- I am less than one year out from my most recent suicide attempt or loss.
- I’ve never spoken up about my experience(s) with suicide, but recently feel I need/want to.
- I am concerned that disclosing how I have been affected by suicide/suicidal thoughts and behavior will be used against me. I think I’m ready to discuss how I’ve been affected by suicide, but want help thinking through the pros and cons.
- I do not feel confident in my current mental wellness to cope with any additional stress at this time. How do I know if I’m in a good place mentally to begin this work?
- I fear that becoming a suicide prevention change agent will lead to further disappointment and loss.
What Do I Need to Know?
Many people who are recently bereaved by suicide or recently recovering from another suicidal experience in their lives, often find themselves in a place where they feel compelled to help others in some way, to make meaning out of their despair. If you are new to this area of suicide prevention and are someone who has recently lost a loved one or who has lived through your own suicide crisis, we are so glad you are here. When we find ourselves in these major transitions, it’s a good practice to slow things down a bit, and discern: am I ready for this?
Reflecting on the following questions can help you sort out how you might begin your journey into the suicide prevention movement:
How is my current mental wellness?
Grief and trauma can cause major disruption. Take this brief screening tool to assess your current level of mental health: http://helpyourselfhelpothers.org/
Do I have a wellness or safety plan to help me cope?
You can build them. Learn more. Wellness Recovery Action Plans:
http://mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrap-is/ and www.My3App.org
Am I prepared for potential discrimination or prejudice, if I am a publicly disclosed person with lived experience of suicide?
Stigma is real. Once you are “out,” it is hard to reclaim your story. Take a moment to evaluate the risks and opportunities you may face if others know your experiences.
Am I prepared for disappointment?
The urgency for those of us who have experienced suicide or suicide crises can be intense. We want large scale change now! The truth is change can be hard. Setbacks, conflict, failure, and backlash are all part of the change process. When we have “fire in the belly” because we have lived through it, we can take these obstacles personally.
What will others think about my lived experience disclosure?
You may be ready to start carrying the flag for the movement, but are your loved ones?
Your employer? Your school? Treatment providers involved in your story? Sometimes your story can spill over and affect others in ways you may not have intended. Everyone has a unique perspective – your “reality” may not match theirs.
Can I be someone with lived experience and not disclose?
Certainly. The choice to disclose or not is yours. We’d love your help either way.