When the pandemic altered nearly every part of daily life, we wondered what it would mean for those struggling, for those currently fighting to stay alive. A mental health crisis already existed and the pandemic only made it more glaringly obvious. The collective trauma and loss nearly doubled the number of people having thoughts of suicide and experiencing depression compared to previous years.
One bright spot, a moment of tragic optimism, is that this shared experience made talking about mental health almost a normal part of everyday life. We were surprised to see moments where the polite, “How are you?” was not expected to be met with an unassuming “fine.”
Over the course of the next few episodes, in honor of TWLOHA’s Another Day With You campaign and World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, we want to use this space to have conversations that challenge the lie that says we can’t or shouldn’t talk about suicide. We want to share real-life experiences as they relate to suicide attempts, loss, and ideation. For today’s conversation, we’re chatting with and hearing from Carrie Thompson, who lost her son Ben to suicide two years ago.
Carrie is a mother, a wife, and a high school English teacher, who recently moved from a small town in New Hampshire to the city of Seattle, Washington. As a suicide loss survivor, Carrie is on a quest for understanding and healing. She’s an essayist of “creative nonfiction and sad stories” mostly exploring topics around grief and loss to suicide. A piece she wrote about hiking in honor of her son Ben, titled “The 48 Mountains That Held My Grief” was featured in the New York Times. Her words are honest, unapologetic, and wise.
“We need to make it safe for people to say, ‘I'm feeling unsafe, can I just sit here for a while? And can you help me?’ And to respond to that the same way that we respond to other health crises.”
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