Reimagine: Live, Love & Loss Virtual Event with Gail Rubin

This was a moving interview and discussion with Gail Rubin and a group of men and women including parents who have lost a child to suicide. We had a frank discussion and I so enjoyed being with many of you all virtually at least.

Transcript:

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Gail Rubin: Hey, welcome everyone to today’s reimagine

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Gail Rubin: Life love and loss event. I hope you are muted and will stay muted at the moment until we open this up for Q & A

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Gail Rubin: We are recording this session, and it will be put on YouTube. So if you are in the Witness Protection Program and you don’t want to be identified. You can change your name.

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Gail Rubin: As the in the little box down at the usually at the bottom where it says participants, you can change your, your name on the screen. You can also stay

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Gail Rubin: With your video turned off if you prefer. And, but please stay muted until we get to the Q & A, a portion of our program.

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Gail Rubin: I’m Gail Ruben. The doyen of death, author of a good goodbye funeral planning for those who don’t plan to die, hail and farewell cremation ceremonies templates and tips.

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Gail Rubin: And kicking the bucket list 100 downsizing and organizing things to do before you die.

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Gail Rubin: My motto is just like talking about sex won’t make you pregnant talking about funerals and end of life issues won’t make you dead.

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Gail Rubin: And I am very pleased that we have a sensitive topic that we are going to talk about with emotionally naked honesty with Anne Moss Rogers. She is a TEDx speaker and author

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Gail Rubin: Let’s, let’s face it, talking about suicide is tough loss by suicide. It’s like no other. And it’s very hard to talk about people are especially vulnerable in their grief and maybe they feel like they’re to blame for not having

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Gail Rubin: You know, seeing the signs of

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Gail Rubin: That the that someone is about to take their life by suicide. So, and loss Rogers is a TEDx speaker. She’s a storyteller or writer. She’s a certified suicide prevention trainer.

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Gail Rubin: And she helps foster connection to prevent suicide. She reduces substance misuse and helps people find life after loss.

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Gail Rubin: Her blog is called emotionally naked and it tackles the topics of suicide and its triggers addiction and mental illness and grief and her book Diary of a broken mind is an international Book Award finalist welcome and loss Rogers.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Oh, thank you for having me so much. I really appreciate it. Gail

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Gail Rubin: This is going to be a great conversation. And before we even start talking about suicide. Let’s talk about this terminology

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Gail Rubin: died by suicide is the preferred way to say it, rather than committed suicide. And I, I know I’m guilty of using that phrase and trying to change. But why, why is this change in the works.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So you can use the phrase killed himself or died by suicide. He suicide and but the reason we want to remove commit from that phrase is it’s from

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Anne Moss Rogers: The 1400s of England when suicide was actually a crime and you’re probably thinking, well, they punish somebody for that?

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Anne Moss Rogers: What they did is they punish the family. So they would actually tie the body to a horse and drag it through town is kind of an example of shaming.

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Anne Moss Rogers: People for the suicide and the family. And then, although all the worldly goods were donated to the crown of the family wasn’t allowed to have that inheritance.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And they were also denied the right to a funeral and a burial in the cemetery and so that that’s stuck in our lexicon for hundreds of years. And so now, a lot of states in the United States, even though it has no statutes attached to it.

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Anne Moss Rogers: It is still on the books as a crime, even though you can’t charge anybody for, you know, for a suicide or execute any of that these days, but we are trying to get it off the books because it is very stigmatizing

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Anne Moss Rogers: Especially those who struggle with thoughts of suicide to continue to use the word committed. So you’ll see the major news outlets Washington Post, New York Times and NPR.

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Anne Moss Rogers: All using it correctly. And you’ll notice some of the smaller publications still haven’t quite gotten the news, but it’s gonna take a while since it’s been in our language for such a long time.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Suicide as a public health issue. Now, unlike diabetes or heart disease.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And it is recognized and such from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention from the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Defense public health issue, not a crime.

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Gail Rubin: Well, you know, it’s interesting because in, I believe.

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Gail Rubin: I know the Jewish tradition. And I think the Catholic tradition as well that if someone died by suicide. They could not be buried

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Gail Rubin: In a consecrated burial ground the Jews would put criminals and suicides outside the consecrated Jewish burial ground and still give them a burial but but again it’s it’s a punishment on the family.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Yes, it is. And for many years. Therapists would also make contracts with their patients.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But that’s a misunderstanding of what suicide is which is it’s this irrational state of mind and Gail, if you go ahead and put up that visual that I sent you with the two peaks on it. This kind of explains what suicide is and

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Anne Moss Rogers: It is not exactly like this for everyone. However, this is how many people have described to me they’re suicidal thoughts and suicidal ideation. And so this is kind of your average

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Anne Moss Rogers: Irrational suicidal thinking moment, so to speak, which last maybe about 20 minutes and it has two peaks and in that time you have

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Anne Moss Rogers: Where that thoughts are so intense, and they’re more than more than likely to take their life or the risk is higher.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And then it kind of drops off and then they’re more ambivalent about death and they’re not sure of it. And they’re more afraid it’s going to hurt and so on. And then it goes back up to another peak usually higher than the first.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And they they struggle more with those thoughts and then they kind of come out of it. And when people come out of that. So I think of it is a trance.

