This week’s post is by Tracey Medeiros, one of the stars of a new video on attempt survivors that’s drawn responses of “amazingly done” and “sharing it far and wide.” It’s been tweeted by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Suicide Prevention Australia and the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, among others:
I’m part of the crew for a local cable program called “Voices of Hope,” and it has addressed domestic violence, teen dating violence, bullying and cyberbullying. A few years ago, we began to do more shows about suicide prevention. Typically, I’m the one behind the camera or in the control room. If I shared my lived experience, it was one on one. Until now.
During the Massachusetts state conference for suicide prevention in April, I was excited but nervous. I didn’t expect so many people to come see the new film, “A Voice at the Table.” A number of people were psychologists, psychiatrists and other clinicians. I thought, “Oh, my God! I hope they won’t be offended by what I say in the film!”
And it will speak for itself. Here’s the story behind it.
Edits continue, and don’t be deterred by the introductory note of caution. The idea behind this project is that we can talk about this openly and with confidence. And that’s exactly what you’ll see here.
This video is being explored as a training and messaging tool at the national level. Interested? Contact us.
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:
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:
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.
This week, the Canadian activist who tweets at @unsuicide takes us on a tour through the online world of crisis response, where the suicide awareness establishment acknowledges it’s still largely clueless. In the conversation ahead: social media suicide hoaxes, what Twitter does wrong, the need for transparency, why hotlines are outdated, why trained peers are crucial, and how to walk the oh-so-careful law enforcement line between tracking people down for help and scaring them away.
The TED site has posted this essay. And here’s some news:
American Association of Suicidology takes groundbreaking step to engage people who have been suicidal
Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2014. The suicide rate is estimated at one in about 10,000 people. For people who have survived a suicide attempt, the risk is far higher. Today, the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is taking a crucial step to engage this significant population: It is working to create a new division that will give people with the lived experience of suicidal thinking a chance to have a stronger voice in the field of suicide awareness.
This week’s post is about finding connections between two groups of survivors: attempt survivors and people who have lost someone to suicide. Some of us are both.
This fall, I was asked by the editor of Surviving Suicide, a fellow project for the American Association of Suicidology, to write a message for its readers. You can find it here. But in Massachusetts, author and public speaker Craig A. Miller is far ahead on collaborating with loss survivors for suicide awareness work. In the video above, he speaks to a local suicide prevention walk. And below, Craig explains how he came to find common ground between these sometimes very different worlds:
For Veterans Day today, here is our interview with Army veteran Ted Spencer about his experience as part of a pioneering support group for suicide attempt survivors. A founding member of this site, researcher Stephen O’Connor, helped us connect.
Suicide in the military and among veterans is a huge issue. A growing number of people who’ve survived attempts or suicidal thinking are talking about it openly, as this recent series in The Huffington Post shows so well.
As they do, they’re giving the public a vivid idea of what works _ and doesn’t _ in looking for help.