This week’s post features excerpts from an interview with Kimberly O’Brien, a professor at Simmons School of Social Work and Harvard Medical School who is using her personal experience to inform her work. The SocialWork@Simmons blog published the full interview last month and invited us to share it, “to help contextualize how talking about suicide and sharing stories makes a significant impact.” Kimberly also uses the chance to promote the recently released report “The Way Forward,” a federally funded project by a national attempt survivor task force that demands sweeping change. (She even made a video to support it.)
Here are excerpts from her interview:
On Wednesday, a spirited project called Now Matters Now launches with tools designed to help people work through suicidal thinking. It stands out because the team behind it, including the young researcher leading it, knows what suicidal thinking feels like.
From time to time, we’ll be posting on research related to suicide attempts. There is so much about suicidal thinking that the learned experts don’t yet understand, and one purpose of this blog is to bring together their voices with the voices of the lived-experience experts _ those of us who’ve been through it. This is where your thoughts and contributions are needed. Our “Contact us” page now lists several topics that are meant to nudge you into writing.
Stephen O’Connor is a founding contributor of this blog and a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. In a field where many researchers might feel more comfortable keeping their subjects at a distance, and where many clinicians refuse to treat suicidal patients because of concerns about lawsuits and other issues, Stephen has kindly agreed to write a half-dozen posts on research this year.
As he writes here, he wants to hear from attempt survivors on where research findings “may seem accurate or somehow miss the mark.”