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Anne Moss Rogers: It’s all of a sudden they can feel, whether it’s warm or cold and you can tell the difference. It’s kind of like before, I’m a terrible person. I’m a burden. I need to do this but but I’m so worthless.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And then when they come out of it. They’re like, gosh, it’s cold out here and you know there. I’ve actually been talking to somebody who on a bridge. It was 15 degrees and she couldn’t feel like cold, but as soon as she started to complain that it was cold. I knew she was coming out of it.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So it’s, it’s kind of like a trance, or brain attack and it has a limited amount of time.

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Gail Rubin: So why don’t we talk about what brought you to this field. What is your experience with suicide.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Well in 19 let’s see in 2010 I started with Youth Mental Health because my youngest son was struggling with

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Anne Moss Rogers: I didn’t know what and later I would find out it was depression.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But he was very, very creative. But then, you know, the ADHD and then the fact he couldn’t sleep at night. I mean, insomnia, at a young age, and then later he was diagnosed with depression.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So in 2010 a lot of things started to escalate. My son started to use drugs and alcohol. And I thought, Oh my gosh, I’m a terrible parent, haven’t we had these conversations

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Anne Moss Rogers: But what was happening to him as he was struggling with thoughts of suicide.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And to make those thoughts of suicide. Go away, he would take drugs and alcohol and he’s like you know this works. Why, how could it be wrong, isn’t taking a drug or using alcohol better than killing myself.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So I can understand his thought process from the standpoint of a teenager.

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Anne Moss Rogers: flashforward he ends up many, many years later, becoming addicted to heroin and

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Anne Moss Rogers: That’s not where anybody starts right they start with alcohol that doesn’t work, and then they go to pot. Oh, this is amazing. And it doesn’t have the same effect you keep graduating two different drugs more drugs.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And then he finally gets to heroin man that makes them feel like the king and to depress kid, you know, who can resist that.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Now what’s odd is Charles is the funniest, most popular kid in the school. So I’m not seeing the signs of depression, if anything, Charles was hyper social and he wasn’t withdrawing from friends now his friends changed so

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Anne Moss Rogers: He’s become addicted to heroin. He goes to the hearts. He goes to rehab, because to recovery home and he relapses within 24 hours.

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Anne Moss Rogers: They take him back to detox and he sees a friend there and he walks out. So for two weeks. We don’t really know where he is. We got some spotty communication here and there, from text messages.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And my husband and I are having dinner and we get a phone call from the police.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And I remember thinking all

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Anne Moss Rogers: He’s been arrested. This is such great news and then logic started to weave its way to my head. And I’m like, they don’t come tell you that your 19 year old is in jail actually just turned 20

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Anne Moss Rogers: They’re coming to tell me my child is dead.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And so in the back of a police car in a parking lot. We got the worst news of our lives. And the policeman told us that our child died by suicide and the method left their question.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And so I ended up selling my digital marketing business and focusing on the subjects that nobody wants to talk about

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Gail Rubin: Wow.

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Gail Rubin: So what do you, what do you see as the reasons that people kill themselves.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I think that a lot of times you look at headlines in the newspaper. And I’ll say child was bullied kills herself or himself.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And one thing we need to understand is that people have to be vulnerable to thoughts of suicide. People with underlying mental illness or trauma.

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Anne Moss Rogers: PTSD often are more vulnerable to thoughts of suicide than the rest of humanity, but it isn’t unusual in most person’s entire lifetime to have a moment.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Where you’re thinking, you know, quick exit wouldn’t, wouldn’t be a bad idea. So the majority of people have had that thought at one time, but people who struggle with those thoughts consistently.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Usually have an underlying mental health problem and my son’s case he was going to withdraw. He was in a major depressive episode. He thought we had given up on him.

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Anne Moss Rogers: When in fact, you know, we were trying to play out this tough love thing which you know I really regret and, you know, probably five other reasons that my son died by suicide. And it wasn’t just one thing and it never is. It’s health history and environment.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So it’s kind of all that conglomeration of your family history, your health history and whatever is happening in your life right now.

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Gail Rubin: And I would think it’s it’s to escape pain.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Yeah, and so people. So let’s say you’re in a room and your own fire and there’s a bucket of water right next to you.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Most people are going to say, I’m on fire. That’s a bucket of water. That’ll stop the fire and they take the bucket of water and import over them.

