• Ashley Rivard

#1 Brian Stefan : Suicide

This transcript was exported on Dec 10, 2020 - listen to the podcast here


Brian Stefan:

Empathy is about connection, and if I open up and I let someone in and they know about something, the taboo, if they know about that thing, then they can't love me.


Ashley Rivard:

Hey, guys. I'm Ashley Dawn Rivard, and you are now Into The Dawn. A provocative podcast that looks at all things taboo, such as suicide, grief, sex, addictions, and more. Each week I talk with experts who successfully investigate their areas of interest. And if you like what you hear, please remember to subscribe.


Ashley Rivard:

Brian Stefan is a former intelligence analyst with the FBI's Joint Regional Intelligence Center. He's worked with Los Angeles Mayor's Crisis Response Team and suicide response team. He has facilitated support groups for adults who are bereaved and for those who have attempted suicide. He's currently developing a curriculum for gatekeepers to make suicide prevention conversations more accessible for everyone. 1 million people worldwide die by suicide every year. 1.2 million people attempt in the US every year. 47,000 in the US take their life by suicide every year, and of that, 37,000 are males and 10,000 approximately females. It's the second leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 15 to 24 years old. Tell me, how did you become involved at the suicide prevention center as a crisis counselor?


Brian Stefan:

Well, I got involved when I lost a friend to suicide. It was a great shock to me, and it really scared me because I always thought that her and I were so similar and it scared me that if someone as accomplished, and successful, and friendly, and beautiful, and charming, and funny, and always helping everyone, if someone like that could die by suicide then I didn't know what that meant for me. At first it came from a place of fear. At that time I didn't really understand much about suicide except for what I learned from TV and movies. So I grieved my friend's death, but there was something there that I wanted to learn more about when I found out there was opportunities for people to volunteer and talk to people on a crisis hotline and there are similar opportunities all over the country, people do that.


Brian Stefan:

And then when I started learning more about suicide and suffering in sacred silence and learning that, talking about suicide and being honest about what's going on inside, it's not just okay, it's the path towards healing. So what I've found is that I've been able to grieve and make meaning around my friend's death and also I've gotten to learn more about myself and it's just completely changed my life. And so while I wish that my friend hadn't died, of course, I feel honored. I think it's something like that. I feel honored that I'm able to do something with that pain and with that loss. And it's been four or so years now and it's been really personally and professionally gratifying and also just healing. I feel like I've gotten a lot from this, so that's how I found my way here.


Ashley Rivard:

Wow. What in your opinion then from working on the lines have you learned is the root cause of suicide?


Brian Stefan:

I think from my own experience and my point of view, it's a sense of disconnection. People who have any experience with the 12-step program they may have heard that adage that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection, and I think that's definitely true with suicidal thoughts and suicide in general is that, there's so much stigma and there's so much misunderstandings around suicide. And so, being disconnected from family, being disconnected from loved ones, being disconnected from our dreams or our goals, being disconnected from ourselves. I think that when people throw out words and talk about other risk factors like hopelessness and helplessness and substance use or mental health concerns, all of those things that are true, it's a sense of being disconnected.


Brian Stefan:

Because when we wake up and feel alone, and today is going to be just like yesterday, and what's the point, all of these thoughts, which turns out the research tells us is something that almost everyone, if not every human will experience, the sense of like, I'm just done. It's a sense of disconnection that I think is present. I think disconnection is the thing that makes suicide continue, and connection is the thing that can stop that. And it's paradoxical because of course we're not told that it's okay to talk about suicide, yet the only way out is through, and that's true with suicidal thoughts too. So I think a sense of disconnection for me is the biggest feature of suicide.


Ashley Rivard:

You mentioned something about the misconceptions people have. Can you expand on some of those misconceptions that are out there regarding suicide?


