What If They Say “Yes” to the Suicide Question? Four Responses That Make a Difference
Moonlight Walks with the Zen Master: Four Life Lessons I Learned from my Dog Apache
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...
Innovative Ways to #ElevateTheConvo on Fatherhood Engagement and Well-being
This week I had to say goodbye to one of my confidants and greatest supporters, my 13 year-old Australian Cattle Dog Mutt, Apache. Today is Valentine’s Day, and this is my love letter to him and my gratitude for all he taught me about living a great life.
We rescued Apache from Denver’s largest animal shelter when he was nine months old in 2005. My kids were little; just 7, 4 and one year. We all gathered in the meet-and-greet room, and Apache was on his best behavior. We brought him home, and I immediately became his human....
My Night on Stage at the Grammys: Standing Up for Suicide Loss and Attempt Survivors
I’ve been looking forward to the Dad 2.0 Summit for months.
Not just because it was hosted in New Orleans at the beginning of Mardi Gras…
Not just because I got an opportunity to reconnect with some inspiring thought leaders who are there to support men in becoming the best fathers they can be…
Not just because my “krewe” was there to reveal some powerful stories of hope from our “Guts, Grit and the Grind” men’s mental health anthology…
But also because, the Dad 2.0 Summit exemplifies what it means to engage an army that successfully fights for a cause....
The Strength of the Trauma Survivor: What if Sisyphus Reached the Top
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…
Spiritual Wellness and the Intersection of Faith, Spiritual Practices, Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention
Without fail, a person seeking treatment for PTSD will come into my office and say something along the lines of, “Well, other people have had it worse. I should be over it by now.” This is the convincing trap of posttraumatic stress...
Why Impact Entrepreneurship Matters to Me and the Cause of Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention
As we start a new year with new aspirations and intentions, dealing with a mental health or suicide crisis can be particularly challenging. Other seems so full of hope, while you—or a loved one—are struggling. For those with a strong faith background or spiritual sensibility, the difficulties can be compounded...
5 Ways to Tap into Hope as a Defiant Superpower against Despair
“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.
3 Safety Strategies and 4 Success Stories Regarding Guns and Suicide Prevention: It’s About Safety, Not Politics
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....
5 Best Practices for Helping Kids Bereaved by Suicide
Over 50 people die of firearm suicide every day.
Significantly, this statistic has led to thriving partnerships among such groups as the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, gun shop owners, and -- suicide prevention advocates.
From Vegas to Columbine to Workplace Violence: Understanding the Complexities Surrounding Murder-Suicide
Death is confusing at any age. But for youth, who may be experiencing death and grief for the first time, it’s even more complicated. When the death is the result of suicide, it adds still more questions.
15 Top Apps for Resilience, Mental Health Promotion & Suicide Prevention
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?
Stoicism, Stress and Suicide among Farmers
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.
Leadership and Mental Health Initiatives: Denver Fire Department Case Study
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)...
Suicide Prevention among Men Who Experience Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
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.”
Get Ready for National Suicide Prevention Week: How to Effectively Message about Suicide
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...
5 Actions We Take When We See Suicide Prevention as a Social Justice Issue
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....
5 Top Take-Aways from the International Association for Suicide Prevention World Congress in Kuching, Malaysia
"...When people become marginalized for whatever reason, they are often told that their experiences do not matter. Advocacy allows those who have suffered to publicly state, “This is who I am, this is how the dreams of mine and others like me have been systematically destroyed.”
Advocates can also paint a vision by saying, “This is how I see that change is possible.”
What do suicide prevention advocates do? Organized empowerment..."
Reasons You Should Be Concerned about Suicide in the Animal Welfare/Medicine Industry
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...
Be Wingmen & Band Together for Survival – My Message to Men Living in Despair
...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....
"Those going through difficult times can find their way through the dark tunnel of hardship —reach out and grab a supportive hand to help pull you through, someday you might get a chance to repay the favor." - Spencer-Thomas