Recently I was speaking to someone whom I’ve only known a short period of time and the topic of my future plans came up. This person is not involved in suicide prevention at all. As we were talking, she used the phrases “successful suicide,” and “failed attempt.” Inwardly I cringed and debated what to do.
Normally I don’t have that inner debate, but usually I’m talking to people who have signed up for a training or webinar or are professionals. In fact, I can still remember the first time I spoke up. It was about 16 years ago at a regional conference of states and I was representing the organization SPAN USA (Suicide Prevention Action Network) for Pennsylvania. We were in a room and someone said, “failed attempt.” I hadn’t been involved in suicide prevention that long and this was my first interaction with state government and national organization level people so I was a bit...
The recent death of Kate Spade has once again put suicide front and center in the news. I’m happy to see better reporting – at least what I saw on TV was good – they didn’t mention the method and they provided the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number at the end of the segment. But all of this still affects me.
I’m not only an attempt survivor, I’m a loss survivor as well. I lost my brother, two uncles, a cousin, a high school friend and a college classmate to suicide. Not to mention all the people I knew in recovery who took their own lives, usually after a slip of some kind. So whenever I hear of another person dying by suicide, I am deeply, deeply saddened. I know what the journey for those bereaved by suicide is like and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The pain, the guilt, the anger and anguish, the always wondering if you could have done something differently.
I’ve likened my grief and...
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