What’s wrong with Prince Ea’s message about depression, if anything?

I think this is a powerful video that contains a compelling idea that has the potential to help a lot of people who closely identify their sense of self with the contents of their consciousness or their description of their current state of consciousness. The distinction that Prince Ea is trying to help people recognize about themselves and their life experiences is a crucial one to understand if someone is going to join the ranks of people fortunate enough to have even a single self-transcendent moment during their lives.
 
With that said, I tweeted these thoughts to him this morning after re-watching his video about depression.
 
“they always come and go” @PrinceEa It’s presumptuous to claim to know what it is like to be anyone else regardless of YOUr view & YOUr life
Some are more unlucky than others. Some would accurately describe the contents of their consciousness as constantly cloudy, no? @PrinceEa
 
I think what Prince Ea is saying about depression is similar to what Tim Ferriss has published on the subject – How You Label Determines How You Feel –  and I genuinely think their ideas are potentially helpful for many people.  The brain is the most complex and least understood object in the known universe.  Consciousness remains an enduring mystery to humankind.  Clearly some people are dealt significantly less advantageous hands in life than other people both genetically and environmentally.  I aspire to never make definitive claims about what it’s like for someone else to have the hand they have, like I think Prince Ea did in his video when he suggested that depressive moods or feelings, “…always come and go.”   Despite believing that he’s expressed an insightful idea that many or even most people can relate to as the truth, it’s reasonable to suggest that some people’s subjective experience of the content of their consciousness objectively does not match Prince Ea’s description of the transient nature of such experiences or states of consciousness.
Just a few days ago, I had a Twitter exchange with Kendra Kantor, a blogger who had written the following about herself in a piece also published by TheMighty.com:
The fact is I’m a woman with depression and anxiety. No matter how well I manage my symptoms through medication, therapy, meditation or even exercise, I will have these illnesses for my entire life.
After reading her entire piece I tweeted the following:
Thanks for this piece @KendraKantor Given how little we understand about the brain, how do you “know” you’ll be ill for your “entire life”?
She responded as follows:
@iameinstein Thanks for reading! I suppose I don’t KNOW for 100% because science advancements and the brain can change but I know my…
@iameinstein anxiety and depression are chemical in nature, not situational, and so I personally believe it’s something I’ll deal with…
@iameinstein my whole life. That’s not to say I don’t believe (or HOPE) that I’ll have months or years of “normal” but it’s still part of me
And I replied as follows:
Got it @KendraKantor. Brain plasticity and inevitable advances in neuroscience were behind why I asked. Thx for the detailed clarification.
Kendra Kantor conceded that her claim about “knowing” the future is unreasonably definitive considering our current  scientific understanding of how the neuronal biology of homo sapiens functions to produce human consciousness and the stream of thoughts, intentions and feelings that occupy it.  To apply Prince Ea’s point of view as I see it, even though Kendra admits that her claim was overstated, and she has a belief about her future self versus certain knowledge of it, it seems reasonable to suggest that someone who believes that future suffering is inevitable is more likely to continue to experience such suffering compared to someone who believes that transformational change in one’s own state of consciousness is possible.
I do not know precisely why Kendra Kantor suffers as she does, and no one else does either, including her.   And while I assert that she is someone that may benefit from thinking about her suffering in the way that Prince Ea suggests, unlike him (maybe), I will readily concede that Kendra may turn out to be objectively correct about her claim of lifelong suffering regardless of what she believes about the feasibility of not suffering in the future.
 
 

What can corporate leaders do to reduce suicide?

Based on 2014 statistics, 117 Americans die by suicide every single day.  These deaths are preventable.

Suicide costs this country $44 Billion a year in lost productivity and medical costs alone, and the pain and suffering experienced by survivors in the wake of a suicide eludes accurate measurement.

This country loses over 42,000 lives to suicide every year.  Please consider taking any if not all of the following life-saving steps to reduce the number of preventable suicide deaths in the United States:

  • If you don’t currently provide your team members with a  way to reach out anonymously for help from a counselor integrate the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) Interactive Screening Program with your Employee Assistance Program.
  • Utilize the AFSP’s Talk Saves Lives presentation to educate your team members about the warning signs of suicide and why and  how to get help when they see them in themselves or others.
  • Encourage your team members to advocate for increased public funding to reduce suicide.
  • In the unfortunate event that you lose a team member to suicide avail yourself of the AFSP’s survivor support services as needed.
  • Until we garner enough political will to dedicate the public funding necessary to dramatically reduce the suicide rate, please support reputable, well-managed suicide awareness and prevention nonprofits like the AFSP to save lives.

