Understand Suicide

Understand Suicide

By Paula Fontenelle
Here we will create a safe community to fight the stigma surrounding suicide. I will interview specialists, survivors, and individuals who have a story to tell. We will cover a variety of themes: grief, warning signs, risk factors, contagion, youth, and most importantly, what can be done to prevent suicide.
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Ep. 7 - My interview to Cynthia Boyd

Understand Suicide

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Ep. 25 - The pandemic and its impact on mental health - Interview Jonathan Singer (Part 1)
Jonathan Singer is a clinical social worker and the president of the American Association of Suicidology. In this interview, we discuss how the pandemic has impacted individuals, families, work relations, and communities. He talks about the challenges we all face to maintain a healthy routine, how mental health workers are dealing with the demand, the effect of losing social connection with others, and how to deal with anxiety and loneliness during the quarantine. Dr. Singer is the co-author of the 2015 Routledge text “Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention.” He is the founder and host of the award-winning podcast series, the Social Work Podcast. Visit the American Association of Suicidology: https://suicidology.org/ For more information on suicide, visit:  https://www.understandsuicide.com/ This watch this interview on my YouTube Channel "Understand Suicide" My book "Understanding suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" https://amzn.to/2ANczuR
26:22
May 28, 2020
Ep. 24 - She reinvented her life after losing her brother to suicide / Sally Spencer-Thomas
Sally Spencer-Thomas is an award-winning speaker in mental health. After losing her brother Carson to suicide, in 2004, she focused her work as a psychologist to fighting the stigma surrounding suicide.  In this interview, she tells her Carson's story, how it impacted her family, and how she dealt with her own mental illness, which was partially caused by the trauma of losing him.  Sally discusses how suicide affects first-responders, who often experience compassion fatigue, the importance of being open about our own struggles, and sends a powerful message to religious leaders regarding their approach to suicide.   She has earned an international reputation as an entrepreneur and innovator in social change and has held leadership roles with the International Association of Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology. In 2016, she was invited to speak at the White House on men’s mental health.   Her website https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/   For more information on suicide, visit:  www.understandsuicide.com   This watch this interview on my YouTube Channel "Understand Suicide" https://youtu.be/V5rLKYnpskY  My book "Understanding suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention"  https://amzn.to/2ANczuR
42:21
May 21, 2020
Ep. 23 - The masks we wear when in pain: he attempted suicide but all everyone saw was a perfect life / Interview John Nieuwenburg
John Nieuwenburg is an award-winning business coach from Canada with a supportive family and wife, but this is only one side of his story. For years, he hid from everyone his feelings of hopelessness, until his depression took its toll and he attempted suicide.   In this interview, John told me that when he looks back, it's hard for him to recognize the man from that past, particularly the person who attempted suicide. "The last 5 years have been the best in my life. Off the charts great!"    He also talks about the shame he felt for not being happy despite everything he had accomplished, the impact his Ted Talk had on his career and personal life, and his dedication to breaking the silence surrounding mental illness and suicide.   Watch his Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STMp6w38k3g  For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com This interview can be watched on my YouTube Channel "Understand Suicide."  https://youtu.be/Ro3iKJ301Tw
34:01
May 14, 2020
Ep. 22 - Stigma and mental illness: Is awareness enough? Interview Dr. Patrick Corrigan
Psychologist Dr. Patrick Corrigan has struggled with mental illness all his life and has dedicated his profession to fighting the discrimination experienced by those with psychiatric conditions. In this eye-opening interview, I asked him what we can do to help society fight the stigma associated with mental illnesses, which leads so many people to suicide. He said that contrary to general belief, education is just a small step; sometimes, it can make matter worse. The most effective way is to connect with others who have lived experience with mental illness.  Dr. Patrick has dedicated his life to understanding what works and the misconceptions we have when combatting stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination against the mentally ill.  His research group is currently recruiting for a study on stigma and suicide. They are seeking adults with lived experience of suicidal thoughts or a suicide attempt to take a 20-minute survey about suicide disclosure. If you are interested in participating, CLICK HERE or copy the link below: https://iitresearchrs.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2bO6dp7cMEEzoZD If you want more information on suicide visit: www.understandsuicide.com  This interview can be watched on my YouTube channel. My book "Understanding suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" is on Amazon.
