Suicide & Social Media: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly. Sunday, March 3rd, 9pm ET

SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! Sunday, March 3rd, 9:00 pm ET

 Note from Annemarie @semavav & Tracey @TraceyMedeiros2.

We are “on the road again” Sunday night, March 3rd, so rather than worry about hotel bandwith, we thought this was an appropriate time to pause the YouTube live streaming and revert back to the straightforward Twitter Chat mode.

The topic?

Suicide& Social Media (1)

 

Suicide & Social Media: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly. It’s your turn to Tweet. What’s real? What’s not? What’s a hoax? What’s censorship? Where’s the research? What are the solutions to help clear the clutter & misinformation?

The phrase “moral panic” has repeatedly popped up across social media platforms in the last few weeks. How do we define that as it relates to social media and suicide? There has been heated debate about censorship versus self-expression (however disturbing). Can there not be comprise? Is there no middle ground?

In response to the chatter, AAS released a new tool:

Suicide and Social Media – A tipsheet for parents and providers

AAS also hosted a Facebook Live event:

“…talking about Instagram’s new self-injury and suicide policies, discussing what constitutes censorship, and whether or not we can effectively navigate moral panic to be successful at preventing suicide.

There were a number of articles written. Two examples:

The Daily Mail published Valerie Baumann’s:

Disturbing online world where vulnerable teens share distressing images that can encourage self-harm and suicide

(But does it encourage self-harm and suicide? Do we have the data?)

Julia Jacobs wrote in the New York Times:

Instagram Bans Graphic Images of Self-Harm After Teenager’s Suicide

 

And some feel, way too much media coverage that perpetuated what is a hoax, creating more panic.

 

RollingStone.com published E.J. Dickson’s: What Is the Momo Challenge?

Why parents are freaking out about this terrifying “game”

Wired published Emily Dreyfuss’ How not to fall for viral scares

 

And then, there was the YouTube cartoons concerns:

Brett Molina addressed the outrage in USA Today:

Mom calls out YouTube videos with hidden suicide plan for kids

And there were more articles, letters from schools to parents, news broadcasts, etc.

So, let’s chat – please share your comments, concerns, and suggested solutions. This is your forum.

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@AspieSurvngLoss and Amelia Lehto @Atoes84 Chat about the #AAS Toolkit “Crisis Supports for the Autism Community.”

Autism, Suicide, Crisis Supports

@AspieSurvngLoss Lisa Morgan and Amelia Lehto @Atoes84 Chat about the #AAS Toolkit “Crisis Supports for the Autism Community.”

 

Purpose of the Autism & Suicide Toolkit:

This resource was developed to aide crisis center workers in identifying and supporting autistic callers/texters who are in crisis.

A person with autism may or may not disclose their diagnosis to a crisis center worker or even be aware they are on the autism spectrum, yet still need individualized, specific support.

This resource includes ways to identify potential callers/texters who show autistic traits and characteristics, as well as ways to support an autistic person in crisis.

The resource also explains the unique differences in communication, thought processes, sensory issues, and misunderstandings a crisis worker may encounter while helping an autistic person in crisis.(2018, AAS)

 

Did you know? CDC increased estimate of autism’s prevalence by 15 percent in 2018, to 1 in 59 children

Did you know? The nation still lacks any reliable estimate of autism’s prevalence among adults. As autism is a lifelong condition for most people, this represents an unacceptable gap in our awareness of their needs – particularly in areas such as employment, housing and social inclusion. Each year, an estimated 50,000 teens with autism age out of school-based services.

https://www.autismspeaks.org/science-news/cdc-increases-estimate-autisms-prevalence-15-percent-1-59-children

Toolkit author’s statement: “The decision on whether to use person-first language versus identity-first language is a personal choice. As an autistic adult, I prefer to use identity-first language. I use the word autistic as a descriptive adjective in defining who I am. While other autistic adults may also choose identity-first language, there are people on the spectrum who prefer to use person-first language, not wanting to be defined by autism. In respect for all people diagnosed with autism, I have chosen to use both types of language in this autism-friendly resource to be used in crisis centers as a means to identify and communicate with people in crisis who are diagnosed with autism.” ~ Lisa Morgan

