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Breaking Down Stigma During Suicide Prevention Month

Breaking Down Stigma During Suicide Prevention Month

If you or someone you know is expressing thoughts of suicide, call 911 or Foundation 2 Crisis Services at 319-362-2174. All Foundation 2 services are confidential and free.

Learn more about suicide prevention and find additional resources at https://foundation2.org/suicide/suicide-prevention/.

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and the Library is partnering with Foundation 2 to share information about this important topic.

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. On an average day in America, 121 people die by suicide and many others attempt.

Foundation 2 Chief Executive Officer Emily Blomme offered suggestions for creating a community with good suicide prevention and care, including changing our behavior health system so people can more readily access mental health care, including screenings, medications and therapy.

She also said people need to have open conversations on difficult topics. 

“Reduce stigma so that talking about suicide is common and even welcomed,” she said. “Talking about suicide can be a prevention tool. Promote connectedness. Check in on your people and feel comfortable with embracing the awkward conversations. Ask people if they are OK, show genuine compassion and concern, and most importantly, avoid judgement.”

Books can help reduce stigma and help people feel they are not alone in their experiences.

Here are five in the Library’s catalog that Foundation 2 staff recommended:

What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D. Perry

Oprah Winfrey, sharing stories from her own past, and a renowned brain development and trauma expert discuss the impact of trauma and adversity and how healing must begin with a shift to asking, “What happened to you?” rather than “What’s wrong with you?”

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

Laymon writes about the physical manifestations of violence, grief, trauma, and abuse on his own body. He writes of his own eating disorder and gambling addiction as well as similar issues that run throughout his family. Through self-exploration, storytelling, and honest conversation with family and friends, Heavy seeks to bring what has been hidden into the light and to reckon with all of its myriad sources, from the most intimate–a mother-child relationship–to the most universal–a society that has undervalued and abused black bodies for centuries.

The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk

Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.

Understanding Teenage Anxiety: a Parent’s Guide to Improving Your Teen’s Mental Health by Jennifer Browne

Within each chapter, author and parent Jennifer Browne and co-author, Jennifer’s teenage son Cody Buchanan, who struggles with anxiety and depression, weigh in on what this affliction feels like, physically, mentally, and emotionally. They share personal experiences to help parents better understand their teens and learn a lot along the way.

All the Wrong Places: a Life Lost and Found by Philip Connors

This account of the decade Connors spent working in a fire-lookout tower high above the remotest part of New Mexico tells the story of what drove him up to the tower in the first place: the wilderness years he spent reeling in the wake of a family tragedy. This is an account of grappling with a shattered sense of purpose, from his family’s failing pig farm in Minnesota to a crack-addled Brooklyn neighborhood to the mountains of New Mexico, where he puts the pieces of his life back together.

Find more book recommendations at https://afsp.org/books-for-loss-survivors.


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