Working in grief and mental health we see the complexity of suicide: the need for prevention and mental health treatment, the complicated grief that can accompany a suicide death, and the stigma that continues to exist around both mental health treatment and suicide deaths.
In honor of Suicide Prevention Week, we wanted to share links and resources (new and old) that we love and think are important to the many aspects of suicide (grief and prevention).
Though the stigma around mental health disorders, treatment, and suicide seems to slowly but surely improve, we all should remember how far we have left to go. If Kevin Breel's TEDxKids video doesn't inspire you, I am not sure what will . . .
2. To Write Love On Her Arms: You cannot be replaced
TWLOHA is a movement whose mission is, " presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery." As wonderful as that mission is, the statement doesn't convey the innovative, creative, and insipiring ways they are opening the dialogue and changing the stigma around mental illness. Don't miss all the great things they are doing to raise awareness this week over on their site. Join their 'you cannot be replaced' campaign by sharing why you can't be replaced. In case you missed mine when I tweeted it the other day:
Thought the above was the only cool campaign TWLOHA has going? Nope. Not even close. Don't miss the Hope Goes Surfing video to raise awareness about depression and seeking support.
So often we brush talk of depression under the rug, perpetuating the vicious cycle of silence and shame that keeps it hanging alone and in the shadows. Waaaaay back in the day, in our very first 'speaking up about grief' post we gave a shout out to Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess aka our internet-crush. We love Jenny for many reasons, but her willingness to talk about her experience with depression, self-harm, and suicide are high on our list. Please please please don't miss her post on depression and self-harm here and her other post on the death of a friend to suicide which talks a lot about the struggle of finding help when you need it most. And because we never pass up a moment to include some music that may bring some comfort or some joy or some light in the darkness, here is Jenny's song to scare away the demons.
I can't even begin to list all the reasons we love the Trevor Project. To sum up quickly what they do: they provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. They have basic info on their site about warning signs, risk factors, facts about suicide, and what you can do. They have also signed on more celebs than we can count to help them normalize the need to TALK about depression, bullying, suicide, and more. Know someone who could use their services? They are available for phone or text support, as well as online chat. They are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 and at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/. We loved this recent video promoting their latest Talk to Me campaign launched for 2013 Suicide Awareness month:
Back in May suicide got big press in the Newsweek article tackling the rise of the suicide epidemic and what can be done to help. It was an outstanding article, from statistics to suicide theory and research. Absolutely worth checking out if you missed it. You can find it here.
Though it may not be quite as trendy - no bright color or celebs - the department of defense staff are trying to get the word out about suicide resources for veterans. The Veterans Crisis Line is also available by phone, text, or chat and can be reached online at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ and by phone at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are a caregiver or just a regular-ol'-caring-community-member who is looking to expand your knowledge and confidence in supporting someone at risk for suicide, this certification training may be for you. This program is the most widely used suicide intervention model, even being used by the US Army. It seeks to go beyond just awareness around suicide risks, and strives to "equip people to respond knowledgeably and competently to persons at risk of suicide. Participants learn and practice skills in identifying and responding to people at immediate risk of suicide". If you are interesting in seeing if a two-day certification program is available in your area or getting more information, visit the Living Works website.
There are several great organizations out there raising awareness about suicide, AFSP is at the top of our list. Their site is incredibly comprehensive with a huge array of resources on everything from prevention to coping with the grief of a suicide death. They are the organization who organizes Out of the Darkness walks. Make sure to check out their website to see all their great resources, but one that we have been especially impressed with is their After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools. This is an outstanding an comprehensive resource that educators (and non-educators) could all benefit from.
Though this week is Suicide Prevention Week, come November there is a day specifically dedicated to those grieving a suicide death. November 23rd is a day for suicide survivors to come together in support and remembrance of the people they have lost. AFPC has a ton of information on their website, including a guide to locating an event in your community, planning an event in your community, as well as free access to past programs that have been offered on Suicide Survivors Day. Check it out.
If you are grieving a suicide death there are many complex emotions that can feel consuming. One of the challenges of a suicide death is that it isn't acknowledged by society in the same way as a cancer death or a car accident. If you missed our post on disenfranchised grief it may be worth checking it out now, to get a handle on how the experience of disenfranchised grief may be impacting you after a suicide death.
Victoria Hospice has a great pdf available online about what to expect when grieving an overdose death with some ideas and resources for coping. As with any grief, your experience is unique to you and your loved one, so you may not related to everything. But chances are you will find at least some useful information that you can relate to. Grief After Suicide.
A while back we reviewed a great activity book put out by the Dougy Center for kids who are survivors of a suicide death. This is an outstanding resource and definitely on our recommend list. There are not too many resources out there for kids who have specifically experienced a suicide death and this one is very well done, so check out our review or visit the Dougy Center's website.
We know there are tons of great suicide resources we have missed, both for prevention and for grief. Share your recommendations in a comment.
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We wrote a book!
After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books: