‘The most powerful tool we have’

This week’s post is by Sarah Gordon, a research fellow in psychological medicine in New Zealand. She also founded the International Association of Service User Academia. This is a speech she delivered at a memorial service for families bereaved by suicide:

Approximately six years ago, a 34-year old woman killed herself. But the paramedics managed to revive her. Waking up from a coma two days later and being assessed as having no long-term mental or physical injury as a result of the suicide attempt, the woman was discharged from the intensive care unit to a psychiatric unit. After two months with this service, the woman asked to be discharged. She felt that this request was quite reasonable: Her immediate acute mental illness symptoms had been addressed.

The psychiatrist refused to entertain any notion of discharge at this time, her reason being that the woman was not in relationship with anyone or anything. You see, she argued, being in relationship with people is absolutely fundamental to living well. So that is what the woman spent the remainder of her time with the unit, a further five months, doing: working on re-learning and practicing being in relationship with herself, her family, her friends and her community.

And what is she doing now? Actively engaging in her roles as a mother and wife, working, dancing, writing, holidaying and shopping  _ something which I particularly enjoy. (more…)

‘I was afraid to be’

This week’s post is by Ann Taylor. She’s an aspiring advocate for suicide prevention, 51, the mother of two teenage boys, a domestic violence advocate, a photographer and a physical therapist. This is her coming-out:

so, here’s my story.

aug. 2007:  “mom has passed,” my brother says.

aug. 2008: “i’m done,” my husband says.

feb. 2009: “i love you, dad,” i say for the last time.

jan. 2010: “he didn’t make it,” my friend discloses.

a turn of events that happened just so very quickly. some expected, some by surprise. (more…)

‘I use that choice wisely’

This week made a little history. A couple of weeks ago, we featured the #WayForward video featuring numerous “out” attempt survivors. This week, the Way Forward report itself emerged. It’s a groundbreaking document by a national attempt survivor task force, part of the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and it essentially says, “Hey, world, this is what we need.”

NPR did a good story on the report and its demands.

This week’s post is by Gareth Stubbs, who writes from Spain: (more…)

‘Hustle, sweat and tears’

This week’s post is by DeQuincy Lezine, and if you think you’ve been advocating for attempt survivors for quite some time, get ready for a jolt. DeQuincy is the first director of the American Association of Suicidology‘s newly created Lived Experience division for people who’ve been suicidal and the people who love and support them. He also wrote the groundbreaking #WayForward national report that comes out in early July. It inspired the video above. More details coming soon.

Here’s the very short version of my suicide prevention autobiography:

I got started as a first-year student in college, after my first suicide attempts, by contacting the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network. I found no other attempt survivors in the national suicide prevention movement. That was 18 years ago. (more…)

‘I’m fully engaged now’

This week’s post is by Mary Esther Rohman:

My name is Mary Esther Rohman, and this is my first blog. Someone once stopped me from taking my life by telling me his story, and I was encouraged to start giving back. Much has been given to me. (more…)