Brian Stefan:

Yeah. There's lots of books and articles going back, hundreds and hundreds, thousands of years probably, about different cultural and religious aspects of death, dying, suicide, self-harm, and I'm not an expert on those. It's just interesting to note that there's a layer on top of all of this which is our culture, where we come from, our families. So all of us... Death is scary. At least, the way I was raised is that death is not something that we should talk about, we don't see it. So with suicide, even more so. One of the most damaging or unhelpful stigmas around suicide is that if you talk about this, you can make it worse. You can make the suicide stronger, you can fan the flames. That's one of the biggest stigmas is that, if you're having thoughts of suicide, there's something wrong with you. If you talk about it and you say it out loud, it can make it worse.


Ashley Rivard:

For the person or if somebody asks the person, are you thinking about suicide?


Brian Stefan:

Well, both. And I think that that's one of the reasons why so many people may struggle at first with broaching the topic. There's a sense of, number one, I don't want to ask because the answer could be very scary and I don't know how to handle it.


Ashley Rivard:

Or they could do it.


Brian Stefan:

Yeah. They make you do it. Like I could be the thing and-


Ashley Rivard:

That pushes them over.


Brian Stefan:

Pushes them over the edge. No pun intended. But that's the sense and that's certainly the way that I was raised. There's a lot of things that we're not allowed to talk about in polite company, and suicide, along with all the other things it's... But it's hard because... Here's another piece of it which I think is important and I've learned through my work on a crisis hotline, is that people feel bad as though they did it, as though they made the thoughts. They take ownership over those suicidal thoughts. Yes, that's another stigma, is that we make our thoughts and that we are responsible for our thoughts, but I'm glad we live in the age that we do and so the research and all of the scholarship now tells us, that's not really how it works. We don't make our thoughts so much as we experience our thoughts, and our thoughts and our mind is one of just reacting to the things around us.


Brian Stefan:

I heard a quote a while ago then it helps me and I've used on the lines and I think it helps people who are in crisis. It's, your brain produces thoughts like your mouth produces saliva.


Ashley Rivard:

I like that.


Brian Stefan:

But we don't get mad at our mouth for producing saliva. You're at a restaurant, you see the food coming and you start to salivate. We don't get mad at ourselves for that but we beat ourselves up over our thoughts-


Ashley Rivard:

Absolutely.


Brian Stefan:

... yet it's just what brains do. We have 10 thoughts every second. We're only aware of maybe one or two of them but with 10 thoughts every second, we can, and I know I have in the past, I've beaten myself up over one thought I had five years ago and I keep rehashing it as if that will change it or it means something about myself. I think that's one of the things that's so helpful about mindfulness or DBT is that if we can get some space between ourselves and our thoughts, we are not our thoughts. And just because you're having thoughts of suicide, actually it doesn't mean you're a suicidal person. And just because you're having thoughts of suicide, that alone, it just means you're a human being, and you are someone who is going through something and it's probably scary.


Brian Stefan:

And here's something else that I've learned from on the lines is that, sometimes people call when the suicidal thoughts have been happening so often and they've been just keeping it to themselves and it's scary and it's scary and it's scary, and then all of a sudden one day, it's not scary anymore. And that, can scare people. Because all of a sudden it's just, well, I guess, this is my lot in life. I guess I'm just a person who is always thinking about suicide. The person's relationship to their thoughts about suicide is really important. Sometimes it's not the thoughts that are so painful, it's the thoughts about the thoughts. Why can't I stop thinking about suicide?


Ashley Rivard:

Intrusive thoughts.


Brian Stefan:

Yeah, right. Why can't I stop this? Now that I want to... Again, it goes back to that, I am responsible for my thoughts and I am in control of everything that's happening on the inside of me. But that's not really... At least that's... I subscribe to the point of view that that's not really how it is inside us. We are experiencing so much. So I think, if all those things are true or possible, then we don't need to...


