OPP Association President Rob Stinson with OPP Communicator Lee Matthieu and members of the Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council in Alliston, Ontario on recording day for the 11 Second Challenge.

OPP Communicator Lee Matthieu has written a song called “11 Seconds” for the Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council’s 11 Second Challenge sucide awareness campaign that runs from December 10, 2021 for eight weeks. Members of the public are encouraged to post a short video of themselves celebrating kindness, hope, inspiration and mindfulness to their own social media on a public setting and tag the Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council on their social media (HopeEqualsLife on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Youtube). The Council will share the videos on their social media in hopes to create awareness and prevention of suicide. 

Lee has now 31 years experience with the OPP, starting in Mount Forest in November, 1990. For twelve years she was a dispatcher and call taker in Mount Forest, until transferring to the Orillia Provincial Communicaitons Centre, when she has spent the balance of her career. In November, 2020 Lee retired, but returned part time to help out with staffing shortages in June, 2021, and is working as a valued OPP Communicator to this day. 

Over the years Lee has had to deal with a number of personal and professional experiences surrounding suicides. This led her to write some songs in hopes she can inspire people with hope and save lives.

I got involved with the Simcoe County Suicide Awareness council approximately 10 years ago. 

It was after I lost my cousin 2 weeks before Christmas and my best friend lost her daughter 1 week after New Years that I knew I wanted to try to help, make a difference. It started with me writing a song for my friend, “Hands of Time”, when I submitted it to our Chairperson Bernadette Copeland, hoping she would want to use it somehow with her Council to hopefully help anyone that was struggling with the loss of a loved one from suicide. Since joining the council, I’ve lost 2 other family members to suicide. My entire career as an OPP Communication Operator, I’ve experienced firsthand calls for suicide. Taking calls from people finding their loved ones, or taking calls from others that are struggling with mental health and wanting to take their life. It always made me just wish I could do more to help. This is my way of trying to make a difference.

The Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council regularly does bench dedications to increase awareness. The OPP Association and the OPP have been invovled regularly in supporting these initiatives. In 2021 OPP Association President Rob Stinson attended a bench dedication in Gravenhurst, Ontario. He ended up knowing two families who were present at the event from dealing with suicides in his role as an OPP Sergeant over the years in the Wasaga Beach area. President Stinson engaged a partnership with the OPP Association Communications Team, which resulted in social media being set up for the Council and a number of Council members filming videos to help with the campaign. 

OPP Association President Rob Stinson stated, “The members of the Simcoe County Suicide Awareness Council are doing very important grass roots work in our community to save lives. The OPP Association supports this work and we are honoured to collaborate on the 11 Second Challenge. We encourage our members and the public to post a video of kindness, caring, hope and inspiration and tag the “Hope Equals Life” social media accounts. Together we can save lives. Thank you to all involved in this campaign and for all being done to help families who have experienced suicide.”

Media and the public can reach out for more information on this project by sending an email to communications@oppa.ca