Romy Carver, you are my hero! I may have been once your teacher and peer, but your willingness to share your story is inspiring to this sage on the stage.
As an suicide intervention specialist, in Tillamook County between 2015 -2019, I know how much work has been done to combat the misunderstanding and fear of the subject. What we found, and you all are still doing, is teaching others how to approach it in a good way. Empowering people with knowledge and actions they can take.
What I know, is that when people are responding in a negative lens, it is coming from fear. “What if I cause the suicide?” “I don’t know who to contact?” “I have those same feelings and I just cant let anyone know.” I believe the intolerance is the fear the individual have in themselves.
A second thing that I know, is that often people are coming from a lens of shame. A family member died by suicide or have a history of mental health in their family. They felt helpless in how to help. “He has called me 20x threatening to kill himself, finally I just said do it!” Even if a individual called 20x’s, that was 20 times they were reaching out for help. With a bit of training you will know what questions to ask, who to contact and how to support that person after the crisis. This is not about you, but about them.
And even if you do not have the capacity to help, find someone who can! That is enough and you have done your part. Maybe, just maybe, if we knew what to say the first or second phone call, the others could be, “I am just calling to tell you I am ok and thank you.”
Past Tillamook County Prevention Coordinator & Suicide Intervention Trainer