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Anne Moss Rogers: It’s similar with thoughts of suicide because they’re experiencing this awful crushing emotional pain and their brain is lying to them and telling them.

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Anne Moss Rogers: You need to die. You’re just worthless and if they have means nearby in order to complete the task that increases their risk. So that’s why a lot of times with

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Anne Moss Rogers: Certain people will say, remove means. So somebody owns a firearm. Can you let another firearm owning family.

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know, babysit that phone while you are in the state of mind, just until you can kind of get back on your feet. Basically, so

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Anne Moss Rogers: If there is no availability of a way to end your life, most people aren’t going to follow through with it.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But if there is something available, they often will so what what we want to do is put time between thoughts and action. So the more time you put between thoughts and action. The higher probability that that that that person’s life could be saved.

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Gail Rubin: Well, you know, I think the prevalence of suicide is probably greater than most of us recognize I know personally within my own life. There was a funeral director friend of mine died by suicide and a cousin of my dad’s generation died by suicide and

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Gail Rubin: You’re left with the question why

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Gail Rubin: So many question marks around it. When that touches your life. And by the way, I’d like to ask our audience if if you’ve had an experience of someone, you know, or in your family or someone you love had committed suicide. I’d be interested in

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Anne Moss Rogers: Just here I died by suicide.

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Gail Rubin: Sorry, I’m trying

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Anne Moss Rogers: Language for so long. I’m not word shaming you, I promise.

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Gail Rubin: So what are some of the wrong wrong things that people would say when when someone does die by suicide to the surviving family or

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Anne Moss Rogers: Oh, she’s in a better place because nowhere better for my son right next to me on Thanksgiving Day and not in heaven, and it first. I will admit that I was angry, and at times. I wanted to lash out and say, I tell you what will send all your loved one to better place and see it like

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Anne Moss Rogers: Every, every job in bereavement group. We love to tell those jokes with each other. We never say it out loud because one thing I made the decision of early on and maybe not right at the beginning was that

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Anne Moss Rogers: If somebody said something to give them credit for having the courage to say anything at all.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Because number one, I lost a child. Number two, I lost a child to suicide, number two, number three out a child with mental illness and drug addiction, who died.

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Anne Moss Rogers: A lot of stigma around all of those issues and it takes

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Anne Moss Rogers: The other person a whole lot of courage to say anything. So what offended me the most is when they said nothing at all, or they looked physically ill when they ran into me, or they would purposely

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Anne Moss Rogers: Avoid me because I’m a very social person and it made me feel like such a pariah to go to get up the nerve to go in the grocery store or the drugstore again.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And be avoided. You know, I mean, I wanted to be hugged I wanted to talk about my child. And then I would run into people. And I would talk about my child. And people would cut me off mid sentence.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And there was started talking about something else and it made me feel like they were erasing manchild from a family tree and I didn’t like that. And that’s when I wrote a newspaper article about her family’s story that ended up going viral.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I wanted this subject to be discussed. Because what my son said prior to suicide could have been the bullet points under the phrase, what do people thinking of suicide say

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Anne Moss Rogers: And I didn’t know because I wasn’t educated and it wasn’t on my radar until he got and we need to get it on people’s radar before that happens.

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Gail Rubin: Well, what are some of those signs.

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Gail Rubin: What are. What are people saying before they might kill themselves by suicide.

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Anne Moss Rogers: My son, one of his tweets was if I died. No one would notice for 30 days.

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Anne Moss Rogers: If you want to know who really cares about you see who’s there when you have nothing.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Another one was death sounds nice.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And you think I’m a mom. I’m seeing this, I might be worried. I didn’t see all of them. For one thing, I was blocked off of his social media at the time.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I saw one of them hours before his last phone call and I couldn’t quite put my head around it and it was the one about if I died. No one would notice but their new days.

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Anne Moss Rogers: To me, I thought, oh, he’s about to hit rock bottom, and ask for help because we as pants think that that ask for help is going to be in a box. Todd with a pretty bow. Hey, Mom, can I have help. It’s usually blubbering ugly.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Desperate. They don’t know how to put it into words kind of plea and I just didn’t recognize when the in that last phone call to me last son was asking me for help and I just didn’t recognize it and I forgiven myself for that and that is taken quite a bit agree for to get there.

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Gail Rubin: So what are some helpful things that people can say or do, especially if they’re concerned about someone who might try to take their own lives.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I think if you hear people saying I’m a burden. I can’t do this anymore.

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know, things would be better if I just one here anymore.

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Anne Moss Rogers: You stop for a minute and you will feel something in your gut. Now grieving, people are at higher risk for suicide. So I need to put that out there. And parents who’ve lost a child to any cause of death are usually 30% of them 33% are considering suicide. Wow, so

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Anne Moss Rogers: I think what was your question again. I got off on a tangent

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Gail Rubin: Well, so, so what are some of the things that one should say, rather than not say

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Anne Moss Rogers: To the grieving parent or to the public. So first of all, to the person who is struggling. Tell me more.