Lisa Morgan

Lisa Morgan

Lisa is author of Living Through Suicide Loss with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a co-author of Been There Done That, Try This! , both published through Jessica Kingsley Publishing.  Lisa is an assistant editor, feature writer, and columnist of Spectrum Women magazine. She is also co-chair of the Suicide and Autism committee of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), a committee dedicated to helping the autism community with all issues of suicide.  Lisa authored, in collaboration with the committee, a first of its kind autism resource to aid crisis center workers communicate with autistic callers/texters who are in crisis.  She has developed and presented two webinars for AAS called “Crisis Supports for the Autism Community – Starting a Conversation” and “Autism Resources for Crisis Centers”.  Lisa is a speaker and advocate for the autism community in issues of suicide.  She is a member of the Community Council of AASET, Autistic Adults and Stakeholders Engaged Together, a team of autistic adults working together to provide the top priorities of the autism community to guide future research topics. In July of 2018, Lisa was invited to speak at the National Academies of Science, Health and Medicine on lived experience with health literacy issues, and is co-authoring a book on the results of that workshop.

Video Link from the July workshop:

http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/Activities/PublicHealth/HealthLiteracy/2018-JUL-11/Videos/Experiences-Panel-Videos/2-Morgan-Video.aspx

 

Amelia

Amelia Lehto

Amelia Lehto is a leader who specializes in suicide prevention and postvention on the local, state and national levels through trainings, advocacy and technology. She is the Vice President for local nonprofit Six Feet Over, Crisis Centers Division Chair for the American Association of Suicidology and works full time for a local Crisis Center.

After experiencing suicide loss at a young age, she discovered that one is not defined by how they died, but how they lived. To quote the famous and family favorite Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

 

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Suicide, Social Media, and Censorship: Reasonable people diverge on difficult issue. 2/19/19 #SPSM #ImpactedFamily #LivedExperience #SuicideReporting

#SPSM will be having an AAS FB Live hosted “very special chat,”  Tuesday 2/19/19, 9pET/8pCT.

When it comes to suicide, social media, memes from Lived Experience, and censorship, it seems wise to invoke the (now infamous) Thomas Joiner Preamble:

“Reasonable people can reasonably disagree about the nature and solutions of difficult problems. ”

Instagram, and by extension its parent company Facebook, announced changes to their policy, disallowing graphic depictions of self-harm. This change follows the death of Molly Russell by suicide. Molly’s parents, in part, blame self harm content from Instagram for her death. 

This disallowing of self-harm content has, at this time, sparked considerable public debate, as well as debate among Suicidologists.

There was also an amazing article in the Atlantic discussing the fact that memes and images about suicide abound on the internet, and given that you can’t police it all, what do you do?

Notable points raised in the last week:

  1. Molly’s death by suicide was likely due to complex factors. Molly, and everyone really, deserves better science about suicide, and a better care system. Right now there is a lot we don’t know about suicide, and a care system that on its best day is still often inadequate.
  2. Debate over whether or not disallowing images of self harm and suicide is helpful or harmful to people at risk of suicide and/or people with lived experience of suicide.
  3. Debate over whether or not the media guidelines for reporters are meant to be applied to individual expressions about their own suicidality on social media.
  4. Debate over whether or not disallowing this content is censorship.
  5. Relatively little conversation was held about how effective such “censorship” will actually be. I.e. is such a thing “suicide prevention theater” due to a moral panic, or an effective means of preventing contagion and limiting harm?
  6. Relatively little conversation about #ImpactedFamily stages of grieving a suicide, including the urge to “do something” in the wake of a loved one’s suicide death, in the face of an inadequate science and health care system.

We will be discussing all of this in a very special, AAS hosted #SPSM chat, on FB Live. Join the old school SPSM gang (@DocForeman, Tony Wood, Dr. Bart Andrews, and Chris Maxwell), 9pET/8pCT.

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@ TCruz76 & Heather Cruz Chat: When the #impactedfamily is Military, but it’s a 2-4-1 night (oh,my!) – then @TraceyMedeiros2 joins Tom to revisit their #AAS18 workshop on #PeerSpecialists

Impacted Military

 

It’s a 2 for 1 night (Oh, my!): When the Impacted Family is Military, followed by Peer Specialist = Lived Experience = Military & Civilian: Still Marginalized or Accepted?

@Tcruz76  with Heather Cruz & then @TraceyMedeiros2 Chat with us.

This is the second chat to address #ImpactedFamilyFriends

Marginalized: adjective

  1. (of a person, group, or concept) treated as insignificant or peripheral.

Unpleasant word. Unpleasant feeling.

The aftermath of a catastrophic event – a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, tends to bring out the best in humanity. Neighborhoods and entire communities come together as never before. Complete strangers reach out to help each other through the challenging, emotional darkness.