Arresting the rising U.S. suicide rate and saving thousands of lives lost to this preventable cause of death are feasible goals within our collective reach.  Please join the growing number of people personally taking ownership of reducing the number of suicide deaths in this country.

Please join us in the fight to bring about the beginning of the end of suicide.

Please visit AFSP.org for more information.

One way Vice President Biden can help reduce suicide

One way Vice President Biden can help:  raise awareness about the fight to reduce suicide by meeting with the leadership of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

 

May 31, 2016
Dear xxxxxxxxxxxxxx:
Please see below for a meeting request for Vice President Biden.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Francesco Bellafante
Dear Mr. Vice President:
Nine years after I graduated from Archmere Academy I nearly died by suicide when I was 27 years old.  Eighteen years after my suicidal crisis I am grateful to be a Philadelphia chapter board member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the leading nonprofit at the center of the fight to reduce the mortality of suicide in this country.  Our mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.

In a couple weeks hundreds of AFSP volunteers will visit Washington D.C. to meet with lawmakers to advocate for increased federal funding for evidence-based suicide prevention programs.  The AFSP has an ambitious goal and a practical plan to reduce the U.S. suicide rate by 20% by 2025.  I am writing to ask you to please consider meeting with the leadership of the AFSP before you leave office.  Robert Gebbia, our CEO, Dr. Christine Moutier, our Chief Medical Officer, and John Madigan, our Vice President of Public Policy would greatly appreciate the opportunity to brief you on our strategy to save the lives of thousands of Americans.  If your schedule permits, a brief meeting with you on June 14th would undoubtedly energize our growing group of thoughtful, committed citizens dedicated to reducing suicide.

We are convinced that our movement is approaching a tipping point in garnering the political will necessary to halt the rising U.S. suicide rate.  Your help in raising awareness about this preventable cause of death will hasten the arrival of the day when suicide is no longer one of the top ten causes of death in this country.  Thank you for your time and consideration, and thank you for being a living example of the positive difference that one person can make in the lives of others.

Sincerely,
Francesco Bellafante
Archmere Academy Class of 1989
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Philadelphia Chapter Board Member

June 2, 2016

[I received an email response indicating that I would hear shortly about Vice President Biden’s availability to meet on June 14.]

 

UPDATE

June 16, 2016

Unfortunately Vice President Biden’s schedule on the 14th didn’t afford him the opportunity to meet with the leadership of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention…  but we still have 145 days left to try to make this meeting happen!

How you can help prevent suicide now

Know the warning signs for a suicide attempt, and get help if you see them in yourself or a loved one, friend or associate.  Click on the image below to review the warning signs and how to get help when needed.

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Advocate for the cause!  The suicide awareness and prevention movement is on the verge of garnering the political will necessary to allocate the federal funds needed to reduce the suicide rate.  Please become an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Field Advocate for the cause by clicking on the image below to join the growing number of Americans advocating law and policy makers to reduce the mortality of suicide.

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If you or someone you know is in the midst of a suicidal crisis, someone is available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, and a suicidal crisis is an emergency, so you can call 911 too.

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The mysterious and tragic death of Francesco “Chi-Chi” Bellafante

committed — “the beginning of the end of suicide”
the brand new greatest story ever told — part 3

