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Suicide Prevention Toolkit-Our Way

September is the month to learn about Suicide Prevention and Awareness. Having a daughter that has suicide ideations does not make me an expert but I can honestly say that not a week goes by that we don’t talk about some aspect of suicide. During one of our talks I asked her if she had a Toolkit and she said TWO, One is mental and one is physical.

Mental Suicide Prevention Toolkit

A mental toolkit in our home came through skills she learned from therapist, counseling, and a program called DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). DBT will be discussed in great length at a later time but for now just know that those skills help her get grounded when she feels disconnected from her body. Her most used tool in her kit is the Progressive Muscle Movement. The list that we have discussed is as follows.

  • Progressive Muscle Movement
  • The frozen orange
  • Mindfulness
  • The frozen orange
  • Emotion Regulation
  • The frozen orange

So what’s with the frozen orange you might ask. In one of her inpatient stays she was introduced to the frozen orange. Yes, it is actually an orange that is kept in the freezer. There are times when she just needs to “feel something” and that is when the frozen cold textured round orange comes out. It is amazing what a simple tool like an orange can help refocus and ground someone who is going off to a scary place. By holding and feeling the orange when she can it allows her to mentally feel some of those same sensations when she does not have the physical item.

Physical Suicide Prevention Toolkit

A physical toolkit in our home is a drawer filled with items that she uses to help her get grounded and remember some reasons she has to keep on living. I am not sure that have been told ALL the items in her box but I would like to share what I know.

  • A personal safety plan hand written by her.
  • Chocolate, lots of chocolate
  • Crayons and Paper
  • Her semi-colon bracelet
  • PEPSI in memory of her father she lost in 2009
  • Journal to put her thoughts on paper
  • Old letters of encouragement from family and friends
  • Her stuffed bear
  • Her Tangle Collection

Well if we are being honest here the stuffed bear does not actually live in her drawer but I am sure she would not visit the drawer without it.

World Suicide Prevention Day

I always knew that September was suicide prevention month but after one deals with a loved one who has mental health issues, you find that you pay more attention to suicide related post and events. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has designated September 9-15 as their time to increase public awareness about suicide. I also found that September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Who knew? Something else I found is that according to AFSP in 2017 more than six times as many people died from suicide in Pennsylvania than from auto accidents related to drunk driving. That is a staggering number.

Keep on Fighting the Good Fight

Occasionally I see something that sticks with me. I can not remember where I saw this phrase but it needs to be shared here LEAN INTO THE ACKWARD! I apologize that I can not give credit where credit is due but hopefully someone will be able to help me out. In my personal experience I had a very hard time discussing suicide with anyone but mostly with my daughter that needed me the most. If there is only one thing that is taken from this post let it be LEAN INTO THE ACKWARD! Start the discussion. Ask if they feel safe. Do what we do in our family…NEVER leave a situation with regrets. Make it your time to ask the hard questions. If you walk out the door and something doesn’t feel right, turn around and go back. It may feel uncomfortable but it may save a life.

Keep fighting the good fight

Tammy

Tammy C

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