In this podcast I interview Sebastian Slovin, author of “Ashes in the Ocean: A Son’s Story of Living though and Learning from his Father’s suicide. We touch upon themes of survival, stigma and safe space and how we was able to grow up in the shadow of suicide and piece together a narrative and a life worth living. Sebastian shares to other men, “Not feeling does not work” in the grief healing journey. He talks openly and honestly about how peer and professional support — even spiritual connections — can make a big difference in letting men know they are not alone in their bereavement by suicide.Read More
Hope Illuminated Podcast
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
Early in his career Dr. John Draper had a lightbulb moment when he was on suicide watch for patients while they were being "treated" with isolation and restraints; he thought "we can do better." Today, John is one of the global leaders transforming crisis care for people on their worst day. He has helped spark an evolution through his leadership of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by using data, standards of excellence and the input of people with lived experience to continually improve care…
…John closes with a very clear call to action on how best to support people in a suicide crisis -- the "3 Cs": Connection, Collaboration and Choice. Tune in to hear more!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
In light of the “Zero Tolerance Policy” that is forcibly separating children from their families at the US/Mexico border, childhood trauma is a hot topic. We know that child separation from family increases risk for suicide, especially when the separation is traumatic. Averse childhood experiences have a massive impact on future risky health behavior, chronic health conditions, and early death in what we call a “dose-effect relationship” — that is as the number of averse events increases, so does the risk.
This podcast shares one man’s journey from traumatic childhood experiences to inspiring the world to cultivate health families. One of Jorge Narvaez’s earliest memories is seeing his father put a gun to his mother’s head. As a toddler he resolved to be different. Listen to his story to learn his three take-aways on what he had learned from integrating these traumas into the mission of his life.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
About 350 years ago, philosopher René Descartes took the brain out of the body – and we’ve been trying to put it back ever since. Descartes believed that the immaterial mind was separate from that matter of the body, and this dualism started many down a path of treating mind and body differently.
In this episode, we work to reunite the two to explore how their interconnectivity affects well-being. In this episode, we talk about how critical bodily functions like sleep, pain and our stress response are so closely tied to our emotional health. My guest Whitney McKnight, a clinical reporter whose work has focused primarily on the brain, encourages us to be our own scientists in our approach to understanding anxiety and depression and to always “improve our questions.”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
In this episode I have this distinctive honor of interviewing Kim Ruocco from TAPS who shares her personal and professional journey after suicide loss. We discussed the challenges of suicide grief -- how we balance honoring the lives our loved ones lived with fears of contagion in the community. How do we support children -- especially young children -- left in suicide's wake? The paradox of traumatic grief and the tensions of postvention are also explored. We identify a long list of resources to help military families who are facing the daunting challenge of living through a suicide tragedy. You don't want to miss this powerful and practical episode, especially Kim's closing story -- I was brought to tears.Read More
Being a caregiver for someone living with a major mental health condition like bipolar disorder is not easy. Let's be honest, our mental healthcare system is challenging -- even when people are mentally well, let alone when they are in the grips of a mental health crisis. Friends and family are often the overlooked links in the chain of survival...Read More
When people are in the depths of a mental health crisis the last thing they need is a response that is based in fear. Having a crisis response strategy that is rooted in dignity and compassion can make all the difference. Join me in my interview with international visionary David Covington, who shares with us his journey in implementing crisis services from many leadership perspectives. David shares compelling science that challenges our misperceptions of what works and provides a roadmap for effective support for people in their darkest moments.Read More