Over 855 delegates from 57 countries convened in Derry/Londonderry to share the science, stories and strategy of suicide prevention and suicide grief/trauma support. The theme of the conference was "Breaking Down Walls, Building Bridges" and the conference planners were exceptionally mindful about equity in their selection of speakers and content. The voices of people with lived experience were prevalent throughout and one of my favorite sessions was among prominent suicidologists and clinicians who shared their experiences with discrimination and prejudice within the field of suicide prevention. We also had an opportunity to honor the lives and service of two giants in our field who died way too soon -- Prof Allison Milner and Dr. Jan Mokkenstorm. Tune in to be inspired to be part of this international community pulling together to prevent suicide and alleviate suffering.Read More
In the United States our suicide rates are going up, but in much of the world, the suicide rates are going down. In this interview I speak with the world renowned Erminia Colucci to discuss the Anglo perspective of a highly medicalized perspective of suicide and contrast that with an understanding of suicide in a larger context. In her view, we must situate suicide prevention within a social, cultural and political context to be effective. She is part of a group of “Critical Suicidologists” who are challenging some of the “truths” we have accepted within the suicide prevention field. As an activist researcher she wants to engage with the community and helps us better to understand the root causes of inequality, oppression, violence and related conditions of human suffering.
Erminia and I have this conversation at the World Congress for Suicide Prevention in Derry, Ireland. We are sitting in an art studio in the Playhouse for this conversation, and explore a ‘different way’ to help people on their darkest day.
Suicide needs to be seen in a larger context within the cultures people belong to
We need to break the silence in some areas of understanding suicide like social justice
By exploring alternative methods that work for people, like the arts, faith, and others, we can make a difference to alleviate suffering and prevent suicide.