But when the perceived catastrophe is a personal tornado, hurricane or psychological earthquake as the result of a loved one’s suicide attempt or other suicidal/self-harm crisis, there is no outpouring of compassion and support.

You stand alone. Terrified. Silent.

Tom Cruz’s attempt survivor story is not easy to tell, but it is part of his life. On November 3, 2010, his life changed forever. He consistently identifies his wife, Heather (then fiancée), as the reason he is still alive.

Heather never left his side during the crisis. Instead, she sat face-to-face with him.

“She told me how much she loved me, and how we would get through this together no matter how bad this was. For the first time, I believed someone actually cared and loved me in a long time. She convinced me to come with her out of the house.”

Cruz first talked about his story in 2011 on Suicide Prevention Day and never stopped. During most of his speaking engagements, Heather was with him. “She was instrumental in my recovery and ambition to stay in the military,” Cruz said.

Heather and he had such an overwhelming positive response that they decided to share their experience to as many people as possible: military units, military bases, Department of Defense organizations, National Suicide Organizations, the White House, Veterans Affairs, private events, social media events and more.

The couple was invited to many conferences across the U.S. and assisted numerous organizations on Twitter and Facebook by training administrators on what to look for and how to respond to veterans in distress.

“I really do think that we have a huge issue on our hands with the amount of active and veterans taking their lives. We hope that we can bring someone out of the darkness that thought they were alone or the only one to experience a certain issue.”

The couple’s main message in these speaking engagements was to make sure no one is alone and that no one has to get to the point of despair like Cruz.

“Working community outreach I usually work with veterans, and Heather usually works with spouses and children. This is a family problem not just one person’s problem and should be treated as such. We really do believe that it is a national issue with community solutions,” Cruz noted.

Tom, Heather 1

Tom, Heather and Holden

Tomas K. Cruz is an Active Duty Master Sergeant in the Unites States Army with over 22 years of service.  He has deployed in support of Operation Joint Guardian, Operation Iraqi Freedom and just returned from a six-month deployment.  MSG Cruz has lived experience with suicide prevention and awareness as he attempted in 2010 to take his life.

Since his attempt MSG Cruz has become a huge advocate of more awareness and prevention for Veterans.  He has taken his skills to social media where he assisted in pioneering two organizations to identify and assist Veterans with mental health issues, suicidal ideations, relationship issues, financial concerns and other Veteran specific issues.  With his own recovery breaking the stigma within the military on career status, family life and security clearance myths he has pushed to bring holistic means to Veterans to the road of recovery.

MSG Cruz has been widely sought by military units, military bases, DoD organizations, National Suicide Organizations and White House for his expertise on Veterans issues and social media.  MSG Cruz is Master Resilience Trained Level One, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Trainer, Question, Persuade, Refer trained, Army Suicide Intervention SI trainer.  He is also the Program Director for Suicide and Awareness with Veterans Counseling Veterans, advisor to Animal Rescue & Veteran Support Services, panel member of Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research with University of South Florida, subject matter expert with White House and Office of the Surgeon General. MSG Cruz received the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) 2017 Voice Award Consumer/Peer/Family Leadership Award for his work to ensure America’s military and veteran communities have access to the mental health and substance use treatment and services they deserve.

Heather Cruz also got involved in suicide prevention for veterans and educates both spouses and veterans. She has completed the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Questions, and Persuade and Refer online (QPR) and Crisis Intervention/Mental Health Training through Mid-Continent University. She has facilitated monthly discussions with the Monthly Military Caregiver Virtual Peer Forum via Skype with the Pentagon. Over the past six years, she was involved in multiple organizations and helped create two organizations that deal with the social media realm, particularly on Facebook.

Tom and Heather are active members of the American Association of Suicidology’s Impacted Family & Friends Committee.

Please join us to hear more about their incredible journey.

 

Part 2! Peer Specialist – Tom Cruz & Tracey Pacheco Medeiros revisit their workshop conversation from #AAS18 in Washington, D.C. – except Tracey was in D.C., Tom was in Belgium. So he beamed in via Facebook Live.

 Peer Specialist = Lived Experience = Military & Civilian: Still Marginalized or Accepted?

Tom Cruz & Tracey Pacheco Medeiros

Advocates for incorporating a peer to peer component into all areas of wellness & recovery have been shouting from the rooftops for decades, but have we in suicide prevention been listening on both the military and civilian fronts?

Is utilizing peer specialists to help prevent suicide viewed as different from, and less acceptable than with addiction recovery?

