Well before we had writing and certainly before we had powerpoint, people were sharing stories. When it comes to suicide, we must “tell a more powerful tale” — one of resilience and redemption. When we cultivate stories that describe experiences of coming through unimaginable suicidal despair or suicide grief, storytellers “make meaning” and broader societal changes are possible. In other words, storytelling is good for the storyteller, and when done safely and effectively, it is good for the listener and can powerfully shift culture. In this interview Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona and I talk about the neurobiology and cultural implications of the power of the story to heal.Read More
While peer support and peer specialist efforts have long existed in areas of mental health communities and post-critical incidents, their role in suicide prevention has been more recent. Some feared that peer support might increase vulnerability through the “copycat” phenomenon. Others were concerned that suicide was just too complicated of an issue for peers to try to take on…
…In this interview I get the honor of chatting with Lt. John Coppedge, whom I met through the Denver Police Department’s Peer Support Program. Lt. Coppedge was a key leader in our “Breaking the Silence” video and training workbook with the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Here he shares his journey about his own trauma history and how it has helped shape his passion for peer support.
Then we listened to the voices of people with lived experience with suicidal intensity who told us over and over that peers played an incredibly influential role in not only bringing them back from the brink, but giving them new reasons for living and hope. Peer supporters and peer specialists also told us that helping others helped them.Read More
After listening to many people describe their experiences with suicidal intensity, I and others have come to think about the clash between the will to live and the desire to escape unimaginable emotional pain as an “epic battle” between fierce forces. On one side is the warrior fighting to live, continuing to make future plans and persevering toward health and vitality. At the same time the pain this warrior is battling can be all-consuming.
In this interview we hear from one man about his “epic battle for recovery” and how he bolstered the strength of his inner warrior who fought valiantly for a passion for living. Gabe Howard is not just managing his bipolar condition and hanging on the edge, he is living well. In other words mental illness and mental well-being are two different dimensions.Read More
While only 2% of suicides are murder-suicides, the narrative of this tragedy dominates public consciousness. Due to the fact that the circumstances are horrific, and the media reports on these stories more frequently and with more details than most other community tragedies, it’s not surprising that we feel overwhelmed. What is often not discussed is the unimaginable grief and trauma left behind in the families of the perpetrators. In my interview with Sue Klebold, mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold, we learn more about why she spent many years in hiding and what she is doing now so that other families don’t have to experience what hers did.Read More
In this podcast, Master Sergeant Christopher D. Jachimiec shares the tragedy of losing his brother Adam to suicide. We explore our shared grief experiences as sibling survivors of suicide loss and the making meaning process. Out of catastrophe we have options — to get buried under, to gloss over or to go through. Chris found his higher purpose was “honoring the dash” — our lives are not about the start date or end date, but what happens in between.
During the interview, Chris shares so many resources (many listed below), key steps in the journey of healing, and lessons learned from Viktor Frankl.Read More
Today’s podcast will explore the day in the life of a crisis support center — how it works and what to expect if you or someone you care about needs some help getting back on track. My interview with Jennifer Battle explores the social justice roots of the evolution of crisis support services and her deep gratitude for the work she does every day.Read More
In the podcast our panel includes two experts…together they bring sound research and stories about the resilience of our elders — their life satisfaction and happiness and tactics to ward off the 5 D’s of suicide risk…Read More
When it comes to engaging a wider circle in our suicide prevention and mental health promotion movements, we need to take a page from the playbook of other social justice movements. During this interview I got to spend time chatting with one of the most accomplished social change agents I know. In this podcast we hear from an international inspiration, John Mendoza, on how he has mobilized change throughout Australia and beyond. From working with the International Olympic Committee while planning the Sydney games to working with the indigenous people of the Kimberly, John has learned much about empowerment, building capacity and disrupting the status quo.Read More
What does it mean to "promote the positive" in suicide prevention?
When we are inundated with discouraging data about increasing suicide rates and tragic stories of suicide loss, our hearts are moved to the urgency of the need to "do something;" however, sometimes we feel hopeless that we can ever get in front of this daunting issue….
When we change the public narrative to hope, connectedness, social support, treatment and recovery we can transform systems from helplessness to inspiration. We don't need to minimize the pain or the social injustice that drives despair to do this….
In this podcast, we hear some powerful insights from Dr. Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, the associate professor for public health, Medical University of Vienna (Austria) about the Papageno Effect and the potentially protective effects of specific positive messaging, especially related to stories of people who live and grow through personal experiences with suicidal intensity.Read More
How do we communicate about suicide with teens? Perhaps, they are the ones in the best position to tell us.