39:57
May 6, 2020
Ep. 21 - Childhood grief: how to tell kids about death / Interview Donna Schuurman
In this interview, Donna Schuurman talks about how to open up a dialogue about grief with children. She gives valuable tips on finding appropriate language, how kids express emotions, what to avoid, and ways in which families can come together after the loss of a loved one. She also discusses the peculiarities of suicide grief and the challenges that come with having to talk about this kind of death.   Donna is the senior director of advocacy and training at The Dougy Center, in Portland/OR, a place where families receive free grief therapy and other services. For more information visit www.dougy.org. They also have a podcast called "Grief out loud."   For more information on Suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com   You can watch this interview and many others on my YouTube Channel "Understand Suicide."  My book "Understanding suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
39:31
April 28, 2020
Ep. 20 - Youth suicide: helping parents take action / Interview Norine Vanderhooven
For the past 3 years, Norine Vanderhooven has been the Chair of the Youth Suicide Prevention Committee of the American Association of Suicidology. As a clinical social worker, she has vast experience in treating trauma and suicide-related issues.   In this interview, she helps parents understand the main factors associated with youth suicide, identify signs, and take action to protect their kids.   You can watch this interview is available on my YouTube channel "Understand Suicide" For more information on suicide visit www.understandsuicide.com  My book "Understanding suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" is available on Amazon.
31:45
April 20, 2020
Ep. 19 - Talking to my sister about dad's suicide
Suicide has a devastating impact on families, especially if blaming is present and the individual ways of grieving are not respected. In this conversation, I talk to my older sister Renata about the ways we see dad's suicide and our personal grieving processes. We go through some of the emotions both of us experienced (or not), such as sadness, anger, guilt, memory loss, and mental confusion, as well as the differences in our views. If you want to watch this interview, go to my Youtube channel "Understand Suicide." More information on suicide at www.understandsuicide.com. My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
26:50
April 12, 2020
Ep. 18 - Grieving a loved one / A conversation with clinical psychologist Brian Goff
Brian Goff is a Clinical Psychologist with a private practice in Portland, OR. In this interview, he talks about the natural responses we experience when grieving, particularly when the death is by suicide.  We discuss emotions, society's expectations of what is "healthy," what differentiates suicide grief from other types of death, and ways to go through it in a more compassionate manner. If you want to watch this interview, go to my Youtube channel "Understand Suicide." More information on suicide at www.understandsuicide.com. My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
33:02
April 2, 2020
Ep. 17 - Struggling with suicidal ideation / Interview Heidi Lindman
Heidi Lindman has struggled with suicidal ideation since her teenage years, but she has found a compassionate way to deal with them. In this interview, we talk about when these thoughts first came up, their impact on her life, and how she has developed a relationship with them. Heidi says that her recurrent ideation has taught her how to recognize and welcome emotions. Today, she works as a therapist in Broomfield/CO, helping others find alternatives to suicide, as well as to reframe their suicidal thoughts. Click to watch this interview, go to my Youtube channel "Understand Suicide." More information on suicide at www.understandsuicide.com. My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
30:36
March 26, 2020
Ep. 16 - She lost her brother to suicide, then turned pain into healing others / Interview Mariangela Abeo
Mariangela Abeo attempted suicide at the age of 17. Her brother helped her then. Years later, he took his own life. One of the ways she found to cope with the pain was by creating the project Faces of Fortitude. She travels the country photographing people who lost loved ones to suicide. In this interview, she shares what led her to a suicide attempt, the need we survivors have to break the silence surrounding this theme, and how her initiative has helped bring healing to those touched by voluntary death. If you want to watch this interview, go to my Youtube channel "Understand Suicide." More information on suicide at www.understandsuicide.com. My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
33:27
March 19, 2020
Ep. 15 - He had given up / Interview Steven Webb
Steve has lived a life of adversity. Some of the struggles he deals with on a daily basis would make most of us question the meaning of life, including being paralyzed from the neck down, having experienced a painful divorce, and bankruptcy. In this interview, we talk about the day he planned to take his life, and what made him change his mind. In his own words: "I have found ways to have freedom, calmness and ultimately peace of mind.  I love my life. By helping you to change your perspective, look at things differently and take control of your life I will give you the freedom and serenity back you deserve."  If you want to watch this interview, visit my Youtube channel "Understand Suicide." More information on suicide at www.understandsuicide.com. My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
40:55
March 12, 2020
Ep. 14 - Trauma and the body / Interview Danielle Rousseau
We tend to believe that trauma is a "thing of the mind," but that is not true. Part of this experience is stored in the body, which should be incorporated into one's healing journey. In this interview, I talked to author Danielle Rousseau, who teaches at Boston University and works as a counselor, and a certified yoga teacher. She discusses the many ways in which trauma expresses itself in the body, how to treat it, and the benefits of adopting a holistic approach to trauma-informed care. Find more resources on trauma-informed yoga, including links to online classes, on my website under Resources/Podcast.  My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
41:12
March 4, 2020
Ep. 13 - The US Military, PTSD and suicide / Interview Timothy Wienecke