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Anne Moss Rogers: What we want to say to a struggling person is you have so much to live for. How could you think that what about your handsome husband. Oh, you know, you’re so richer.

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Anne Moss Rogers: That invalidates people’s feelings.

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Anne Moss Rogers: It’s just smarter to say, you know, that sounds serious. Tell me more. And ask questions.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Have you thought about how you would do this and you want to make note of it. If you ask that question, but that’s okay to ask that question.

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Anne Moss Rogers: What I didn’t know is people who are struggling with thoughts of suicide do want to tell and I didn’t know that. I thought that they were so committed to the idea

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Anne Moss Rogers: That they were trying to keep it secret, but typically they’ll drop a lot of hints, because they want you to ask. So if they say

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Anne Moss Rogers: I just want to end it all. You know, this sounds serious. A lot of times people going through a divorce or

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know, are suffering with grief have thoughts of suicide. Are you thinking of suicide and you ask that question directly, you don’t say, are you going to harm yourself. You ask are you thinking of suicide. Are you thinking of killing yourself.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Because they need to know that you’re willing to engage in this uncomfortable conversation. And when you use those key phrases. You’re saying, yeah, it’s an uncomfortable conversation, but I’m willing to have that conversation with you now.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And what do you say to bereaved parents

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Anne Moss Rogers: And don’t know that is it’s as much of what you say when people would say, I have no idea what to say. I’m just HEARTBROKEN FOR YOU.

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Anne Moss Rogers: That was really nice even some of the cliche phrases of, you know, you have my condolences. Because like I said, it takes a lot of courage for people to say anything.

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Anne Moss Rogers: The best things were intentional like

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Anne Moss Rogers: I don’t know what to say. But your grass is tall, I have a lawn mower, and I could be over at 10am on Saturday to cut your grass. Is that a good time for you.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So being very intentional in in your giving that the kids still have to go to soccer practice.

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Anne Moss Rogers: The dogs still has to go out for a while. The family still has to eat our world is stopped. We wonder why the world has the audacity to keep spending on its axis with our with our loved one in it.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But the world keeps going forward and people need to pick up prescriptions and that intentional work is very helpful because

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Anne Moss Rogers: I remember I could barely take a shower, I would get out of bed and I couldn’t remember the order I almost got in the shower with my glasses and pajamas on so remembering the steps was just really difficult. I mean, you have kind of grief brain of grief fog.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And

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Anne Moss Rogers: It was so so devastating because I was also struggling with all those coulda woulda should is which is part of the process with any death, but more pronounced with suicide death.

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Yeah.

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Gail Rubin: Is there any other point you’d like to make a mosque before we open it up to questions with the audience.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I think that

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Anne Moss Rogers: There are people who can and are people who struggle with sitting with people in their pain.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And I found that to be the case among my friends.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And defined that group of people that could support me like I went to a suicide loss support group best idea ever.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And then I kind of decided to educate that group of friends of mine, of what I wanted to do because they didn’t call me for the first six months, thinking, I wanted to be alone.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And I felt abandoned.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And

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Anne Moss Rogers: What I wish I had done is gotten one of those friends spoken to one of them about how I was feeling how I wanted to be included in invitations, even if I bailed at the last minute.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Because I wanted to feel included, even if I didn’t go

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Anne Moss Rogers: And I now.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I recommend to other people that they do sit down with that one friend and I even have a worksheet to kind of go over a lot of talking points.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Of when you want to talk about, because we don’t know what somebody else feels like. And now I wanted a house full of people, not it, not everybody wants that.

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Gail Rubin: Well, I think at this point we can open it up for questions. So if you want to unmute yourself or raise your hand. Oh, I see.

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Gail Rubin: If you are the worksheet.

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Gail Rubin: We do have some

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Anne Moss Rogers: Very often,

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Anne Moss Rogers: Yeah, yeah. At the end where it says file in the chat box. We gotta leave behind. And there’s a link to that worksheet in that leave behind.

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Oh, good.