Brian Stefan:

Brene Brown. I love when she talks about the difference between guilt and shame and that's certainly the case with suicide, is that, sure, there's things that we can feel guilty over. Okay. I got a ticket or I didn't turn this thing in and my boss yelled at me, next time I'm going to try to turn it in sooner and I feel guilty. So guilt is, I made a mistake, shame is, I am a mistake. And if we can separate the sense of shame and self-recrimination, I'm broken, there's something wrong with me, then I feel like we can start having conversations about what's going on. And that's what we get when we talk to people.


Ashley Rivard:

That's good. I was going to ask you this a little later but it plays on what you were just saying. I wanted to make a statement and then have you expand on how that relates or what comes to mind. The statement is, the barriers to empathy are the taboos we carry around.


Brian Stefan:

Oh, yeah. I agree with that. A 100%. I can speak from my own experience in my own life. The taboos are the things that's keeping me separate from everyone. There's taboos around sex, religion, professional taboos, personal taboos. The private spaces that we have that we're worried that if they became public then people may look at us differently or however we talk about or think about taboos. Empathy is about connection, and if I open up and I let someone in and they know about something, the taboo, if they know about that thing, then they can't love me. The unconditional positive regard that comes with empathy and then the kind of empathy that interestingly, a crisis counselor on a hotline can give to a caller. There is an amazing freedom that comes not only with the anonymity and the confidentiality from the caller's point of view they can experience but also from us is that, there's no baggage, there's no family ties, there's no personal history. There's just two people. It's just honesty, as they say in 12-step programs, rigorous honesty.


Brian Stefan:

And so all of a sudden, nothing's off limits and there's no judgments. So that quote that you read, the thing that's getting in between the empathy would be judging. It's easy to judge. It's so easy. But to actually hear when someone is talking about the pain that they feel that maybe the type of love that they have in their heart they can't express openly because they have, in the past, had someone judge them for it. Or someone whose legal status, perhaps, is something that they don't feel like they can share or maybe in the past they've been marginalized and othered as a result. These are blocks to us connecting. And there's so many different types of taboos, of course, yet we all speak the same language. We all have the same basic things we want. We want to be connected.


Ashley Rivard:

Right.


Brian Stefan:

We want to feel love. It's interesting how similar we all are, and I've learned that by talking to people who are in deep, deep, crisis, suicidal crisis, and what ended up happening is, I thought I was going to help people who were thinking about killing themselves but what ended up happening is I went there and I was the one who was changed.


Ashley Rivard:

I love that.


Brian Stefan:

And that's a beautiful thing. Personally, I don't like it when people tell me what to do. I certainly don't like it when people tell me how to feel. And if someone told me not to kill myself, I don't think I would listen to anything they said after that. So it's been a great experience to sit with people and we're both changed for it.


Ashley Rivard:

What is empathy versus sympathy?


Brian Stefan:

For me, empathy is about humility. At least, for me, humility is the thing that makes the empathy go. Without a sense of humility, and by that I mean, I don't know what it's like to be you and I want to know, and I'm going to try to know. And in the trying, and in the yearning, and the seeking to know, and entering a space where there is, not only balance but we are on the same plane versus... And I'm sure there's probably a better dictionary definition, but for me, that is what empathy looks like. Sympathy, however, is definitely a different kind of positionality for sure. And it's also, I'm happy to learn as much about you as I need in order to pass judgment.


Ashley Rivard:

Wow.


Brian Stefan:

I think. That's just what I'm coming up with now, that feels right to me. Because empathy, again, with humility, I think it's the wanting to know that makes suicide prevention, which is just another way of saying conversations about suicide. I think it's the yearning and the wanting to know. Tell me more, I'm curious. Because most of our conversations in our lives, when someone's upset, we want it to be over. Here's the tissue. Let's talk about lunch. Let's move on. But no, what if, what you just said is important. I totally understand why you're having these thoughts, why you're experiencing these thoughts. Tell me more.


Ashley Rivard:

Sitting in the dark.


