Mental Health Awareness Week Kickoff as Suicide Ideation/Attempt Survivors Weave Their Voices Together

Because I Stayed Notebook

Attempt Survivor Livestream Ensemble

Series producers Annemarie Matulis & Tracey Medeiros

Wellness Workshop Table

There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution to help prevent deaths by suicide. Recovery can be messy.”

— Tracey Pacheco Medeiros

BOSTON, MA, UNITED STATES, October 3, 2023 / — “Did you see the provisional CDC 2022 report on suicides in the US? Close to 50,000 people died by suicide. On average for the last few years, that represents 7% of all of those who experienced ideation or made an attempt. And the typical knee-jerk reaction will be to call for more prevention training. What about the other 93%? – those of us who don’t die?” Those will be the thought-provoking questions asked by suicide attempt survivor, advocate, activist, and author, Tracey Medeiros during tonight’s YouTube livestream scheduled for 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT, October 3rd via the Because I Stayed channel.

Medeiros will add to the challenge that “Within suicide prevention, intervention and postvention efforts, we often hear the powerful stories of those who experience suicidal ideation and/or attempts. We almost never hear about what we did differently to “stay,” to grasp onto a turning point for life. Why is that? Why don’t we in suicidology spend more time, energy, research, and funding to uncover why, how, and what we do to take suicide off the table? Why don’t we expand and increase follow-up? Who can better help inform all of us what coping skills and actions do work than those who have had these experiences? The options we could hear may not be what works best for everyone but, hopefully, can help plant some seeds that will generate actions that others can incorporate into their own journey to develop a life worth living.”

The focus of our new notebooks in the Because I Stayed Series is to offer brief snippets of the “How” & “Why”. Suicide ideation & attempt survivors make a decision, suddenly or gradually, to “stay” & continue to work to find a life worth living. Gathered around the table with Medeiros will be an eclectic trio of ideation/attempt survivors, Dr. Jenn Carson, Joseph Marques, and Dr. Pata Suyemoto, who will engage in the discussion and share threads of their lived experience perspectives and strategies. The goal of the livestream is to raise awareness once again that the voices of lived experience offer a valuable resource to help prevent more suicides.

Moderator Annemarie Matulis, co-founder of the grassroots Impacted Family & Friends (of suicide ideation/attempt survivors) Movement within the nonprofit A Voice at the Table, will further propose that “it is well passed time for a very radical shift in response strategies on how we address suicidal ideation and attempts. Prevention training has its benefits – everyone at this table tonight are trainers for one or more modules – and the lessons learned from, and coping skills used by those who did not die are equally important to recovery, but those voices continue to be marginalized.”

Medeiros will further emphasize in the discussion that “One loss by suicide is devastating to a family and community. There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution to help prevent deaths by suicide. Ideation/attempt survivors need multiple responses, just as we do for bereaved loss survivors. Recovery and healing can be messy, there is no quick “let’s fix it” solution.”

Matulis and Medeiros, both long-term activists within suicide prevention, intervention and postvention, joined forces to create wellness workshops for survivors and their impacted families in 2014 with the release of their documentary, A Voice at the Table. That was 9 years ago. Developing the new Because I Stayed notebook series is the obvious next expansion step for the existing programs. Volume one of this interactive notebook series was released in May. Volumes 2 & 3 were delayed a bit and will be available by late October. They are appropriate across the lifespan, as early as 5th grade. This YouTube livestream will offer a brief, live version of the notebooks.

During the Mental Health Awareness Week Kic0ff livestream, Medeiros will again stress: “Those at the table reflect the other 93%. Please, hear our voices. Listen to what we’ve learned! Let’s shatter the stigma and silos, bring all options to the table, and help save lives.” The recording will be available on this YouTube Channel if you are unable to join live.

Annemarie Matulis
A Voice at the Table
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