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Gail Rubin: There’s one question I like to kick it off with is

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Gail Rubin: medical aid in dying being branded as

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Gail Rubin: Doctors in suicide, my friend. Mary Kay, Brady. I see is, is here on this call and I talked with Mary Kay, very often about

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Gail Rubin: The medical aid and dying in New Mexico. We don’t have that here where I’m based but there are a few states that do have that. And that can be a blessing for people who are facing a terminal illness that could be very painful.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Why

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Gail Rubin: Do you have any thoughts about that.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Well, they call it assisted suicide and there is no such thing as at Frey

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Anne Moss Rogers: But that’s what they when we went to try to go to the legislature to get the phrase to get suicide is a crime taken off the books. It has no statutes on it.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But they kept using that phrase assisted suicide. That’s it. That’s know what it is, suicide is alone. That is completely different and separate from that and they kept trying to lump it together and

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Anne Moss Rogers: It’s just completely different. I mean,

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Anne Moss Rogers: And then how like I can debate that right now. I’m here to debate that, you know, the Department of Defense recognizes suicide as a crime, and we need to take it off the books. Why are you bringing introducing all this you know this other stuff that is a whole different issue.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know, I do feel like we allow our animals to go when they’re in pain. And you know, I feel like we should allow human beings to do that but it. It’s not the same. It’s not a suicide. Yeah. It’s just not the same.

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Gail Rubin: Mary Kay, did you want to speak up about that.

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Marykay Brady: Um, he is a medical aid and dying has absolutely nothing in common with suicide. Absolutely nothing. People that are utilizing medical aid and dying want to live. They want to be alive.

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Marykay Brady: But they are living with intractable pain or terminal illness and they use the medical aid and dying to free themselves the person that is considering death by suicide wants to be dead.

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Marykay Brady: So it is totally, totally different.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Now I will say that in that 20 minute session. They want to die and then they’re ambivalent about death. So it’s more complicated than that. But to write me a cake. The two are completely

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Marykay Brady: Completely different totally different and and it is just whether they want to put physician in front of it or whatever they’re two totally isolated different things. Sorry, Gail. That’s my soapbox

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Gail Rubin: That’s okay.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I agree completely. And

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Anne Moss Rogers: When people blend it together. I’m like,

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Anne Moss Rogers: The no name. That’s like saying oranges are the same as apples, because

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Anne Moss Rogers: Right, both countries.

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Right.

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Gail Rubin: Other questions, comments.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I’m going to check out the chat box here.

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EM: This is Ellen. I was just going to say, you know, we’re Mary Kay said someone who’s thinking of suicide. They want to be dead. I don’t agree with that necessarily they’re thinking about it, but they don’t want to be dead. They just want the pain to stop and they think that’s the only way

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EM: Right, that’s, that’s my two cents on it anyway.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And most people don’t want to die but and I have a page that is visited by almost 5000 people a month from Google. And they’re looking up a specific way to die.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And most of them will say that I, I just want this pain to stop and I don’t know of any other way.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And in that rational moment. You can’t say yes, there is another way. You just have to kind of acknowledge the pain and let them talk

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Anne Moss Rogers: And ask questions and like if you wouldn’t say well what about your mother and your father and your sister though they’ll never get over this. That’s not the time to bring that up.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But if they mentioned a loved one, you say, oh, you know, why don’t you tell me a little bit about your sister. So you’re triggering that nugget.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And you’re not saying you know what about them. You’re see because you’re implying that they’re selfish and that they should feel shame.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And that’s the last thing we want to do with somebody struggling with thoughts of suicide. Want to make them feel heard and they need an empathetic listener.

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Gail Rubin: And Vana has her hand raised.

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Vanna: Okay, I’m Bonnie and just, just to let you know that I am a person who stutter. So there will be some pauses and blocks is not because of brief other grief does exacerbated

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Vanna: My story is that and again I can speak for myself, my daughter suffered from anxiety and depression and attempted suicide.

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Vanna: When she was 14

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Vanna: She went to residential treatment program and came back and thought she was doing well and she had been

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Vanna: Excuse me.

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Vanna: I’m sneaking alcohol and in dad into some marrow wanna and all that stuff. And I think it’s just to allow her to be able to

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Vanna: To function. And I think like what Anne said to also have the thoughts of

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Vanna: Completing

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Vanna: Or the thoughts of

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Vanna: Suicide to go away and we were in. We were extremely close all are my family’s extremely close her brothers extremely close to her and when she

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Vanna: When her illness was more pronounced.

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Vanna: He

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Vanna: Uh, he

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Vanna: Developed anxiety and depression because he was so worried about her, and we were so

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Vanna: Worried about her and she passed away of a drug overdose in September six of last year, so it’ll be a year in a

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Vanna: In a week or so. And she was just three weeks shy of turning 17 and

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Vanna: I do think that suicide is under reported because there are she was

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Vanna: Listed as accidental opioid overdose, but my feeling is that

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Vanna: I think it was

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Vanna: Suicide because I think that she saw us so worried about her and she was a very deeply, deeply caring person and she would always like, Tell me, like I you know I don’t want to

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Vanna: I don’t want to burn it, like she would always say, like, I’m, I’m trying to be a good daughter and she would say things like that. So a big part of me believes that she completed suicide because she wanted to relieve us

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Vanna: Because she saw how worried we were and how we just desperately wanted to support her so

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Vanna: Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Well, first of all,