Chi-Chi was born in the seaside town of Francavilla al Mare, Italy in 1900 and began working in pyrotechnics when he was sixteen. By his thirty-sixth birthday he’d become a skilled craftsman in the art of manufacturing and setting off spectacular displays of explosive flying projectiles, better known as fireworks. The lure of opportunity across the Atlantic fueled his growing desire to leave Europe, find a wife and emigrate to America. He was fond of the eldest daughter of Angelo Mancinelli, a tax collector who lived a few miles South in Canosa Sannita, but she was unimpressed with his proposal of marriage and the idea of starting a family in the United States. Teresa wasn’t interested in trading her life of relative ease and comfort in the small town near the Adriatic for an uncertain future with a man she barely knew, in a country where she didn’t speak the language. Fortunately for Francesco, my paternal grandfather-to-be and namesake, Teresa’s younger sister Emma was fond of the young pyrotechnician, and she possessed a degree of wanderlust that her older sister did not. Emma and Francesco were married, and then Francesco made his way to America in advance of his new wife, to find work and a place to live. Upon his arrival at Ellis Island he American-ized his first name to ‘Frank’ as was the custom for many European immigrants with foreign-sounding names who were intent on finding success in their new, adopted homeland. He traveled to Boston where relatives helped him find a job at a local fireworks manufacturer. He found an apartment in Randolph, a suburb of Boston, and sent word to Emma. Shortly thereafter she arrived in the States, and the newlyweds began their new life together in America. The year was 1937.

Within a year and a half, Emma gave birth to their first child, a boy that they named Franco, my father-to-be. In 1940, my grandfather’s employer went out of business, and Francesco had difficulty finding work, so he relocated the family South to Wilmington, Delaware. The family grew over the next several years. Emma gave birth to two more children, both girls, Isabella and Susanna. By the late 40’s my grandfather had saved enough money to become a homeowner, and move the family out of their one bedroom apartment and into a two-story duplex with three bedrooms — a tangible piece of the American dream.

Emma had never been particularly happy about her husband’s chosen occupation due to the dangers inherent in working with explosives. Having three children to care for only added to her consternation. In the summer of 1950, concerned for her husband’s safety, she pleaded with Francesco, imploring him to stop working with fireworks. Emma wanted her husband to find a job where he wasn’t one mishap away from the unthinkable happening. He wasn’t particularly receptive to the idea. Francesco was fifty years old and an expert in his field. He made a decent wage; plus, he enjoyed the work. Emma persisted. Nicholas Salvatore, her next door neighbor while growing up in Canosa Sannita, had also left Italy and settled in Wilmington. Emma convinced Nicholas to offer her husband a job as an apprentice butcher, but Francesco didn’t take it. He had little desire to start over in a new profession.

Unfortunately, Emma’s fears turned out to be eerily prophetic, when less than two years later, the unthinkable actually happened. The death of my namesake was a front-page story in the local newspaper three days after Christmas in 1951.
I was thirty-three years old when I visited the library in the city of Wilmington to search for the microfilm containing the news story about his demise.FrancescoKilled1The headline read: Workman Killed by Blast In Elkton Defense Plant. Defense plant? I thought when I read it. That was news to me, as I had always thought my grandfather died making fireworks, not explosives for a war. I knew the name of the company where he worked, Crown Fireworks & Display Company, but my father had never mentioned anything about it being a defense contractor. The few details about my grandfather’s life that I did know came from the handful of stories my father told about him. My father described how Francesco had a daily routine during the workweek that rarely varied. He would wake very early each morning, and leave the house by five o’clock so that he’d have enough time to walk the three and a half miles to the train station, in order to arrive on time for work in Elkton. He would return home around seven o’clock, take a quick nap and then eat dinner. After that my father would sit with his dad as he did “piece-work” to supplement his income. Francesco assembled fireworks fuses for a penny apiece. My father would keep a running count of how many fuses his father had made. During the summer months, part of Francesco’s job included setting off fireworks at Woodside Amusement Park every Friday in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. There were rides and food and games and prizes and moving picture shows. The fireworks display was the culmination of the evening’s festivities. Each week, Francesco would pick up my father from home in a company truck and head North to Philadelphia. Franco would take in a Hop-a-long Cassidy picture show while his father was busy setting up. After dusk, exploding projectiles composed of combustible chemical compounds lit up the night sky as the crowd gathered would ooh and ahh. Afterwards my father helped clean up and load the truck.

