The roadblocks we faced trying to save our son from suicide

By Buddy Terrell

My son, John Terrell, began having bipolar episodes at the end of his freshman year at VCU in 2005. The journey has been both frustrating and tedious.

We kept hoping that the next doctor or counselor would help our son. Most likely, we think John also suffered Borderline Personality Disorder which prevented him from being honest with professionals due to feelings of embarrassment.

Eventually this led to his loosing employment and health insurance. At this point, the bipolar disorder was rapidly cycling and choices were limited at the Chesterfield County Mental Health Department. The personnel there did … Read more...

Suicide and the opiate crisis. Why aren’t we talking about it?

One thing I hear little of in mainstream media is how many suicides this opiate crisis has triggered. Many of the people suffering substance abuse disorder (addiction) also suffer a mental illness such as anxiety, bipolar or depression.

Throw drug abuse in there with a mental illness, and chances of suicide increase dramatically.

We hear a lot in the media about overdoses and we should be. We have a record breaking epidemic of them.

But what about the suicides triggered by drug addiction or withdrawal?How many of those overdoses are really suicides? How many take their lives in some other way as a … Read more...

Help me eliminate the phrase, ‘committed suicide’


I understand the phrase has been around a long time. It’s even the headline in my most popular article (I didn’t write that phrase in that headline, by the way*).

Historically, suicide was considered a crime up until the early 60s. In some other parts of the world, it still is.

Saying, ‘committed suicide’ implies crime

Suicide is not a criminal act like murder or a home invasion, but often the result of a treatable brain disease such as depression, addiction, or bipolar disorder or even a physical trauma such as a head injury.

In short, suicide is a public health …

Suicide. So why are we not asking the question?

Why are we not asking the question, “Have you had thoughts of suicide?” Or, “Are you thinking about harming yourself?”

Here’s why you are not asking it.

1. We don’t know to ask it

It simply doesn’t occur to us that someone would go to lengths that drastic. Except someone else who’s been there.  I wish I had asked that question. And I wish I had asked it more than once, too.

For many of the people who have suffered a suicide loss, there were no indications and it came from out of the blue. Suicide is so final. … Read more...

Facebook LIVE: Could suicide happen in your family?

How to talk to someone who is contemplating suicide:

1 Ask if you can talk to them in private

2. Ask open-ended questions:

  • You have not seemed like yourself lately?
  • Anything bothering you?
  • How are you doing?
  • Is everything OK?

3. Listen to their story

4. Have you thought about hurting yourself or ending your life?

5. Encourage them to seek mental health services/treatment

6. Remind them it takes courage to do this but it’s the smart thing to do

One other note. If they have lethal means, a gun or other weapon, this is a situation where the most … Read more...

Who’d have thought my child’s worst enemy was in his own head?

charles-headphonesI protected my child from cars in the street. I worried when he got sick and ran a high fever. I feared he’d die in a car accident, get childhood cancer or be abducted.

I worried about a drug overdose, a drowning or even a shooting.

It never occurred to me that my child’s worst enemy was in his own head. That his brain would betray him like it did. Tell him he was worthless and convince him he’d be better off dead.

I just couldn’t imagine it, fathom it or wrap my head around it. Until I had to.… Read more...

Next Facebook LIVE: Could suicide happen in your family? What are the signs?


Join me, Anne Moss Rogers with guest Shirley Ramsey, Virginia Chapter President of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, as she tells her story about how she got involved in suicide prevention. Who is at risk? What do you do if you suspect a family member is contemplating suicide? What do people say who are thinking about suicide?

Sunday, September 23, 2016
6:30-7pm on my Facebook page

A recording will be posted on the site after the event in case you can’t attend. Send your questions if you have any!

Facebook Invite

Click going or interested to get updates. This … Read more...

Would you ask someone with a heart condition to pray their way out of it?


You wouldn’t ask a diabetic to pray for more insulin, so why would you ask someone with a chemical imbalance in their brain to deny themselves the medication or treatment they need? Why make someone feel guilty for taking medication that literally keeps them alive and functioning?

The brain, like the heart, is a major organ that sometimes needs medical intervention. Mental illness, addiction and suicide are not moral failings. They are illnesses or the result of one.

Oftentimes, those who suffer depression or some other mental illness are encouraged to pray their way out of it. Still others imply that this was God’s way … Read more...

Out of the Darkness heart – #griefheart number 147

There is a walk for suicide awareness and prevention called “Out of the Darkness” walk. I am participating on #TeamCharlesRVA this weekend to celebrate his life and that of others we’ve lost to suicide. To acknowledge our loved ones and their struggle and bring awareness to a subject that needs more conversation.

The color white is for those of us who have lost a child by suicide and this white ribbon represents that. This will be my first Out of the Darkness walk.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

See all #griefhearts

Heroin writes me a letter back


Dear Anne Moss,

I got your letter. You said you f-ing hated me but I could care less.

I am heroin, the most powerful drug in the world.

I am so entrenched in your culture, it will take decades to undo the damage. Your son was just another casualty. I don’t even remember him. How could I? I’ve killed millions, ruined millions of lives and torn apart families.

I have more control over your loved ones than you ever had. You have no control over me and it’s so pathetic to watch you try.

What’s more, I keep changing in both form and … Read more...