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Anne Moss Rogers: I’m so sorry because September’s coming up and that grief anniversary. The first one is difficult. In fact, I found anticipating yet more difficult than the actual day

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Anne Moss Rogers: And I must send in Dabba overdose his method left their question, but there are they, they believe that of the overdoses that probably at least 25% of them are intentional, but unless they leave a note the roulette an accidental overdose.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But the drug use makes it all worse. What makes them feel better at first ends up making them worse. So when I go in to schools and speak I talked about healthy unhealthy coping strategies because I’m not even sure our young people know the difference between one or the other.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And based on the workshops. I’ve done. They’re not that aware of that, like the a lot of motor will retail therapy is good and I’ll ask them a lot of questioning on that.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Because they think they’re going and spending a lot of money. If it makes you feel good. It’s okay, but

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know, even if you’re eating a lot of ice cream, you could, you know, gain 100 pounds and that’s not a healthy coping strategy. So it’s finding the tools that work for that person. For me it was riding.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I wrote that on this blog emotionally negative first two times a day for about two years and now it’s about five to six times a week.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But, and then I wrote a book and I wrote articles and giving back has been what helps me heal and that writing is a part of it, doing events like this is a part of it.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And I didn’t realize that at first I just started doing it. And then I realized I was probably getting more bad than I was putting out there.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And having all these groups really

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Anne Moss Rogers: In it just helped me move forward at a time. I didn’t know that was possible.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So thank you so much for sharing the story about your daughter.

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Anne Moss Rogers: It’s, it’s a really, really rough loss because it is so stigmatized.

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Gail Rubin: Mara Robbins has raised her hand.

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Gail Rubin: And yeah, thank you. Thank you for the opportunity.

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Mara Robbins: I deeply appreciate the service that you’re offering to all of us. It’s, it’s very meaningful and very timely for me.

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Mara Robbins: And I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the things you’ve mentioned about taking action in regards to like I didn’t realize

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Mara Robbins: About committing suicide. Like, that’s a big leap for me and it makes a lot of sense. And that you you know approach.

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Mara Robbins: Legislators about various things like to make it suicide not illegal anymore. And I’m wondering about

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Mara Robbins: Some of the best ways to take action, because I truly believe that taking action in the face of grief is one of the ways in which we heal.

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Mara Robbins: And what I’ve found in the aftermath of a dear friend suicide at the end of May, is that most everyone involved in any way.

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Mara Robbins: Is is suffering at this point. And some people are suffering from suicidal ideation. Some people are suffering from well she did it. How do we know that she didn’t want us to

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Mara Robbins: People who are suffering from the continued isolation of coded and people who are suffering because

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Mara Robbins: If we don’t have somewhere to channel. Our, our grief and our rage, then it can just eat us alive. So I guess my question to you are

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Mara Robbins: What are some of the most effective ways to do that because one of the things we found is that the police officers that came to her home in the wake of her suicide.

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Mara Robbins: Were ridiculously unprepared in effective and made things worse. They were not equipped to help us.

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Mara Robbins: And that’s one of the things that I’ve wanted to do with a trauma group I’m working with locally as simply to provide some sort of resources for them to give

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Mara Robbins: To people who are left in the aftermath of that are left with what what’s left. And sometimes, you know, dealt with by authorities not trained, social workers, you know, that sort of thing. So any guidance you can provide on how we can use our grief to take action would be greatly appreciated.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So what what you’re looking for. Most survivors are looking for. This is you, you look back at your life and you want it to have purpose and you want your loved one.

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Anne Moss Rogers: To have stood for something or meant something. And that’s the legacy. You want to carry forward. So we start to live a more authentic life as a result. And I think that’s actually the gift finding what your purposes. Take some patience.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Because right away, want to dive into what whatever that purposes and sometimes we go for a purpose that we can’t sustain for a long period of time, but it helps in that moment, like a person, a friend of mine who lost her son to suicide.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Absolutely dove headfirst into lock and talk and lock and talk is to keep firearms and

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Anne Moss Rogers: Out.

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Anne Moss Rogers: After the hands of young people, or people who are really

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High

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Vanna: On and

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Anne Moss Rogers: Really good thing for her to kind of dive into at the time. Um, another friend of mine has started a support group. There are several legislative

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Anne Moss Rogers: Things through American Foundation of suicide prevention and you can actually get

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Anne Moss Rogers: Get involved with them if you want to get into the political arena American Foundation also has some training for starting a suicide loss support group. And that is a way to give back.

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Anne Moss Rogers: They have kind of a place you can start called Healing conversations you can volunteer and get a lot a list.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Of people you can speak with. So let’s say you’re two years out from having lost someone to suicide.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Then you can get on this list, and somebody two hours from you in the same state wants to get on a zoom call with somebody

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Anne Moss Rogers: To talk about her brother who just killed himself last week. So that’s another way to get that that finding your purpose, your big purpose. It’s going to change and evolve over time. So you need to allow for that. But if you don’t have that thing right away.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I always encourage people be patient to say that purpose is going to find you, you, you want to find it, therefore it will reappear.