Is it possible that many in the field of prevention still misunderstand the scope and purpose of the certified peer specialist within mental health support resources and specifically suicide prevention? Is the push back from clinicians fear-driven that a Certified Peer Specialist will “take over” with clients/consumers viewed as peers?

It’s important for other professionals to understand how and why the peer specialist is there. Primarily, because they really do know how the client, patient, consumer does feel. Peer specialists who are suicide attempt survivors or survivors of another form of suicidal crisis have lived this experience. More importantly, they are living, powerful examples of hope – that no matter how dark the moment, there can be a fulfilling life after an attempt or other mental health crisis.

Tom will be coming from the military perspective and will address the importance of peer to peer among military culture, among the Veteran community on social media, the good and bad aspects of peer to peer on social media, and peer to peer benefits within communities as a whole.

From the civilian perspective, Tracey will also note the benefits from the point of view of how having already walked that healing path offers the peer specialist a unique opportunity to share what that was like and how the peer specialist found the experiences helpful to emotional wellness. She will also address the inconsistent reception received from other professional staff within the mental health community in areas of co-occurring disorders and on a crisis response unit.

“I often feel like the ‘token’ peer specialist who is tolerated on site, but not seen as an equally valued member of the team. And if I seek a promotion as a team leader or even assistant team leader, I will no longer be allowed to interact as a peer specialist.” 

tail of the dragon rideTM from mcsp

Tracey Pacheco Medeiros a suicide attempt survivor who loves motorcycles and Minions. As a certified peer specialist, she shares her lived experience with those who are voluntarily admitted  to  a crisis response unit in southeastern MA. An avid gamer, public speaker, and youth advocate, Tracey is also the co-author of a self-published, conversational memoir, Embracing Imperfection, the healing journey of a suicide attempt survivor that she dedicated to teens. Tracey co-developed and facilitates a monthly wellness check workshop series that brings attempt and loss survivors further along the healing path to the same table. An AAS member, she was awarded 3rd place in the 2017 Paul Quinnett Essay Contest with her “Wicked Awesome Wish List.”

Tracey is an active member of the American Association of Suicidology’s

Impacted Family & Friends Committee

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@JudgeWren Chats Judges as Champions 4 Suicide Prevention. Sunday, Feb.10th 9PM ET

Judge wren thumbnail

Judges as Champions for Suicide Prevention

Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 9:00pm ET

 

book judgewren

Court is in session! Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren is an activist, an advocate and declared the Mental Health Court in Broward County a Zero Suicide initiative.

What? Why? What compelled her to take such a radical and visionary stand?

A Problem-Solving court?

How does prejudicial judgement (stigma) impact the work of the courts?

What is Therapeutic Jurisprudence?

How do judges become #Champions4SuicidePrevention?

And what is Judge Wren’s vision for mental health & social justice in America?

  Judge Wren

 

news broward

Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren

Broward County Court Judge

Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, State of Florida

 Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren earned her B.A. degree in Politics and Public Affairs, 1980, University of Miami and J.D. from Shepard Broad College of Law, Nova Southeastern University, 1983 and was elected Broward County Court Judge in 1997.  Judge Lerner-Wren pioneered the first problem solving Mental Health Court in the United States, dedicated to the decriminalization and community-based treatment of persons arrested with mental illness and co-occurring disorders and has diverted more than 21,000 people out of Broward’s jail.

Broward’s Mental Health Court is a national and global model.  Recognitions include:  Broward’s Court was the model for The America’s Law Enforcement & Mental Health Project signed into law by President Bill Clinton in November, 2000.  The Court was showcased at The White House, Conference on Mental Health.   In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Judge Wren to serve on The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, where she chaired the criminal justice subcommittee.

In 2013, Judge Wren was selected Top Finalist, Innovating Justice Award, Hiil Foundation, The Hague, and The Netherlands and received National Council Advocacy and Excellence Award “Elected Official Service” in 2015.  She serves on the Board of Governors, United Way of Broward County Commission on Behavioral Health and Drug Prevention and the Executive Committee, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Advisory Board, International Society Therapeutic Jurisprudence Advisory Board.

Judge Lerner-Wren speaks nationally and internationally on problem-solving justice and mental health courts.  She is an adjunct Professor at Nova Southeastern University and writes on diverse subjects (i.e. mental health, criminal justice, therapeutic jurisprudence, disability and human rights.)  Judge Lerner-Wren is the author of, A Court of Refuge:  Stories from the Bench of America’s First Mental Health Court” published by Beacon Press in 2018.

