The truth is that we lose someone to suicide every 45 seconds. It impacts every community on the planet. Suicide isn’t a bad word. We can and should talk about it because talking about it is how we quell stigma and silence the shame that has latched on to it for ages. Suicide has impacted and will impact so many. There are those we’ve lost to suicide, there are those who are thinking about suicide, there are those who attempt and survive, there are those who are grieving because of suicide, and there are those who are worried about someone they love considering it. We believe we all have a role to play in working to prevent these tragedies.
One piece of the puzzle that is suicide prevention is giving space for those who have been directly impacted by this epidemic, and that includes people who have lost those they love to suicide. Within the grief of losing someone, there are waves of guilt and waves of shame. Those continuing on in the aftermath are left with questions and often little to no answers. They might wonder why, they might ask what they could have done differently, and they might think it’s wrong for them to smile or laugh or hope ever again.
There is a common thread between the two individuals joining us on today’s episode. They have both lost sisters to suicide and they are both wanting and willing to exist in this awkward and vulnerable space for the sake of healing and hope and help. While they go about it in different ways, their goals are similar. Our two guests are none other than Billy Dwyer and Austin Andrew, and we are eager to introduce you to them.
Billy Dwyer (he/him) is a Licensed Social Worker who works as a Legislative Assistant for his personal Member of Congress in Washington, D.C. As a suicide loss survivor, he is passionate about sharing his sister’s story and advocating for headache disorders. Billy is a proud TWLOHA intern alum and has helped represent the organization at events across the US. Beyond professional work, Billy enjoys being outside, drinking coffee, cooking, and lounging by the nearest body of water.
Austin Andrew (he/him) has studied outdoor adventure leadership and when he is not guiding, he can typically be found (or rather not found) outside riding his bike or climbing some mountain. Austin is the founder of a non-profit called We Shall Continue with Style, and is an ambassador for Kona Bikes and the Maxx G Foundation. Austin shares his story of living with grief after loss and works to support others through their own grief. At the present moment, he is cycling through the Americas on a bike.
“Because my sister died, I now have more appreciation for life. I know how fleeting it can be, how quickly it can change in such a major way.”
This episode of the TWLOHA podcast was hosted by Chad Moses and produced by Rebecca Ebert. Music assistance was provided by James Likeness and Ben Tichenor.
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