Brian Stefan:

Sitting in the dark place. As I just said a few minutes ago, when I started sitting in the dark place, I started finding my own healing. And I don't use these words lightly when I say that sitting in another person's darkness and despair, actually illuminates both people's lives, so long as you enter that space in a non-judgemental, in a humble way, in a patient way. In a patient way.


Brian Stefan:

If somebody has been calling a line for six months every day and hanging up at the beginning of every call because they're so frightened of hearing another voice, and finally on the day that they start talking and I'm the one who ends up, which happened, and I'm the one, it's like the patience, and the care, and the respect. And before I started working in this space, I thought those were just words and they didn't mean anything but they are the most important things. It's almost like, it's something to live into. These words... It's almost like it's something... It's like love is a verb. It's something that we do. And anyone can do it. Anyone can do it.


Ashley Rivard:

It's a practice.


Brian Stefan:

It's a practice. And it's not something to perfect. And I don't think that someone who's in deep despair, whether it's a crisis that has a suicidal aspect to it or if someone's just in a crisis, not only do we not need to be perfect, nobody wants to talk to a perfect person. I think that our flaws and warts and all... I think that's another important aspect of connection, is that we don't need to appear any type of way except to be ourselves. And the great thing is we all have an inner compass. Our intuition is really good at telling us if something is going on. If you're sitting with someone and you get a sense that there's something wrong, that means something. It's worth-


Ashley Rivard:

Exploring.


Brian Stefan:

... exploring that. Yeah. And so it's interesting how we all have in us, everything we need to do what we've been talking about. Anyone can do suicide prevention. It's just another way of saying, how to talk to someone in a way that is honest, and is real, and is present. And yes, it takes practice but it's absolutely possible. If I could do it, anybody could do it.


Ashley Rivard:

Yeah. What do you think is the root cause of suicide?


Brian Stefan:

Here's something else which is really hard and it's true for me, I've struggled with this is, the sense that, the way it feels right now, the way it is today, this is how it's going to be forever.


Ashley Rivard:

Totally.


Brian Stefan:

And I have never been able to think my way out of that. I've certainly tried and I've maybe even... You try to journal your way out of that, you try to yoga your way out of that, you try to-


Ashley Rivard:

Drink your way out of that.


Brian Stefan:

Drink. There's so many different ways. There's so many different ways that we can... Now we can numb ourselves, certainly, but the only way out of that, again, the only way out is through, it's scary. I heard a thing a while ago that someone said, "Fake it till you make it." I heard someone say, "Face it till you make it."


Ashley Rivard:

I love that.


Brian Stefan:

Ain't that great? So for me, the sense of, this is my life now. This is my life. And the sadness, and the disappointment, and all-

Ashley Rivard:

Despair.


Brian Stefan:

All the despair. All the things that could have been are gone now. Worrying about the past, fretting about the future. It's so interesting because, despite how acutely someone might sound suicidal and the high risk on a call on a crisis line, it's still this universal thing that we all experience. We all experience this, just not everyone is talking about it. It takes so much courage for people to call any crisis line. Any crisis line. Doesn't matter if it's a domestic violence or intimate partner violence hotline, doesn't matter if it's rape, abuse, incest, RAINN hotline, teen lines, any.


Brian Stefan:

It takes so much courage to call and say, "I don't know what to do." It doesn't mean that they are uniquely pained, it means they are the ones who have the courage to say what the rest of us can't. They are going into this space that certainly gives me the courage to start showing up for myself. And as many people who call these lines, and the numbers are growing, still these people are amazing. It's a heroic effort to call and show up for yourself like that. And it doesn't matter if you're calling from a bridge, or you're calling because you're holding pills or you just took pills, the sense of, I'm not going to do it on my own anymore, I'm going to reach out. It's changed my life. Listening to and talking with people who are saying, "Help me," because I also want to be able to say that.


Ashley Rivard:

They're their most vulnerable.