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@SPSMCHAT 2.0 Reboot! Hosts an Open Mic on Feb. 3rd, 9:00 pm ET. It’s #YourTurn. What are the #HotTopics for you related to suicide prevention, intervention or postvention? Where are the gaps? What might be a solution?

Open Mic

Your Turn – Open Mic

This will only be on Twitter tonight. No YouTube live streaming (something about a football game had the production posse dropping off like flies).

We have hosted three #SPSMCHATs since rebooting on January 13th. The topics have touched on the #ImpactedFamily movement stepping out of the shadows into the light and the new resources that have been developed for self-care. January 20th, the topic was #socialjustice (or injustice) and #suicideprevention. This was the first of what will be three chats to focus on this concern. On January 27th, attempt and loss survivors chatted about their innovative approach to increased emotional balance through a wellness check workshop series that brings attempt and loss survivors further along the healing path together at one table.

Tonight, February 3rd, we’ll step back, pause and turn the #SPSMCHAT to put the focus to what’s on your mind? What has you excited or upset? If you are troubled about a problem or a gap, what might be done to address the problem or help to fill that gap?

  • Is there a report, blog or article that caught your attention? Post it! Let’s chat about it.
  • Did you listen to a really good podcast? Share the link.
  • Did you attend or deliver a training or presentation? Tell us about it. What was your take-away?
  • Are you presenting at #AAS19 or another conference, symposium, workshop, etc.? Tell us about it.

These are just a few suggestions to get the conversation jump started.

Now, about that football game. If you are going to be tangled up in it, feel free to use Hootsuite or other post scheduling software to schedule your Tweet to arrive into the chat stream between 9:00 – 9:30 pm ET. If you do this, please begin your Tweet with:

#spsm

#SPSMCHAT

That way we can capture your posts into the Wakelet curation and everyone can sit down on Monday and catch up with the entire content of the Chat.

For those who may have missed the chats from the first three weeks, the links to the YouTube videos and the Wakelets are below.

January 13, 2019 – Impacted Family & Friends

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV5dz5f4tC4

https://wakelet.com/wake/6b3acacc-9b48-42e8-956f-cddc4f1983c9

January 20, 2019 – Social Justice & Suicide Prevention

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06d9bzVQy-Q

https://wakelet.com/wake/6fb41b8c-fe2e-45e5-98b5-c10d3a42af41

January 27, 2019 – Blended Hearts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc0fEUBP1BY

https://wakelet.com/wake/3a739432-efb3-4680-a482-2746efc7d63d

 

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@TraceyMedeiros2 Chats You did WHAT? with @stevenpalm4 &Mcilwee. Blended Hearts, Voices Blended. #Attempt & #Loss Survivors at one table for #wellness

Tracey Pacheco Medeiros, Steve Palm And Kathy Nemkovich came together for one common purpose – to improve the quality of their respective lives as they continued along a healing path. Tracey, as an attempt survivor, and  Steve and Kathy as loss survivors, came together via a wellness check workshop series co-developed by Tracey, called the Re-Energize & Re-Connect (R&R).

the trio

They are an unlikely trio but together they have impacted hundreds with their “blended hearts” approach. In 2018, they presented the plenary session at the Massachusetts Conference for Suicide Prevention. Please join us tonight as they share a snippet of this journey, including some push back received early on – “You can’t do that! (bring attempt & loss survivors together in wellness workshops).” Well, yes, they can. And they did.

In July 2018, co-developers  Annemarie Matulis  & Tracey delivered a train  the facilitator workshop in southeast Missouri. The Missouri department of mental health now hosts R&R monthly workshops under the guidance of Jacque Christmas @christmasjacque and Cara Bland in Joplin. They have been invited to return to Frederick Community College in Maryland to establish a community/campus site.

As members of the AAS Impacted Family & Friends Committee, the “trio” are also helping to prepare the launch of a sample toolkit for the R & R in March 2019. This is a  collaborative project with A Voice at the Table and AAS, and the 2nd piece of the larger #ImpactedFamilyFriends resources.

What is an R&R?

The Re-Energize & Re-Connect (R & R) wellness check workshops are a common sense, resilience based approach that instills a celebration of life that incorporates protective factors while being creative, holistic, motivating and healing. The central issue is that this new and innovative format fills a much needed gap in support resources for attempt survivors and loss survivors further along the healing path.

