In part, one of my conversation with John Lewis, we talked about his son's suicide and how he navigated his grief on a personal level. today In part two, of this conversation about suicide I talked with Marci Wise, a licensed mental health counselor and author, who is devoted to helping empower clients to achieve their most fulfilling life.
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
Suicide Hotline 1 800-2 7 3 -8 2 5 5
Welcome to the unforgettable conversations podcast, where every week I'll introduce you to people from all walks of life, from experts in their fields to ordinary people who have had extraordinary lives. I'm your host, Sandy McKenna. In part, one of my conversation with John Lewis, we talked about his son's suicide and how he navigated his grief on a personal level. today In part two, of this conversation about suicide. I talked with Marcy wise, a licensed mental health counselor and author. Who is devoted to helping empower clients achieve their most fulfilling life. She counsels individuals and couples by offering them tangible tools and techniques. She is also a certified EMDR therapist, helping clients break free from past trauma and unfulfilling life patterns. Her style is direct, active, and non-judgemental she embodies positivity, empathy and hope. Now let's get this conversation started This is a really difficult subject that we're talking about here, suicide. And I really wanted to talk to a professional, somebody who could kind of lead us through this and let us know, what kind of signs can you look for or are there signs in somebody who is thinking of suicide?Marci:
Right. I know. I know. And this is such a difficult topic to wrap your head around, right? Because it's. So the sense was. Really? Is there are some signs that you can look for. I mean, I can't say that you could always tell sometimes people don't show any signs. They just make up their mind in a moment to notice and that's it. But a lot of times there are some trails that you could follow. Um, if somebody is talking about suicide, if they're, if it's coming up, if they're admitting to you that something's going on, you know, talk to them about it, open up a dialogue. For sure. I think there's this false belief that if we, if we really validate it and talk about it, we might actually cement that in their minds and people avoid it. But studies have showed it is exactly the opposite. We want to normalize the fact that people do sometimes feel overwhelmed with life and think, gosh, it would just be easier if I didn't have to deal with this. Just opening up the line of communication is huge. So if they're talking about. Allow them to talk about it, open up a dialogue, be there for that person. The other thing I want to say, though, that I think is, so interesting to me is that it's not necessarily a terrible, terrible thing. If people are saying that young people today actually have a lot of suicidal ideation, I worked at Florida, Gulf coast, universities, uh, counseling and psychological services for a year. I will tell you almost everything. Person I had in their late teens, early twenties, if I said, do you ever have suicidal thoughts? Yes, yes I do. And at first it was petrifying, right? You're thinking are all these people in danger, but it's just, you know, when you ask them about it, they say, I don't really want to die. I just don't want to live this way anymore. So you can't, don't be too frightened if somebody says that to you. I think it's just a cry for help, but you also don't want to dismiss any of, either of them.
Now. What if you do see signs?Marci:
Well, what we do, and then I would suggest that probably anybody follows the same path is sort of assess the seriousness of it. We look for. Is there a. Do you know how you do it kind of get an idea of what's going on in their mind. Do you have a true intent to do it? Because again, they might say, no, I just, I really don't want to live this way anymore. And I don't know what to do. And then sort of assess, do they have means to. You know, are there firearms in the home? Are there, they're saying their pills in the medicine cabinet or where my mind goes, these are things you need to know, because then you could take steps to begin to remove those things, right? Knowledge is power. So don't be afraid to have a conversation.
What if somebody expresses something? Where do you go from there?Marci:
Well, I think the first thing you really want to do is be there for that person and just say, Hey, listen, if you need somebody to talk to my door is always open to you. Right. I think if we know we have somebody to lean on that in itself is transformational so many people though, I think, feel so long in today's world. So you definitely want to open up a dialogue and then if you can find this person, a therapist, that would be great. I mentioned how the, the millennials that I saw at the university all had the suicidal ideation. I think there's a whole group of people now in a certain age frame, especially young people who don't have coping skills, they don't know what to do with this. So if you can get therapy, learn some mindfulness techniques, a little bit of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is like psychology 1 0 1, how the brain works, then we are not such a slave to our emotions.
