stefanie nguyen

GoFundMe for Toronto nurse who died by suicide raises more than 5 times its goal

A fundraiser launched to help with funeral and other costs in the wake of the loss of Stefanie Van Nguyen, a young Toronto nurse who tragically died by suicide on Friday, has exceeded its goal by more than five times in just three days.

Nguyen was a 25-year-old registered nurse working at Halton Healthcare in Milton and in occupational health at Humber River Hospital in Mississauga, and her untimely death has evoked a call for more mental health supports amid the pandemic, particularly for frontline workers.

It's a call that also follows the suicide of a Quebec doctor earlier this month, and the suicides of multiple other healthcare workers around the globe since the pandemic began.

The last year or so has been inarguably dark for us all, but especially, of course, those who are treating the sickest patients in hospital and battling COVID-19 tirelessly first-hand.

Then there are the skyrocketing opiod deaths, the dramatic spikes in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, and the record high rates of eating disorders coinciding with the health crisis and weeks of stringent lockdown.

It's been understandably hard to find any hope amid so much terrifying news of illness and death, and no normal life routine, outings, interactions or events to look forward to.

Understandably, extreme feelings of fear and isolation set in, especially for those of us who live alone and have very minimal face-to-face human contact. The cold temps and all-around dreary winter weather certainly don't help, either.

"[She] had no previous history of mental health so you kind of think 'who else is feeling dark inside?'" Registered Nurses Association of Ontario CEO Doris Grinspun told CHCH TV yesterday. "I can't help but know that the pandemic likely had an effect."

Nguyen is being remembered as a well-respected nurse who was exceptional at her job, as well as a caring and loving individual who had an infectious personality and "always loved with no restraint."

The GoFundMe started by her partner has raised more than $56,000 and counting of its $10,000 goal, with money going to directly to Nguyen's parents to alleviate their financial burden during what is an unimaginably difficult moment.

In remembering her, the Ontario Nurses' Association has provided a list of mental health resources for those who are struggling more than they feel they can handle right now, including Wellness Together Canada, the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and various online services.

Lead photo by

Stefanie Van Nguyen

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