The story my father tells about the day his mother’s worst fears were realized is a short, sad one. He was on the sidewalk across the street from his house talking with a grade school friend when he heard his mother screaming his name, “Franco! Franco, where are you?! Franco!” Not surprisingly he has a flashbulb-memory of the moment that he learned that his life would be forever altered. It was more than three decades after my grandfather’s passing when my father retold the story of that day, in detail, to the whole family over dinner. “I can still see her standing on the porch screaming. She was hysterical; she had this frantic look in her eyes. The sound of her cries gave me chills. I knew the moment I saw her. I knew something terrible had happened; I knew something had happened to my father,” he said. My grandmother told my father there had been an accident at work and that Francesco was in the hospital. Franco stayed at home to watch his two younger sisters while Emma made her way to the hospital as quickly as possible. Francesco was still alive when she arrived, but he had first, second and third degree burns over most of his body, and died within a few hours. She returned home that night to give her children the dreadful news. Over the span of a single afternoon, my father had become the “man of the house.” He was thirteen years old.

Little was known about the circumstances surrounding my grandfather’s death. My father knew that there had been a large explosion followed by a fire, and that his father had been the only fatality. He was adamant about wanting to discover precisely what had gone wrong that day, but he was never able to discover the truth. Although he has never said precisely why, my father has always had the feeling that his father’s co-workers knew more than what they said about what had happened that fateful day. I can understand his curiosity. Had his father made a mistake that led to his own death? Or had someone else made a mistake? Or maybe it was a situation where his father saw something about to go terribly wrong, and he was trying to prevent it. The answers to these questions seemed unknowable. The truth of what happened apparently lost in the same fire that cut short my grandfather’s life.

The microfilm article I’d found contained another revelation about the circumstances surrounding the blast that day. The sub-headline read: Wilmington Man Fatally Burned, Another Injured by Mystery Explosion That Destroys 2 Company Buildings. That someone else had been injured that day was news to me as well. More from the article itself:

Frank Bellafante, 51, of 611 Concord Avenue, Wilmington, died at 8 o’clock tonight in Elkton’s Union Hospital of first, second and third degree burns of the entire body. A fellow workman, Lee Hill, 18, of Elkton, was treated at the hospital for minor burns. A third man in the immediate vicinity of the explosion escaped injury.

After I shared these details with my father, he said that he had never heard of Lee Hill, and he hadn’t known that anyone else had been injured that day. It was 2004 when I discovered this article; fifty-three years after the story it told. Lee Hill was only eighteen years old when this happened. There was a chance he might still be alive. And even if he was deceased, if he had any children, the story they may have been told about that day might have included more information about the explosion than the version I knew. Maybe the truth wasn’t irrevocably lost. A few other details from the article painted at least a vague picture of the scene of the blast that took my namesake’s life:

Authorities said the building in which the blast occurred was completely destroyed, as well as an adjacent building. No definite cause of the explosion could be established, but one source reported that the three workmen were engaged in loading explosives on a truck when the accident occurred. The blast was heard two miles away.

It’s a wonder my grandfather even made it to the hospital alive, I thought. The revelation that he was making munitions for the war in Korea as opposed to making fireworks is hardly surprising. Money talks, and it’s not hard to imagine that fulfilling defense contracts for the war would be more lucrative than manufacturing fireworks for entertainment purposes. This relatively minor revision to the personal history of my grandfather had more than a minor impact on me when I learned of it. My grandfather had left Italy as fascism was on the rise there and in Germany leading up to World War II. He had aspired to make his living as a pyrotechnician, and to raise a family in America. That he perished while handling munitions bound for a different war, half a world away in Southeast Asia, gave me pause. Of course without more information, I can’t know for sure that my grandfather’s death was specifically attributable to the fact that he was working with munitions instead of fireworks. Before reading the article about the day my grandfather died, I used to have a somewhat romanticized view of my grandfather’s life and death. Most likely due to projecting desires about myself onto my grandfather’s life, I had always viewed fireworks as a sort of pyrotechnical art form, and him therefore, as an artist. One who painted the night skies with sensational, dazzling displays of exploding light and color. In my idealized view of him, his refusal of my grandmother’s pleas to find work in a safer occupation was an artist refusing to give up his art despite the dangers inherent in creating it. In the story I subconsciously told myself about my namesake, Francesco Bellafante was a passionate, adventurous artist who had traveled to a new world to practice his art, and who died doing what he loved. In this fantastical story born in my imagination, his death was some kind of noble, mythical martyrdom in the name of art. Learning that he died making bombs to be dropped on people halfway around the world instead, helped shatter my fanciful notions about his death. Clearly my grandfather’s death was a profound tragedy that caused immense amounts of pain and suffering for his family. And it would have been no less tragic had he been loading that truck with a batch of shells for the celebration of the upcoming New Year.

