Monthly Archives of: April 2014

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‘A way for us to share our stories’

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This week, Josh Rivedal invites you to join a book project:

From January 2011 until mid-2013, I struggled with coming out of the closet … as a suicide attempt survivor, that is.

I also happen to be a survivor of suicide loss, of my father in 2009, and I have been talking about that to just about anyone and everyone who will listen since the day he died. I even dedicated my professional and creative career to helping people thinking of suicide or those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

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‘A voice at the table’

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This week, we have grassroots effort at its best. Annemarie Matulis, director of the Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention in Massachusetts, tells the story behind a remarkable documentary on attempt survivors that made its debut last week at the state suicide prevention conference. Plans for how to share and distribute the film are still being discussed, but early reviewers say it should be a national training tool, if not mandatory viewing.

Amazingly, the 30-minute documentary was made on zero budget, with donated time and effort. Its next showing is in mid-May, at a fundraiser for suicide prevention work and a local teen center. Here’s Annemarie:

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‘My heart is full’

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photo(2) Misha Kessler, Dese’Rae Stage, Samantha Nadler, Craig Miller

A lot just happened. In the last five days, the American Association of Suicidology created a division for attempt survivors and anyone who’s been suicidal; The New York Times published a story on that and the public emergence of attempt survivors; at least four “out” attempt survivors spoke at full-conference sessions; three attempt survivors were named to the new AAS speakers’ bureau; the documentary team behind the well-regarded “Of Two Minds” took footage for a new film on attempt survivors and loss survivors; three “out” professionals spoke and got a dozen people in the audience to raise their hands about their own suicidal experience … and the amazing people in the photo above brought standing ovations and sniffles as they spoke on a “New Voices of Attempt Survivors” panel and basically blew the doors off stigma.

Listen to it here. You don’t want to miss it.

“I went to my share of Grateful Dead concerts over the years,” one audience member, Ken Norton, who “came out” last year, told the crowd afterward. “It was always sort of like you went, you kept going, hoping you would get to the gem, like that really memorable show? That’s what this presentation was.”

That’s enough for this week’s post! And here are just a few samples from the busy social media chatter tagged #AAS14:

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‘The bravest people I know’

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This week’s post is by Cheryl Sharp:

I sometimes hesitate to put in my 2 cents worth because I do work for a large organization that has the voices of lived experience involved but was, admittedly, pretty late to do so in leadership positions.

While my specific work is based on the voices of trauma survivors, my experience is as a trauma and attempt survivor. I want to address the idea of “who’s ready for prime time” in speaking about their personal experience.