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.
Thanksgiving day 2019 was beautiful and started with a hike in the mountains. Dinner was amazing and festive.
There’s a familiar dull ache and heavy feeling that comes over me. I see our family together and know how much Charles would have enjoyed it. More than anything, that child loved family and the get togethers that brought us all together.
He’d have been outside today with those kids playing badminton and he would have orchestrated a corn hole game after. He’d have insisted we all go outside and build a … Read more...
Life (UN)Closeted: LGBTQ & Heterosexual Coming Out Stories & Advice for coming out of life’s closets! Host, Rick Clemons addresses getting out of your comfort zone and living the life unapologetically. I love, love, love the theme of this podcast. The intro rocks and Rick is a great host and amazing speaker.
Each episode takes you on a brash, fun, and in-your-face, provocative storytelling ride that explores how to escape your bullshit, explore your fears, and … Read more...
Given the sensitivity around topics such as addiction, mental illness, and suicide, meeting professionals should strive to hire a mental health speaker who pays attention to safe messages. So here are some thoughts on how meeting professionals and event planners can find the right behavioral health speaker.
Mental health speakers should avoid graphic descriptions
While you want your speaker to deliver a thoughtful and educational presentation, avoid hiring or inviting mental health speakers who go into graphic detail about suicide method or cleanup which could potentially be triggering, especially for young students and … Read more...
So what is the right amount of time to be out of work after death of a child? That depends on the individual.
Loss of a child is a traumatic grief whether it’s suicide, overdose, death from cancer, or some other cause.
Parents who lose a child still have mortgages to pay and car payments to make. For many Americans, no work means no pay. So choice has little to do with how soon some people go back after a child’s death. Consider yourself fortunate if you do have choices.
The question that stalks those of us who’ve lost a loved one to suicide is, “Why did he kill himself?”
After they die, we go through their rooms, computers, social media messages, phones looking for answers looking for why our loved one took their life. We talk to their friends who are often equally as stunned. Our investigations turn up more questions. More anguish and helplessness.
There’s often anger at the deceased for killing themselves. How could they do that? Didn’t they know how much it would hurt those of us left behind?
This was my second time at ASIST, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. I needed to take this again as part of my certification for being a registered safeTALK trainer.
This group of trainees was so engaged and while many of them knew each other, they made me feel like family. People weren’t constantly on their phones and they all wanted to get it right and do the best job they could. They wanted to be there and be part of a suicide safe community.
There was lots participation and even laughter. Because when you are immersed in a … Read more...
I passed by a restaurant called Croaker’s Spot today and it triggered a Charles memory I had forgotten.
My husband and I were dining at this popular Southern eatery when we got a call from Charles.
He was lost. That was not a shock. Charles had a lousy sense of direction and he couldn’t find his way out of a cardboard box with a GPS. The trouble was, he could not tell us exactly where he was and he texted us the wrong address and we ended up in a parking lot searching for him. We called and called. No … Read more...
Best Practices and Lived Expertise on How to Respond When a Suicide Death Impacts Work
Postvention is psychological first aid, crisis intervention, and other support offered after a suicide to affected individuals or the workplace as a whole to alleviate possible negative effects of the event. A suicide death of an employee is only one type of suicide that could affect the workplace. The suicide death of clients, vendors, or a family member of an employee can also have a profound impact.
The goal is to prevent additional suicides, meet the needs of different employees to the best of one’s … Read more...
Nothing will make you feel more inspired than stepping outside of the usual and doing something you don’t ordinarily do.
It could be something as simple as finally going to that support group, doing something for yourself like salsa dancing, joining a historic preservation foundation or making that move to start your own business.
You won’t find excitement and adventure in your comfort zone because that area is surrounded with padded walls to protect you from any new ideas that might hatch. You gotta break out of there to find connection, peace, excitement, and joy.