There are many misconceptions regarding the US Military, PTSD, and suicide. In this episode, Timothy Wienecke - who was in the Air Force for five years and now works as a counselor - talks about the struggles surrounding the military community, how they deal with mental health, myths that need to be combatted, and how to support this population.  For the Veterans Crisis Line, call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, use the Veterans Crisis Line online chat, or send a text message to the Veterans Crisis Line at 838255. More information on suicide at www.understandsuicide.com. My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
40:46
February 25, 2020
Ep. 12 - Grief or PTSD? Interview Casey VanHoutan
Losing someone to suicide is a traumatic event, and trauma can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, but how can one know the difference? In this episode, therapist Casey VanHoutan explains how PTSD affects people, its symptoms, the various types of treatment available for patients, and how to address it without judgment in a society that tends to rush through trauma as a way to avoid pain. If you are interested in more resources on attachment theory, visit my website and click on "podcast." My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
26:11
February 18, 2020
Ep. 11 - Relationships and suicide / Interview Peter Lovenheim
Having a strong support system is a protective factor against suicide, so relationships are central to healing. In this interview, the award-winning journalist Peter Lovenheim, author of "The Attachment Effect" talks about how early childhood bonds shape the way we relate to others. For more on the author, visit www.peterlovenheim.com. If you are interested in more resources on attachment theory, visit my website and click on "podcast." My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
39:36
February 12, 2020
Ep. 10 - Helping suicidal people / Interview Khara Croswaite
Most of us have encountered a person who is contemplating suicide, but very few of us know that. In this interview, counselor Khara Croswaite Brindle talks about the common traits shared by those who are suicidal, how to approach them and build effective safety plans, and how suicidality shows up in the younger generations. Khara works in Denver, Colorado. Her work focuses on young adult professionals, with an emphasis on healing trauma and supporting personal growth. For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
36:23
January 21, 2020
Ep. 9 - Suicide Warning Signs
Knowing how to identify warning signs is the first step to save a life. In this episode, I give many examples of the verbal and non-verbal warning signs given by those who are contemplating self-inflicted death. After detailing them, I give suggestions on what can be done in case you believe a loved one is at risk for suicide, as well as the common mistakes that should be avoided so that such actions can lead to saving lives. For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
24:55
January 11, 2020
Ep. 8 - Suicide in schools / Interview Marti Diaz Domm
Marti Diaz Domm worked in the Oregon educational system for more than two decades. She describes how mental health issues are handled within the schools, the changes that need to be made so that educators are better prepared to deal with them, and she shares with us her own story involving a loss of a dear student by suicide. For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
36:19
December 23, 2019
Ep. 7 - My interview to Cynthia Boyd
In this interview, we covered quite a range of topics. Cynthia Boyd asked me about youth suicide: its causes, the impact of social media, and why it has been rising in the United States. We also talked about warning signs and what to do if you know someone at risk for suicide, especially how to listen to them. Cynthia’s podcast Our Collaboration Station is a space for people to connect and encourage one another to pursue their goals and obtain their peace in life. It can be found on Anchor.fm and Spotify. If you find that you could be a guest on her podcast, send her a message to mywritingsinthesand@gmail.com For more information on suicide visit www.understandsuicide.com Or find my book Understanding suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention on Amazon.
36:48
December 9, 2019
Ep. 6 - Struggling with mental illness / Interview Doree D'Angelo
Doree talks about her life with mental illness and how it led her to suicide attempts. In the midst of her struggle, she found people who were understanding of her condition and willing to help. Doree brings a message of hope to those who are at risk for suicide. For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
26:26
November 30, 2019
Ep. 5 - Support groups and grief counseling / Leslie Storm part 2
In this episode, Leslie Storm talks about grief counseling and support groups. She also shares the story of her own loss as a counselor, when one of her patients took her own life.  For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
25:01
November 11, 2019
Ep. 4 - Losing a husband to suicide - Interview Leslie Storm Part 1
Leslie Storm knows suicide from both personal and professional viewpoints. After losing her husband to self-inflicted death, she became a grief counselor and a facilitator of suicide support groups in Portland, Oregon. In part one of this interview, she talks from the perspective of a survivor, highlighting the events that led to her husband's death to how friends and family reacted to it. For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
26:11
October 26, 2019
Ep. 3 Religion and suicide - Interview Dr. Rand Michael
Dr. Rand Michael is a clergy person, a counselor, and was a professor for twenty-six years. In this interview, he talks about the importance of listening to someone's pain without judgment, regardless of one's religion or spiritual view on suicide. For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
31:38
October 14, 2019
Ep. 2 - Losing a daughter to suicide / Interview Mindy
Mindy lost her daughter to suicide in 2017. She shares her grief process, what has helped her, rituals that keep her daughter present, and how her other kids have each dealt differently with the loss. For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
30:46
October 4, 2019
Ep. 1 - My story
In this episode, I tell the story of my father's suicide and how it affected my family.  For more information on suicide, visit: www.understandsuicide.com My book "Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention" can be found on Amazon.
21:07
September 14, 2019