Talking About Suicide

Because it's not a taboo

Category: Uncategorized

Talking with Louise Byrne

Louise Byrne, as far as anyone knows, is the world’s first full-time lived experience academic in mental health. It’s her official role at an Australian university, and she came to my attention when her recent thesis popped up on a Lived Experience Research Network listserv. Her introduction, conclusion and particularly chapters four and five are […]

Talking with Megghun Redmon

A conversation with Megghun Redmon is a startling reminder of how little training many mental health professionals get in working with suicidal people. She once had a therapist and psychiatrist who not only were uncomfortable with suicidal thinking but told her, “I don’t know anyone who is.” She then studied social work at a school […]

Talking with Denise Kodi

In the coming days, Denise Kodi will mark 20 years since her suicide attempt. As difficult as the experience was, it became a turning point: “I had nothing left to lose, and I would try to live how I wanted to live.” She went on to travel, teach, write and help others, even going back […]

Talking with Jack Park

Like a growing number of young attempt survivors, Jack Park came out on social media, amplified by Facebook. His response to a pair of suicides among his University of Pennsylvania classmates inspired him to talk openly about his own experience. His post, and students’ responses, quickly turned into national news. Now he spends quite a […]

Talking with Latosha Taylor

This is a story about how a speech has helped to change the course of Latosha Taylor’s life. She spoke to me from Arkansas, where she is acutely aware that her state is far behind in thinking about mental health. “Recovery from mental illness, those words just spoke to me,” she said, recalling that pivotal […]

Talking with Sarah Yoon

Sarah Yoon asked me to use her English name. She continues to sift through her feelings and her identities. “At this moment, right now, I’m trying to figure out who I am. Again,” she says. “I thought I knew.” Here, she talks about life as a Korean-American and cultural pressures to not show the effects […]

Talking with Lilly Glass Akoto

Lilly Glass Akoto is a licensed clinical social worker, and in the course of this conversation she said something startling: “I never got any training, no specific training on suicidal thinking. … there’s nothing to do with helping someone with suicidal thinking. There’s nothing to do with how to talk with somebody, give somebody hope.” […]

Talking with Robert Scott Wall

Robert Scott Wall has gone from homelessness to lobbying for and helping to create an overhaul of Hawaii’s mental health services. We spoke when he was deep into a crucial legislative session, so expect some bursts of bureaucratic language ahead. Here, he tells how his climb from a homeless shelter began with a friendly kidnapping […]

Talking with Alexis Wortley

Alexis Wortley is coming out, here and now. In the eight years since her attempt, she has been embarrassed about giving up on herself and has been seeking atonement for what she did. Seeing another attempt survivor speak openly helped her decide to do the same. As she started sharing with family, friends and colleagues […]

Talking with Sandra Kiume Dawson

The Canadian activist who tweets at @unsuicide has built a peerless guide to the online world of crisis response, and she’s done it on her own time with zero budget. Here, Sandra Kiume Dawson discusses suicide hoaxes, what Twitter does wrong, the need for transparency, why hotlines are outdated, and how to walk the oh-so-careful […]