0028 Thrive and Connect: Suicide Survivors – LOSSTeam: Dr. Lee LeGrice

National Suicide Prevention Life Line 1-800-273-TALK, that’s 1-800-273-8255.

In the Dallas – Ft. Worth area you can get help at Mental Health of America of Greater Tarrant County’s web site (http://www.mhatc.org/) or call (817) 546-7826.hope-candle-hands11205410_s

LOSSTeam information can be gotten at www.lossteam.com.

02:41 Introduction.

03:08 1-in-4 effected by mental health issues. Dr. Lee LeGrice (DrLeeLeGrice.com) starts by saying 1 in 4 Americans are impacted by mental health issues.

04:11 LOSSTeam formation and being a survivor. She proceeds to discuss how the LOSSTeam came about by the efforts by her and others (Regina Preatorious and Lezlie Culver). She shares the impact of her own story as a suicide survivor who lost a high school friend and how it provided impetus to be involved in creating the LOSSTeam. Similar to other survivors, she still thinks about and feels the loss of that friend and its impact, especially wondering if there was something different she could have done to help that friend. That thinking ranges out to include the lost loved one’s family and other friends.

06:36 Overcoming stigma-being there for others. Dr LeGrice encourages the listener to approach someone they may feel is at risk and get beyond the possible though, “If I bring it up I’ll be putting the idea of suicide in their mind.” If a person is at risk they are already thinking about suicide so push through the discomfort and reach out.

07:40 The LOSSTeam and community. By participating with the LOSSTeam you might just help someone who is suffering mental health issues and/or is at risk for completing suicide. It is this spirit that brought the team members together.

08:53 The importance of survivors to the LOSSTeam. Dr. LeGrice mentions the major contribution made by Lezlie Culver in getting the team started and bringing it to community.

09:54 Shame, confusion, and ambivalence. The signs of suicide may not be that clear. People at risk can be ambivalent and go back and forth between living and wanting to die. One should stay away from blaming self for missing signs of suicide because it may not be that clear.

11:56 The challenge of making sense. The difficult feelings can arise from our desire to make sense of the suicide, an event that turns one’s world upside down. Acceptance and finding a place within oneself for the lost loved one is discussed.

13:14 If at risk…connect…create a space. Having friends and being able to broach difficult topics such as suicide is recommended. It is normal to have periodic thoughts about suicide so the risk of bringing up the topic may be less than anticipated. By broaching the subject the stigma can be reduced. Dr. LeGrice recommends coming up along side the at-risk individual and listen, offer connect. Doing that first will help the person in finding a solution to the problem they are trying to solve.

18:15 LOSSTeam members walk along side. The ability to be with a recent survivor and calmly provide acceptance and understanding, even without speaking, is one of the powers of the LOSSTeam member.

19:38 Mythology – the common experience. The LOSSTeam member brings the universality of the experience of loss to the situation and is able to help the recent survivor, at times starting at eye contact.

20:56 What if they ARE having suicidal thoughts? Training models can be found that help in answering that question. It’s important, though, to be able to talk with an at-risk friend in a simple, direct, supportive manner. In other words, a lot of times it really helps for a friend to just be with the at-risk individual and affirm the sharing of the suicidal thoughts. The importance of finding a mental health professional after a conversation is opened is stressed. The friend just provides friendship. Counseling is for others.

23:59 Professionals and their understanding/training. Dr. LeGrice discusses resources available to professionals in a metropolitan area vs. more sparsely populated areas. The importance of primary care physicians including screening as part of intake interviews as well as periodically is stressed. This is especially true when dealing with a person not showing outward symptoms. Web and phone capabilities are discussed as well. LOSSTeam.com is referenced as a good place to start in looking for resources.

28:24 Personal impact of LOSSTeam work on Dr. LeGrice. Dr. LeGrice shares the growth experiences she has experienced by performing the challenging work associated with being a suicide survivor as well as a mental health professional. She shares the story of being called out in response to a 16 year old having completed suicide and having to be with the parents — the same day she was celebrating her 10 year old son’s birthday and the resulting confluence. Not only did it have a personal impact it influenced her professional practice. She discusses the heightened awareness of life and the fact we don’t know what our tomorrow will bring so enjoy what one has today.

National Suicide Prevention Life Line 1-800-273-TALK, that’s 1-800-273-8255.

In the Dallas – Ft. Worth area you can get help at Mental Health of America of Greater Tarrant County’s web site (http://www.mhatc.org/) or call (817) 546-7826.

LOSSTeam information can be gotten at www.lossteam.com.

Comments or questions? Send and email including your name to comments@thriveandconnect.com or leave a message at 614-664-7650. We will respond in a later episode.

35:45 END

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