Brian Stefan:

Yeah. It's just honesty, vulnerability.


Ashley Rivard:

How many people call the lines a month, a year?


Brian Stefan:

It's more than a 100,000-


Ashley Rivard:

Per year.


Brian Stefan:

... per year. And the numbers are going up and up and up. And there's more people who are using online crisis chat services as well as there's companies now that have crisis tech services. The Trevor Project has a great program for LGBTQIA youth that they can call, they can also chat online. There is texting. But the numbers are going up and up and up. So if a million people in America are attempting every year, and there are tens of thousands of people who are calling the crisis hotlines each month, then it means that fewer and fewer people are suffering in silence, which is great.


Ashley Rivard:

What would you tell people who may be listening that are suffering with thoughts of suicide?


Brian Stefan:

I would say that, what you're going through is such a human experience, and that we all go through it and that we all experience it. Yes, the research tells us that this is true. That every person will at some point experience thoughts of suicide. So yes, we have research. We also have, just like our own experience. And so I can speak from my own experience and from my own heart is that, this is something that we all struggle with in different shapes, in different ways. It has a different color for everyone, I'm sure. The idea that, that's it. I'm done. Sometimes there's passive thoughts, if a bus just hit me then-


Ashley Rivard:

Oh, for sure. I've had that.


Brian Stefan:

So common. It's so interesting that there's this huge discrepancy, this massive difference between how common the thoughts are and the stigma that says, "Don't you dare talk about this. Don't you dare talk about it and don't you dare ask somebody about it." I would say that, if you're having thoughts of suicide, whether they be passive thoughts like, if I just dropped dead then that would be fine, or if you're having active thoughts, if you have a plan, if you've written a suicide note, if you have the means, if you have a timeline, if you've already attempted, and you're in the midst of an attempt right now, what you're going through, it's a human thing. It's such a human thing and it's a universal thing. And yes, we all go through such.


Brian Stefan:

Life is so hard. There's so much suffering that we're subjected to, and suicidal thoughts are a completely understandable, common, human, response. The thoughts are such a human response to pain. Pain. And so I would say, if you can, you can call the National Lifeline. The number is 1-800-273-8255. That's 1-800-273-8255. You can call 911. It's great to know that 911... That's what they're there for. For these kind of issues as well for welfare checks for someone if you have a loved one and you're worried. There's so many people who are waiting to support. Not fix, but support. We can all support each other. If you can, reach out. Hopefully you will find the experience to be supportive and comforting and you may end up talking to someone like me, and then my life is improved. My life... I get healing. I get the kind of growth or I get to connect with another human which is what I want. So we all benefit from it. So if you can muster the courage and take that step, you'll end up doing a lot.


Ashley Rivard:

I love how you said that your life will change, because a common thing you hear people who have thoughts of suicide say is, well, I'm a burden. That people are better off without me, I'm a burden. And in turn you're saying, "When you share with me your inner most being, you help me." So not only do you help yourself by speaking your truth, you help the other.


Brian Stefan:

That's right. It's an amazing thing and maybe five years ago I would've thought that that's not possible and it does have a kind of paradoxical quality to it that, how could that be that I tell someone something and that I get relief and their life improves as a result of it too. So long as we don't try to fix each other, so long as we just sit together in this dark place. And then, because we're both still responsible for our own lives, we're both responsible for getting ourselves out of this dark place.


Brian Stefan:

But what's interesting and just taking an analogy that Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industry uses is, is that we all have flashlights. And it's not my job to pull you out of this dark place but rather I can shine a flashlight for you, to help you. Maybe there's certain things at your feet that's making it hard for you to climb out. And you can shine a flashlight for me too. Or you walking out, it gives me somewhere to follow as well. There's so much that can happen when two people just get really, really honest with each other. It's very rare. It's very rare but when it happens... And it just takes one person to take that first step and say, "I don't know what to do. Can we talk or please help?" And it can start with that.


