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‘The song I came to sing’

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Not long ago, Frank King wrote to share this video of his recent TEDx speech. “I’m a full-time public speaker and comedian, and now a mental health activist,” he said. “The TED Talk was my coming out of the closet, as it were, as a person who suffers from depression and thoughts of suicide. It was my first speech on those topics, but it won’t be my last.”

The former joke writer for Jay Leno and “The Tonight Show” has started speaking on behalf of his local chapter of NAMI. “I believe this is the song that I came here to sing,” he says.

Like many people who discover this growing community, he’d like to know what else he can do to help. It would be a shame if all these motivated people get no answer and move on to something more rewarding.

 

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5 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Thanks for stepping out into the light, Frank. I need to sit with the talk for a bit…and I’m not surer why. I’m a trainer (suicide prevention, intervention & postvention); a writer, a documentary producer & director (A Voice at the Table, featured here in April) & I oversee a regional suicide prevention coalition. One of the important things we’re taught as trainers is to inject some humor from time to time. And I would never be described as politically correct. So what has me pausing for thought? I don’t know but I will watch a few more times…welcome aboard!

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  2. As a survivor of a lethal suicide attempt, and a mental health professional that volunteers for Touched By Suicide, I fully support the message of talking about suicide and reducing the stigma. Our organization is having an organization retreat to focus on this message. Is there a way we can start a dialogue with Frank King via email or other means?

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  3. My name is Donna Marold, Ph.D., LMFT . I am a respected clinician, adjunct faculty member at Regis University and have conducted research and published in the area of suicidal thinking in adolescence

    .I began thinking about suicide in the 8th grade and have struggled in silence for most of my life.During graduate school in 1983 I took a near fatal overdose and woke on a respirator. I survived the physical attempt as well as passing the grueling examination of my life by faculty members.My lone source of support was my psychiatrist who also was the first to diagnose PTSD.

    I write this on Christmas morning ,2014, because I am no longer suicidal, and yet, for two years I have not been allowed to see or talk with my only grandchild.Twenty years after the near fatal attempt I aborted a second suicide attempt because I could not hurt my clients family, and friends. I was taken to the ER, and after a long night on suicide watch I was evaluated by an excellent psychologist and sent home. Yet my secret was out to a few who denied support and gave only anger.

    The pain and the loneliness is enormous from being ostrasized by family and some friends. The person I called in 1983 recently testified in court that my nine year old grandson is not safe with me.Ironically, I am especially gifted at working with children and suicidal adolescents.

    I am comforted by reading about the great strides made by AAS. I am a past member and presented at the National Conference in San Francisco.I will return to this organization as both a professional member and as an open survivor. I thank those before me, including Frank, who have paved the way to end discrimination against those of us who struggle with inner demons not of our choosing. We will not only survive but we will speak out and we will educate the ignorant.

    Reply

    • Donna, if you were in our neck of the woods, we would welcome you with open arms. How sad that your family cannot “see” the difference between someone in crisis and someone who continues to walk a path toward living life fully. We are all imperfect people.

      However, that very stigma and fear is the focus of my current projects – curriculum for attempt survivor retreat/workshops and a meditation workbook for families & friends of attempt survivors. These evolved out of work done this past year on a documentary about bringing the voice of attempt survivors to the strategic planning table (and from my view, the treatment planning table) – “A Voice at the Table.” As we debuted the documentary last April, AAS was announcing its new division, followed by the release of “The Way Forward.” Collectively, these actions helped guide me & my “crew” to work to fill one of the many gaps in services.

      And since you mentioned youth, we plan to adapt a version for adolescents & teens. We’re also presenting the retreat/workshops for loss survivors (and teens). We call them “Re-Energize & Re-Connect Workshop Programs.”

      Thank you for sharing your journey’s story. I hope it gives others the courage to step into the light. You and Frank have shared such diverse perspectives and this is soooooooooooo needed to help empower others and offer hope.

      Reply

      • Annemarie
        Many thanks for your kind and informative response Until recently,. I have not fully understood the depth and intensity of discrimination against people who have been or are suicidal.With recent events in my life, long time friends have gone from connectedness based on a false perception to rage. The hypocrisy from some smells like a rotten fish that has been left in the sun too long.And many of my friends are in the mental health field! It frightens me to think what subtle and non-verbal messages they are transmitting to their clients, It’s crazy making for a mature seasoned adult. Oh, how difficult it is for an adolescent who has little or no support.

        I am so honored to successfully work with young people who, like I did in my adolescence, hid behind a bevy of defense mechanisms.Many are gifted in several areas . During my research, I interviewed a high school student named Joy. She was a track star, honor role student and on the student council. Joy confided to me ” everyone thinks I am so talented and on top of the world, just like my name. No one knows that inside, I cry most of the time.”

        I also do not disclose my past to clients. and do not have to. I reflect their feelings empathic-ally and without judgement, often opening emotional doors they have yet to identify and name.The relief felt in the office brings promises of renewal and growth much as a soft spring rain beckons crocus.

        To comfort myself during periods of loneliness and doubt, I turn to Pandora and the likes of Joan Baez and Lenold Cohen.If I can be a resource for your projects, please feel free to ask. It’s never over until it’s over and I have just begun to sing.

        Best to you,
        Donna

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