In 2013, during the production of our documentary, A Voice at the Table, it became apparent that some attempt survivors further along the path of healing and wellness would still benefit from an occasional gathering with other attempt survivors. Our decision to take this path was confirmed when the MA Department of Public Health issued a call for “new and innovative” support programs for suicide attempt survivors and loss survivors. The concept for the Re-Energize & Re-Connect Wellness Check series was born.

The original (R & R) curriculum went through several revisions, and in 2014, a focus group and a pilot group, and then the first five month series for attempt survivors launched in August 2015 in Taunton MA. By the time the attempt survivor documentary A Voice at the Table debuted at the April 2014 Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Conference, AAS (American Association of Suicidology) had just announced the formation of its new Attempt Survivor/Lived Experience Division. Voices were being heard.

The purpose of the Re-Energize & Re-Connect Workshop series is to offer a safe haven for suicide attempt survivors and suicide loss survivors further along the healing path to come together and re-energize and re-charge their internal psychological, emotional and spiritual “batteries,” and then re-connect with living life fully: to celebrate life, recovery and wellness. Please note – these workshops are not “counseling” or “clinical therapy” and not appropriate for someone still in early grief or a very recent suicidal crisis.

Each workshop creates a retreat-like environment and stepping stone to continued resilience-based wellness – the ultimate protective factor. However, a powerful but unplanned benefit to having both attempt & loss survivors at the same table together is the awareness raised when stories are shared. Loss survivors continue to express gratitude for having a better understanding of their loved ones and attempt survivors express similar emotions as they fully embrace the trauma and tragedy a loss would bring to their own loved ones. This honest sharing positively influences both groups to move forward in continued healing and in many cases, advocacy.

By the end of the workshop process, participants will:
(1) Recognize the need for continued self-care to maintain wellness;
(2) Re-vitalize their commitment to living life fully;
(3) Develop new connections with other suicide attempt & loss survivors;
(4) Recognize the supportive value they can be to others who have similar experiences

 

Tracey Pacheco Medeiros a suicide attempt survivor who loves motorcycles and Minions. As a certified peer specialist, she shares her lived experience with those who are voluntarily admitted  to  a crisis response unit in southeastern MA. An avid gamer, public speaker, and youth advocate, Tracey is also the co-author of a self-published, conversational memoir, Embracing Imperfection, the healing journey of a suicide attempt survivor that she dedicated to teens. Tracey co-developed and facilitates a monthly wellness check workshop series that brings attempt and loss survivors further along the healing path to the same table. An AAS member, she was awarded 3rd place in the 2017 Paul Quinnett Essay Contest with her “Wicked Awesome Wish List.”

steve

Steven Palm @stevenpalm4 (Kacie’s Dad)

For the past three years, Steven has volunteered with the Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention. He has conducted major fundraising efforts and support for the annual “Light the Way” suicide prevention and education walk that takes place in September of each year. He attends monthly self-care workshops sponsored by the BCRCSP, including the Kitchen Table Grief Support Conversations and the Re-energize and Reconnect Wellness Check workshops. He is a frequent presenter at community conversations held throughout Bristol County and has participated in film projects wrapped around supporting families impacted by a suicidal crisis.

Steven is the chairperson for The Kacie Palm Project which is dedicated to youth suicide prevention which includes the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Leadership Task Force and the new Emotional Awareness Children’s Book Series for ages 0-7. Steven is a suicide loss survivor. In July of 2014, Steven lost his precious daughter Kacie to suicide at the age of fourteen. He continues to publicly share his story of grief and healing in the hope it will prevent other families from this tragedy.

kathy nem

Kathy Nemkovich @Mcilwee

Kathy Nemkovich, a member of the Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention, serves as the facilitator for the Fall River Kitchen Table Grief Support Conversation for suicide loss survivors.  After losing her 35-year old sister, Susan Gorgol, to suicide in 2002, Kathy became an advocate for depression awareness and suicide prevention.

While living in Northeastern Pennsylvania, she worked closely with The Advocacy Alliance and members of what is now The Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative to create one of the first support groups in the area specifically for those who lost a loved one to suicide.  She hosted several events, such as Musicians for Mental Health Awareness, to raise funds that were used for training and educational purposes related to awareness, prevention, and ending the stigma associated with suicide.

After relocating to Fall River, MA, in 2013, Kathy joined the Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention (BCRCSP).  Her work with the Kitchen Table Conversation groups and her participation in community awareness campaigns such as Weaving a Tapestry of Hope series and the annual Light The Way walk has provided Kathy with an opportunity to use her personal experience with suicide and grief to help others while she continues to heal as well.  “…The scars you share become lighthouses for people who are headed for the same rocks you hit.”

 

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