What I have never had a single fanciful notion about was what life was like for the Bellafante family after my grandfather’s death. In the immediate aftermath of his passing my grandmother became literally sick with grief. She was so hysterically despondent that she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for five weeks. Four-year-old Susanna was sent to Boston to stay with relatives. Nine-year-old Isabella stayed with friends of the family in the neighborhood, while my father, the thirteen-year-old man of the house stayed at home, alone. What had been a family of five, living a relatively happy life just two days after celebrating Christmas together, was transformed, in an instant, by a mysterious explosion, into a grieving widow in a mental ward with three, young, fatherless children with shattered lives. That is the inescapably sad truth about what happened that day, regardless of how or why it happened.

The deeper truth that I saw more clearly after reading and fully digesting the article about my grandfather’s violent, tragic end was one that I had always known was there. The experience left me with a deeper appreciation for the reason behind why I had previously had a tendency to think of my grandfather’s death in a romanticized way. It wasn’t because I was named after the man, nor was it because of my own desire to make a living as an artist instead of as some sort of business professional. Nor was it because I had never met him or knew very little about him. The reason, in fact, was quite simple and rather obvious actually: I was scared to death of death.

Can suicide attempt survivors be “stereotyped”?

Fellow Philadelphian, suicide attempt survivor and suicide prevention activist Dese’Rae L. Stage regularly tweets that, “Suicide attempt survivors cannot be stereotyped.  We are anyone and everyone.”Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 9.54.14 AM

While I think I understand and agree with why Dese’Rae says this, I’m compelled to distinguish the cognitive dissonance that arises within me whenever I see this idea expressed on Twitter or anywhere else.

The inclination to end one’s life can arise within anyone.  Despite suicide attempts occurring more frequently in some demographic groups compared to others, there is plenty of evidence that indicates that suicidal ideations do not discriminate based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc.  Given the dictionary definition of the word “stereotype”:

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…and its inclusion of the phrase “fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person,” here again I find myself nodding and thinking: yes, many people hold oversimplified and factually inaccurate beliefs about people who die by suicide or attempt suicide.  I think many people believe that people who attempt suicide are weak, selfish cowards, and I stand side by side with my fellow behavioral healthcare advocates in working to dispel these notions as false, disempowering ones that only add to the stigma reinforcing beliefs held by many people concerning individuals with lived experience of mental illness.  I’ve published thoughts on this specific subject before.

It takes courage, massive amounts of courage to willfully end your own life.  It takes a special kind of brazen audacity to attempt to intentionally cause your heart to stop beating, knowing, to some degree at least, how much pain and suffering that ending your own pitiful misery will cause for those who have the deep misfortune of loving and caring about you.  Many think suicidal people are selfish cowards.  I won’t claim that there has never been a person who has killed themselves that fits that description, as far as how they lived their life.  But I will offer that anyone who thinks those two words: selfish and cowardly—about the act of suicide itself, has no first hand experience with the morbid deed.  The biological instinct for self-preservation is an almost insurmountable force to overcome.  Death is the greatest unknown and fear-inspiring phenomenon facing every human being that ever has and ever will live.  Possessing an enormous amount of courage is a prerequisite for completing a suicide.  I don’t think that suicide can be accurately described as selfish either, although I understand why people are prone to do so.  Selfish – the dictionary defines the word as:  lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.  While many survivors of suicide, (the friends and family of people who have died by suicide) may rightfully wonder how much consideration was given to their feelings by the recently deceased, it is impossible for someone who has died to experience “personal profit or pleasure.”  The ending of psychic or emotional pain and suffering by death does not result in pleasure, and the absence of pain does not necessitate the existence of its opposite.  The suicidal act itself therefore, by definition, cannot accurately be described as a selfish one as I see it.  Suicide is the extinguishing of the self.  An act that causes the self to no longer exist is not selfish, rather it is selfless.

