right.”
Meeting with some friends who were also in shock, Mr. Proulx was looking for a way to ensure that this situation does not happen again. “We thought we had to promise ourselves, never to do that. Then, we found a way to expand the promise, “he says.
This is how the Facebook page The Contract – The Contract was born. Veterans and serving military are invited to sign the covenant, promising not to “let down” family and friends by taking their own lives. They promise to ask for help before committing the irreparable.
A group of 35 military and veterans quickly formed to respond to calls for help that would be made through this group. A “Call” button has also been activated to direct members to a suicide prevention center (1-866-APPELLE).
“I thank everyone who raised their hand to help. The more we are, the more the workload will be distributed. Because I think simplicity is the key here, “says Proulx.
Pact-based group self-help is a model that already exists in many settings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Mr. Proulx believes that this model can also work for military members suffering from post-traumatic stress.
Laurent Proulx was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces from 2005 to 2009 and deployed in Afghanistan. He then became known as “green square” opposed to the student strike movement of 2012, before becoming a city councilor in Quebec for the party of Mayor Régis Labeaume from 2013 to 2017.
He assures however that he does not do politics with The Contract. No claim or grant request is associated with the Facebook page. Mr. Proulx now works in the family business at Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, and says he is “lucky” to live well with the memories of his military life.