what if somebody that you love or care about or know commit suicide? How do you get through that?Marci:
Well, that is one of the hardest things, right? I mean, it's, there's actually an astronomical number two. And for anybody that might even be thinking about committing suicide the study showed that if someone in your family had committed suicide, there's a 65% chance that someone else in your family will commit suicide. So just know that while you may think you're ending your suffering, it is continuing a legacy. And that, to me, that was just an incredible figure. Right. But if you are, you know, in that unfortunate position where you've lost someone, you really got to give yourself some space to process that there there's no timetable. Don't say I should be over this. No, it's you are going to be changed. There are certain therapies though, that can be amazingly helpful. I'm a, I actually am a specialist in EMDR. I don't know if you're familiar with that. It's eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing, but it's, it's the gold standard for PTSD and it works great for grief. It desensitizes those feelings that we have for sometimes people go for years with that, you know, I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it. I can't eat, I can't sleep. There's a saying, pain is inevitable. But suffering is optional. And so go, go find yourself an EMDR therapist. It's not going to take away what happened, but it can reduce your reaction to that pain.
Oh, that's interesting.Marci:
Yeah. Yeah. And there, I mean, do people don't really know about this, but it works. I can tell you I worked. So I see it every day and you just hate to see people suffering unnecessarily. Right? I would just say the big takeaway on something like that is it takes time. You're not going to be the same afterwards. If you can focus on getting back to remembering that person's life and not the way that they died, that's the key to kind of taking back because you know, something like suicide, you get so focused on that event. We don't want that to steal away the memories of this amazing interview.
Well, Thank you. That that really is so helpful. And is there somewhere, a hotline or something that if somebody is in crisis at that moment, they should callMarci:
called the national suicide prevention lifeline. The number is 1 802 7 3 82 55. And it's, it's a great resource because it's, staffed with people who have. They know this, they know this, this is not uncommon for people to think. Gosh, I don't know. Can I go on another moment? They're going to be able to talk to you, you know, help you feel understood. Maybe even refer you to some of those resources that I was talking about earlier. So you don't have to be alone. It's, you know, you can even be anonymous on the phone if you want. But reach out to somebody. It feels like the loneliest place in the world. I think when you are maybe in that space where you're considering something like that, but there's no reason we have to be alone.
This has been a very difficult subject. So I went to the suicide prevention, lifeline.org. It's a great resource here's some of the information that i found if you have considered suicide. There is hope. And there is help. There were so many ways that you can help yourself. And there were a number of resources at suicide prevention, lifeline.org. Suicide prevention, lifeline.org. There you can find a therapist or a support group. You can build a support network. You can express yourself. You can make a safety plan. Speaking to someone, whether. By going to a therapist or by attending a support group. I can help you feel better and improve your mental health. Build a support network. You don't have to deal with a crisis on your own. Those you choose to confide in, can provide you encouragement and help you through the crisis. Use your support network leaning on your support network can help you cope during difficult moments and is an important step in getting help and moving forward. Express yourself during difficult situations, it's natural to shut down, but keeping your emotions bottled up makes it harder for your support network to help you. Reach out to people who you trust. We'll have the ability to be sympathetic and non-judgemental. Keep an open mind. Keeping in mind that the advice and support of others comes from a good place. We may not necessarily agree with the advice we're given. But staying open-minded and receptive to outside perspectives and opinions can help strengthen your support network. And make a safety plan. A safety plan is the designated guide. To help you through a crisis. As you continue through steps, you can get help and feel safer. Keep your plan easily accessible in case you have thoughts of hurting yourself. First recognize your personal warning signs. What thoughts, images, moods, situations, and behaviors indicate to you that a crisis may be developing. Write these down in your own words. Then you should run coping strategies, lists things that you do on your own to help you not act out urges to harm yourself. Socialize with others who may offer support as well as a distraction from the crisis list. People in social settings that may help you take your mind off difficult thoughts or feelings. Contact family members or friends who may help resolve a crisis. Make a list of people who were supportive and who you feel can talk to you when you're under stress. Contact mental health professionals or agencies. Make a list of names, numbers, and or locations of clinicians, local emergency rooms and crisis hotlines. Put the lifeline number 1 802 7 3 8 2 5 5. Into your phone. And finally ensure your environment is safe.