The person most likely to save your life from suicide is someone you already know. Sometimes it may be a family member or a supervisor. Often its a peer.Read More
…I have learned that “together we are better.”
This week, I am reminded of the many ways we need each other. Here are just a couple of ways this theme of interdependence is showing up in my life in just the last few days. These three lessons I’ve learned this week illuminate how our deep, reciprocal connections matter…
Today the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's Workplace Task Force in partnership with United Suicide Survivors International and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shared preliminary data from a national survey on workplace suicide prevention.Read More
…I don’t really have the chops to be a researcher or the patience to be a clinician, but I often find myself in new territories, listening to people share their insights about living through unimaginable suffering. Then I look to connect partners much smarter than I who can make a difference in alleviating that despair. So, as I am listening, I think to myself, “there are the stories I wish we would talk about more.”Read More
It seems fitting that on this day — July 4th — I should write a little something about kickstarting a revolution.
June was overwhelming for many in my suicide prevention tribe — the scientists, advocates, clinicians, crisis call-takers, peer supporters, and many people with all forms of lived experience with suicide — as many of us were called upon to respond to the seemingness constant barrage of tragic news about suicide and trauma.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation announced today that it will be partnering with Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas...to explore gaps and strengths in firefighter suicide prevention. This comprehensive evaluation will help set the direction for a new national suicide prevention program.Read More
What if you ask someone if they are thinking about suicide, and they say, “yes”? What do you say?
1) Express gratitude
The first words out of your mouth: “thank you.”
“Thank you for trusting me.”
“Thank you for your courage to be vulnerable with me.”
“Thank you for valuing our relationship.”
Often when people express daunting thoughts about suicide they expect to be judged. They anticipate that others will react in negative ways such as fear, anger, minimizing, or shaming. When they hear a genuine expression of gratitude, often they are put at ease. This honoring response creates a safe space to move into next steps. Starting here is starting from a place of dignity and respect...Read More
That moment when you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow suicide loss and attempt survivors on the Grammy’s stage at Madison Square Garden during the grand finale while nominees Logic, Khalid and Alessia Cara sing 1-800-273-8255…and you think – maybe, just maybe, our time has come…Read More
“Applying business skills to resolving social ills…part saint, part politician, part business person,” said Robert Redford about social entrepreneurs.
What is Impact Entrepreneurship?
Social entrepreneurs, or “Impact Entrepreneurs,” as I like to call them, bring together the best of the nonprofit heart and the for-profit efficiency. They are the ideal blend of the best of both worlds and the future of how business and social change gets done.Read More
I have often said, “Hope is the antidote to suicide.”
I realize that the word “hope” – like “love” and “support” and “leadership” – is often experienced as cliché, having lost its power and meaning from overuse. I would like to reclaim it and use it like Wonder Woman’s shield (goodness I love that movie) to defiantly deflect pessimism, bitterness and negativity coming at us from all angles.
As advocates for suicide prevention and mental health promotion, we must be warriors of hope. Now is the perfect time to explore how we can learn to build hope as a practice – like pieces of protective armor that protect us as we forge our way onward to the frontiers of what is possible....Read More
In the aftermath of the October 1st, 2017 massacre in Las Vegas, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 others injured, we have more questions than answers, and we are wondering -- even more than usual –- what would drive someone to do that?Read More
When we consider a comprehensive strategy to suicide prevention and mental health promotion, it’s helpful to segment approaches into “upstream” (preventing problems before they emerge through self-help), “midstream” (catching emerging problems early and linking people to least restrictive support), and “downstream” (helping people with more serious mental health challenges and suicidal thoughts) tactics.
Thus, for this article, I have organized some of the most popular, best researched and most innovative apps into these three categories.Read More
The stoicism of farmers helps them power through hardship and harsh environmental conditions often in great isolation, but when it comes to their mental health, this power through approach can be life threatening. It’s not surprising then that “farming, fishing and forestry” is the industry with the highest suicide rates (McIntosh et al, 2016)...Read More
Firefighters are a unique breed. They run into burning buildings when everyone else is trying to escape. They respond to gruesome medical calls. And they do it all as a team. There’s a brother/sisterhood that comes with being part of this elite crew, and while there are many positive things that result from that connection, it can also create a tough guy mentality that leads them to believe they can’t or shouldn’t seek outside help when they’re struggling. As one firefighter told me, “We literally depend on each other’s lives to be mentally sound. It is our strength to compartmentalize, stay decisive, and move on that is valued in this work.”Read More
When sexual trauma happens in the military, feelings of betrayal often emerge because the expectation is that those who serve alongside you are meant to protect, not harm you. The effects of this broken trust can be devastating. Given the social nature of the military and the likelihood that a victim of MST would have to continue to work or live near their assailant, the environment alone may create conditions for prolonged exposure, leaving an impact like that of on-going family violence...Read More
Question: Is our hyper-focus on “safe messaging” getting in the way of “effective messaging”?...
For years, suicide prevention advocates have focused on “safe messaging,” a series of do’s and don’ts that emphasize help-seeking and discourage mentioning suicide details. The goal of these suggestions is to avoid triggering vulnerable people to over-identify with suicide as a way to escape their emotional pain. Many of these tips – like don’t glamorize or romanticize suicide --are beneficial, and we certainly don’t want our content to cause harm. But I and many others are starting to recognize that a single-minded focus on "safe messaging" may be getting in the way of us being effective in our communication....Read More
The International Association for Suicide Prevention World Congress took place in Kuching, Malaysia, with over 600 delegates from over 50 countries present. The theme was “Preventing Suicide: A Global Commitment from Communities to Continents." Here are the five themes I’d like to share with you...Read More
...One example of a “caring for others” profession is veterinary medicine and animal welfare. Animal rescue professionals and veterinarians fit Thomas Joiner’s model of why people die by suicide: Constant exposure to death and feelings of hopelessness lead to an acquired ability for lethal self-injury, and they have access to lethal means in the form of drugs.
People are often drawn to the demanding professions because of their love of animals, but they soon discover that a large part of the job involves ending the lives of beloved pets and otherwise health animals. In fact, vets come face-to-face with death at five times the rate of physicians. Both veterinarians and animal rescue professionals are witness to the agonizing situation of pet owners choosing to have their companions euthanized because treatment is too expensive or too difficult or because breeding was uncontrolled and the family has become overwhelmed....Read More