Ashley Rivard:

There's what you call on the lines, a third party caller. It's somebody who is calling to talk about their concern about a loved one, a friend, a daughter, a son, or whatever it may be. If somebody is listening who is experiencing knowing somebody close to them who is dealing with suicidal ideation and they're freaked out and don't know what to do, what would you say to those people?


Brian Stefan:

That's a great question. I would say, number one, is that you can talk to that loved one about suicide. You can say to them, sometimes when people lose their job, or sometimes when people break up with their significant other, or sometimes when people get devastating news from their doctor, or whatever the scenario is. Sometimes when life happens, people have thoughts of suicide. Are you having thoughts of suicide? And just to reiterate what we talked about a while ago, because it's still true, is that by asking these questions and saying the word suicide... It's not the S word like it used to be referred to. Just like they used to say cancer was the C word, as if you could speak it into existence. If you ask someone about suicide, you're not planting the thoughts that's been disapproved, just like teaching sex ed in school will make kids have sex. That's also not true. All these things have been debunked.


Brian Stefan:

So you can ask them, "Are you having thoughts of suicide? Are you struggling with suicide? Are you thinking about killing yourself? Sometimes when people go through what you went through, they can have thoughts of ending their life. Are you having these thoughts?" The powerful thing is that, if they're having thoughts of suicide, they have an opportunity to know that someone cares and they can respond if they feel like they can. And also if they're not having thoughts of suicide, they know then that this person cares and they know that this is the kind of person that can handle big topics.


Brian Stefan:

Because, again, the stigmas are stigmas because it's like, suicide, this is the biggest and toughest and most intense and topic. We know it's not because we can say these words now but so much... Again, it goes back to the stigmas that, talking about suicide can make it worse and don't you dare talk about this. So for all these people out there that may be listening, you may know someone who's struggling, could be somebody who's recently sober, someone who's got out of jail or prison and formerly incarcerated, it's okay to ask them about these things.


Ashley Rivard:

What about people who have kids? That's even more scary, right?


Brian Stefan:

It's terrifying.


Ashley Rivard:

Having a son or a daughter that you feel is depressed or are they suicidal. Give some signs to look for.


Brian Stefan:

Sure. Absolutely. Hearing from parents or caregivers on the lines who are worried about their kids, it's heartbreaking. Number one, it's okay to ask. Because when we ask people, are you having thoughts of suicide? Are you having thoughts of ending your life? Do you ever think about killing yourself? What we're saying to someone is, I see you. And that's, I think when people are calling is, they want to be seen. They want to be seen and they want that, yeah, look at me. I'm in pain. Will someone look at me? Don't pass me Kleenex. Don't tell me that everything's going to be okay. Don't promise me those things. So for a parent to say, are you having thoughts of suicide? It shows, I see you and I'm attentive.


Brian Stefan:

Now, what other things that we could see? We could see kids who are... Well, the first thing I would say is that, anytime... Parents and caregivers have a baseline. They know what their kids are like and so any major deviation from that baseline. So if a kid is often staying up late and maybe playing video games or on the phone and all of a sudden they're spending a lot of time sleeping, for example, that just is one that just came to mind as far as... [inaudible 00:36:18] different. Anytime there's something that comes up and all of a sudden things are different. Kids are gregarious and-


Ashley Rivard:

Engaging.


Brian Stefan:

... engaging, and all of a sudden withdrawn and sullen. Sometimes people stop taking care of themselves as far as personal hygiene. All these little things add up as well as people could be taking preparatory actions. People could be writing notes, people could be saying goodbye, people could start selling off items. There's a lot of things that people can be aware of. And the thing about being a parent or a caregiver is they are attune to their kids and so anytime there's a change, it's something to be aware of. The good thing about the crisis hotlines, and there's all different sorts we mentioned them before, is that parents or caregivers just like siblings or friends can call a line and say, "I think something's going on. I'm not sure." And it can be helpful to brainstorm in a collaborative way, say, "I'm worried about my daughter. I'm worried about my son." They, for example, self-harm.