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Anne Moss Rogers: The give us some time demand a because a grief brain can always come up with just the right thing and we need to be really two years out, to be able to truly

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Anne Moss Rogers: Be able to look at it a more objectively because at first, we’re still going through the anger and the sadness. It doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. It’s just that.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Like they don’t really want people speaking to high schools, you know, within a year after losing a child suicide, for example.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Because there’s just a lot to learn of what to say and what not to say. Because it’s the vulnerable population.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I think you’re because you want to find your purpose, you will. And I’m trying to think that the Jason the Jason flat ass and that is

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Anne Moss Rogers: An act of getting everybody trained in schools, I believe, and then with first responders here in Richmond, Virginia, what we’ve done is we

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Anne Moss Rogers: We’ve paired those officers with Seattle trained individuals. Ultimately, I would like to see police not be answering mental health calls at all that the car to train people be going in, because I mean they’re the ones that are qualified

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Anne Moss Rogers: And it may be certain such situations. The policeman do in two of our counties. We have 80% of our officers chain.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Trained and mental health approach, which takes a week of their time. I mean it. It’s a full week of training of different strategies they use. And at first, say they want to do it. So training that first wave of officers was really difficult.

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Anne Moss Rogers: They, you know, that doesn’t work. They’re all tough guys. I mean, there’s some women, but most of them are men.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But when they went away and they use some of these strategies and they came back and like we’re telling their stories.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Then the officers were jumping in and couldn’t wait to dive in and try some of these strategies because what they found is that it didn’t de escalated crisis and

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know, throwing somebody on the ground and putting handcuffs on them doesn’t de escalate prices, it makes everybody mad and creates, you know, raw videos.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But learning to say something in the heat of the moment, and not getting in the heat of the moment yourself as an officer and learning what to say and do

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Anne Moss Rogers: They thought this is magic. So it went from them having to sit at the hospital for seven hours with any mental health patient to them having to spend maybe an hour and to be able to hand it over to a crisis intervention team.

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Anne Moss Rogers: So I think if that’s your purpose going through the first responder route and look up crisis. And I think it’s crisis and training see it but look for that officer training and having that in our communities would be huge.

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Gail Rubin: That’s great. Any other questions, comments, I’m seeing lots of great

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Gail Rubin: Information in the chat box going on.

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Anne Moss Rogers: You got to send me the the chat afterwards it yes I’m downloading read all the comments.

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Okay.

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Gail Rubin: Um, any other raised hands at this point. Comments, questions.

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Gail Rubin: Somebody saying the alliance of hope for suicide loss survivors is a really good resource.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Uh, you all did just so many good things in here.

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Mara Robbins: Well, I wanted to thank you and and and Gail, for your very thoughtful and explicit response and it’s good to know that these crisis intervention teams are being built, and I will definitely follow up on this. I also think that there’s often an intersection between

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Mara Robbins: Between what Mary Kay was mentioning, and, you know,

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Mara Robbins: More I don’t know exactly how to say this correctly, let classic suicidal ideation, like for instance with my friend, Laura. She suffered from a traumatic brain injury and lived with chronic pain.

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Mara Robbins: So part of I think her suicide was prompted by not feeling like she could live with the pain that she was having to endure, and though I do understand there’s a difference, I think,

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Mara Robbins: It’s been difficult for some of us to differentiate just because many people who die by suicide do so because they’re suffering so greatly from something

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Anne Moss Rogers: A lot of people who have TBI will develop suicidal thoughts. A lot of people who struggle with chronic pain. It can send them in that direction. And, you know, it has an effect on their brain.

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Anne Moss Rogers: People who’ve been exposed to trauma, you lose a leg two legs, you become paralyzed. A lot of times those your brain can’t tell the difference between physical illness and mental illness, it, it’s all cake batter to brain we kind of separate it.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But when you’re going through those really really difficult times, people visit that in their head. They’re like they can’t see what their life looks like so.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I have found that when I do speak to students. I’ll talk about their future, you know, and I encourage their teachers to do some of those tests that show them.

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know where their special, you know what, what they’re good at, so they can see themselves in some kind of future occupation.

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Anne Moss Rogers: Because sometimes it’s the fact that people just don’t see a future for themselves. And if you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury or degenerative spinal disease and you know it’s not going to get better.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And that you’re just going to be in pain for the rest of your life.

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know, I can’t even fathom to to speak on that. I mean, I can’t put people down for it or pass judgment because I’ve never been in that spot. I’ve been in pain, but I’ve always known that something would get better. I’m a brain tumor survivor.