While I think many people have oversimplified and factually incorrect beliefs about those who attempt suicide, I believe one effective way to fight the rising U.S. suicide rate is to correctly identify and inform as many people as possible of the types of behavior that people exhibit prior to making a suicide attempt so that life-saving interventions can take place prior to an attempt occurring.  Dr. Thomas Joiner, an American academic psychologist and nationally recognized expert on suicide authored the book Why People Die by Suicide in 2005.  From Amazon.com:

Drawing on extensive clinical and epidemiological evidence, as well as personal experience, Thomas Joiner brings a comprehensive understanding to seemingly incomprehensible behavior. Among the many people who have considered, attempted, or died by suicide, he finds three factors that mark those most at risk of death: the feeling of being a burden on loved ones; the sense of isolation; and, chillingly, the learned ability to hurt oneself.

Granted, I think it is correct to say that Dr. Joiner is not attempting to “stereotype” people who die by or attempt suicide; he paints a highly nuanced portrait of the suicidal person and the types of thoughts and behaviors that many people have or exhibit prior to attempting suicide.  In other words, it seems to me that Dr. Joiner and many others working to fight suicide are rightfully trying to identify the “type” of people who attempt suicide by exploring suicidal thinking and behavior assiduously.

As a suicide attempt survivor and prevention activist who works in this cause day in and day out, I repeatedly recognize thoughts I had years ago prior to my suicide attempt in stories in the press involving  suicide.  This happened this week when UFC fighter Ronda Rousey appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and publicly shared about a suicidal ideation she recently had after losing a fight.

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“What am I anymore if I’m not this?” Ronda Rousey

After reading this brief from the New York Times, I thought: if she had made an attempt, it would have been an egotistical suicide attempt, very similar to mine.  It seems to me that Rousey’s suicidal ideation stemmed from a sudden, unexpected and irrefutable challenge to her self-conception as a UFC champion.  Her seemingly fleeting thoughts of ending her own life arose out of an attachment to seeing herself (and being seen by others) as a UFC champion, and a temporary unwillingness to see herself as anything else.  The thought of not seeing herself and not being seen as a UFC champion seemed, fortunately temporarily, unbearable to her.

When I was 27 years old, a challenging work assignment in a particular business area where I had no prior experience, presented an almost unbearable challenge to my own self-identity.  The experience that I went through so challenged my positive self image as someone able to tackle any obstacle put in front of me that I became unsure of absolutely everything.  Up until the time that I began to have suicidal ideations, I had never doubted my mental faculties, but the psychological crisis I became embroiled in shattered my sense of self and stripped away any prior sense of self-esteem and self confidence, and replaced those attributes with self doubt and eventually self loathing.  Hope and excitement for what lay ahead of me in the future were replaced with fear, even dread of what people would think of me if they learned about my psychological and emotional collapse.

My suicide attempt was an egotistical one based on feeling ashamed for not living up to my own potential as I saw it, and I think Ronda Rousey’s would have been too, if she had made an attempt.  I’m happy that she did not, and I am grateful that it occurred to her to share about her suicidal ideations publicly, prompting me to share these thoughts.  Einstein, like many other scientists, believed that free will was an illusion, and a product of a belief in another illusion: the “self” or the story we’re continually telling ourselves and others about who and what we are. I believe recognizing the “self” and free will for the illusions that they are, represents a radical yet promising pathway to reduce the suicide rate.

In conclusion, I do think Dese’Rae is right:  suicide attempters cannot and should not be “stereotyped,” but working diligently to identify the types of thinking and behavior that people who attempt suicide exhibit, essentially, identifying the type of people prone to attempting suicide lies at the heart of causing the beginning of the end of suicide in the U.S. and beyond.

Flashback Friday: A look back at the beginning of “the beginning of the end of suicide”

This video includes clips from a few different vignettes from seven years ago when my strategy for sharing the story I wanted to tell and the lessons learned from it was focused on telling the story via a dramatic feature length film.  While I still resolutely believe in the story’s inherent appeal for movie-going audiences in America and beyond, I’m not married to the idea of it first being shared via that medium necessarily.

“Andy DuFraine” is the person speaking in this video;  he came across YouTube videos I was posting online back in 2009 and initiated a dialogue with me.  We barely knew each other back then when he recorded this audio where he shares some flattering and optimistic feedback about his vision of the potential positive impact of the activism work I was and am now again engaged in, to fight suicide.

I hope he’s right.