Ashley Rivard:

Yeah, I've had [inaudible 00:37:31] a lot. Normal.


Brian Stefan:

Right. And so, parents quite rightly would be very concerned about a child that's self-harming, just like a child that may be having or experiencing an eating disorder. So a parent could call or a caregiver could call and say, "I'm worried. How do I talk about this?" And so with a counselor who's trained, you could talk through some... Here's some good questions that you can ask your child including, sometimes when people self-harm, they're having thoughts of not wanting to be around anymore, they're not wanting to live. Is this true for you? Are you having those kind of thoughts?


Brian Stefan:

It's so powerful that when we can stop trying to figure it all out on our own, because life's hard and figuring it all out on our own is pretty daunting, but when we can bring someone else in, it could be a school counselor, could be a teacher, could be a mental health professional, could be another family member, I feel like, okay, we can talk. We don't want to talk to somebody who's dismissive, obviously, we want someone to take these things seriously and say like, okay, "What's the next best step?" And the good thing is that there's a lot of resources. There's a lot of people who are poised and ready to help.


Ashley Rivard:

This has been so educational for me and for so many people and thank you so much for sharing. I want to wrap it up with some resources that you think are really important for people, whether it'd be the suicide line or just what you suggest.



Brian Stefan:

There's a bunch. The first one which is good is the national crisis lifeline. That's for people who are experiencing a crisis, that's suicidal crisis or it's a non-suicidal crisis. Like we were saying before, life is really hard and things are always coming at us, so that's really useful. The phone number, as I said before which is 24/7, that's 1-800-273-8255, and the website which has a lot of useful resources as well is suicidepreventionlifeline.org. So suicidepreventionlifeline, L-I-F-E-L-I-N-E.org. And we mentioned before there's phone as well as crisis chat, so the crisis chat portal where you can talk to a counselor on the computer, that's also accessible through that website.


Brian Stefan:

Another good website about background information and just general information about suicide which is really valuable, suicideispreventable.org. That's a really good one. Suicideispreventable.org. Another one is suicideisdifferent.org. Suicideisdifferent. Oh, 211 is very useful and that's all over the country. So 211. It's like 411 or 911 but 211 is a resource that people can call and speak with an operator to get social services. It could be regarding food insecurity, could be regarding experiencing homelessness, therapy, whether it be low cost or sliding scale, there's a lot of different... And now we learned that there, hopefully very soon, will be a three-digit phone number for suicide prevention so that is something which is coming very soon, we hope.


Brian Stefan:

There's a lot of resources, like we said before, Trevor Project for LGBTQIA youth, which you can google Trevor Project. There is the teen line which is really great in that there is trained teenagers that serve as phone counselors, so there can be a peer to peer dynamic which is great, because we want to be able to talk to people that we can relate to and speak with. So teen line is great and the website is teenlineonline.org and there's a lot of good information there. There's a lot of good stuff. We're living in a time where more and more people are paying attention to suicide, both awareness of suicide, prevention measures, as well as what they call postvention so suicide bereavement. So there's a lot of attention and there has been for many years now. We're living in a time where it's getting increasingly okay to talk about it, but we've got a long way to go.


Ashley Rivard:

Yeah, right? Well, thank you so much, Brian, for being here today and sharing your wisdom and shining some light on suicide.


Brian Stefan:

You're welcome. Thank you.


Ashley Rivard:

That's it for today's podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen today. Please let me know what you think. Leave a comment, share. And we'll be back next week with a new episode.

If you need more support, resources, and a deeper understanding of this topic for yourself or someone you love, check out my podcast, Into The Dawn, where we dive into suicide prevention in depth.


Please don’t forget to forward this article and podcast to someone whom it may serve.

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