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention recommends strategy, safety and a positive narrative when messaging about suicide. Messages and images that encourage hope are better than ones that imply "nothing can be done." Messages that celebrate resilience, healing journeys and compassion are better than ones that romanticize death or are voyeuristic or sensationalized. Messages that inspire action like reaching out or offering compassion are more valuable than ones that perpetuate misinformation and myths.
In this podcast we learn some best practices in enrolling our youth to be these positive, safe, and effective messengers for suicide prevention and mental health promotion.Read More
Sometimes, however, despite our best efforts to escape emotional pain, we may find ourselves "on fire." And in these instances of the most extreme forms of suicidal intensity, we need a different set of survival behaviors. We need to extinguish the "oxygen" that is feeding the crisis by quickly resetting the emotional state. In this episode, Dr. Whiteside shares three important steps that can help people reset their emotional system; the suicide crisis equivalent of "stop, drop and roll."Read More
With high profile celebrity suicides dominating the headlines in June, the topic of suicide was on the mind of many. While we still have a ways to go to undo the misperceptions, prejudice and discrimination that surrounds suicide and suicidal intensity, we need move beyond just "raising awareness" in our efforts.
We need to take action.Read More
41% of adults who identify as transgender have attempted suicide (versus 4.6% of U.S. general population and 10-20% of LGB adults). The issues driving this despair are usually best understood best through a lens of social justice…We must fight injustice and advocate for safety. In this podcast, Iden and I talk about his incredibly inspiring journey into activism and some take-away messages about building resilience.Read More
Many of us consider "Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training" to be similar to CPR. Before we knew the ABCs of CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver, people would just watch on helplessly as someone choked in front of them. Today, we give millions of people every year a relatively brief training so that they will have the competence and confidence to step up and save someone's life…Suicide prevention gatekeeper trainings are often given in schools, faith communities -- even workplaces. Our interview with Sean McCarthy shares why he believes they are critical for those involved in athletics too.Read More
In order for mental health promotion and suicide prevention to be successful, leadership must be bold and engaged....Leaders who are most influential in creating a caring culture at the workplace are able to build a business case that looks at the ROI of investing in resilience and mental health support. They are also strategic in their effort, enrolling others in a pragmatic blueprint for change and tracking progress and pitfalls....One of the biggest success stories in this effort is the creation of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention overseen by the Construction Financial Management Association.Read More
“People don’t always need advice. Sometimes all they need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a heart to understand them.”
In this inspirational podcast I have the great honor of interviewing one of my most beloved social agitators, Eduardo Vega. Eduardo begins by sharing his own experiences with suicidal intensity and the “incomprehensible demoralization” he felt as he tried to escape himself. For him the turning point happened when he started to connect with something larger than himself by helping others. Eduardo talks at length on the podcast about the helper principle – in other words, the notion that helping others helps us. While the idea of peer support has long been promoted in addiction recovery and among mental health advocates, it is just now gaining traction in suicide prevention. Eduardo shares his view on why this is so, and gives us the science and the strategy for “the way forward.”Read More
Employers are often challenged recruiting and retaining top talent. How can you address this problem? A resilient workforce and a mindset of a wellness culture at work. This strategy also helps promote mental health and prevent suicide. In this highly engaging interview, Judge (Ret.) Mary McClatchey makes the business case for emotional well-being at work. She concludes by sharing three take-aways that will help employers build a more psychologically hardy workplaceRead More
For people who are in the midst of a mental health or suicide crisis, the focus is often “how do we survive this?” How do we get through each day? Sometimes it’s an effort just to get by moment to moment. It’s hard to consider how to integrate these experiences into the narrative of our lives. In this episode, we hear a powerful story of a man who has been a role model for so many in showing us how this can be done. Listen in to learn more from the science, stories and strategies Dr. DeQuincy Lezine shares. Here you will find some practical tools on how to turn our wounds and darkest days into sources of power and inspiration as we move forward on our hero’s journeyRead More
Effective storytelling is critical to the suicide prevention and suicide grief support efforts. Intimate, vulnerable, inspiring stories let us know we are not alone. Stories of recovery allow us to see a road map before us that leads us out of our despair.
In this podcast we talk with filmmaker Lisa Klein about why storytelling is so critical in effective suicide prevention. She shares with us her jouRead More
Jorgen Gullestrup's LinkedIn profile lists him as a plumber and suicidologist from Brisbane, Australia. The truth is since 2007, he has helped revolutionize how the construction industry addresses suicide prevention, and his innovative strategies are now recognized internationally. Listen to his 9 top take-away tips from a decade of discovering best practices in moving an industry from awareness to action.Read More