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Anne Moss Rogers: But you know, I could see that something would be better after this lesson said surgery.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And you know, I do have some permanent deficits, but they’re not they’re not anything I can’t live with. And I can tell you I lost my voice.

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Anne Moss Rogers: For a year and a half, and that very detrimental to me socially. Now I didn’t consider suicide, but I did get down. I mean, I was much more blue than I’ve ever been. And then I was able to go to a surgeon who restored it

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Anne Moss Rogers: And that made a huge difference in my mood. So all those factors make a difference. And anybody is capable of having suicidal ideation, all of us at any time. They’re just people who are

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Anne Moss Rogers: You know, by virtue of genetics or something that’s happened in their past they move on to it.

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Gail Rubin: Yam had her hand up, but put it down so Ashley Yeah.

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Ashley Bailey: Yeah, it’s not exactly a question, but, um, you know, I, I’ve suffered from depression and I

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Ashley Bailey: I remember when I was being hospitalized. My I was afraid to be hospitalized because I didn’t. I knew that on applications and things, they would say, Have you ever been hospitalized for mental health and I was afraid, like, Well, I don’t want to have to check that yes box on there and so

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Ashley Bailey: I’m better I do well, but I now, but I think that my kind of like my life goal is like to try to break the stigma that goes along with mental health issues and suicide and I got this tattoo.

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Ashley Bailey: With the

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Ashley Bailey: semi colon and the lotus flower. And I’ve found that it’s really helpful. Actually, that’s the only tied to ever had never thought I’d get one but

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Ashley Bailey: Some of the money went to a mental health organization. And so, but I thought that it was it’s I found it’s very helpful because people ask, but what is that tattoo.

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Ashley Bailey: And then it gives me the opportunity to bring up the conversation. I’m not just never gonna get a tattoo, but I just feel like anytime that we have the opportunity, even in social situations to, like, bring it up and try to like break the cycle of

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Ashley Bailey: Just terrible how people think mental health issues are just someone’s fault or yeah so I just wanted to share that

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Anne Moss Rogers: Also wanted to put it out there emotionally naked also presents your story. So if anybody here wants to share a story about their loved one or about their depression.

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Anne Moss Rogers: It’s for people with lived experience and people who lost someone or people that you know struggle with thoughts of suicide anything around that subject, those stories like you said.

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Anne Moss Rogers: We’re not going to be able to tackle this stigma without people hearing those personal stories.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And i mean you know you’re functioning out Ashley I greatest writers music competitors composers suffer from depression. My son’s. It was a creative genius. So those mental illnesses come with amazing gifts and we’re not paying enough attention to that.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And giving people credit and also

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Anne Moss Rogers: Depression is like any other disorder like diabetes. I mean, it needs to be treated and it doesn’t need to be put in a category all by itself, the category of shame because it is very hard to manage. I mean, it’s something you have to keep on top of every single day.

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Gail Rubin: Well, Anne Moss Rogers. This has been an amazing conversation. And thank you all for joining us today for this. We do have a leave behind which I think I will email to you as a attachment PDF

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Gail Rubin: As well as a link to the video of this conversation so that if you want to share it with others or

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Gail Rubin: just revisit the conversation again you’ll have that option. I did want to also let you know that this video will be made part of my upcoming before I die. New Mexico Festival, which will be a virtual festival, just like reimagine is

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Gail Rubin: We’re holding it from October 30 to November 2 and will have panel discussions book discussions.

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Gail Rubin: Discussions about issues of downsizing and medical aid and dying and will have theater and movies. And if you sign up for the VIP experience. We’re having a Halloween party.

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Gail Rubin: Virtually that will be a lot of fun. So before I die nm calm is the website for that. But we’ll include information in our follow up email to you that any last thoughts and loss.

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Anne Moss Rogers: I am putting

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Anne Moss Rogers: The link to my book in the chat. It just won an International Book Award finalists, which for memoir about suicide is a pretty big deals. So I put the link in there.

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Anne Moss Rogers: And the download the download a follow up that will have has some free ebooks, including the worksheet and

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Anne Moss Rogers: Just a basic. What do you say or what do you do, and some comments, so it’s not quite on one page, but it’s almost on one page just some tips and highlights

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Anne Moss Rogers: And this has been great. I love having a conversation and seeing faces webinars are hard because I don’t see people and I like to see people

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Gail Rubin: So thank you so much everybody for joining us today and

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Marykay Brady: Thank you. And thank you, Gail. Your

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Anne Moss Rogers: And Gail, send me those comments because I haven’t had a chance to read them all and that I like reading other people’s stories.

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EM: Will do. Thank you.

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Gail Rubin: Thank you for joining us live long and prosper.

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Anne Moss Rogers: big hug from me to you.

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Gail Rubin: We’ll be in touch. Take care. Bye bye.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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