<![CDATA[A Suicide Prevention and Recovery Counsellor  - My Blog]]>Thu, 03 Mar 2016 01:35:04 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Deaths of 14 to suicide - where is the support?]]>Mon, 29 Feb 2016 17:45:04 GMThttp://www.asparc.ca/my-blog/deaths-of-14-to-suicide-where-is-the-supportHere’s another piece by me to add to our webpage:

A recent Huffington Post article, I Have Mourned 14 Deaths By Suicide, Isn’t That Enough? spells out the sad reality of inadequate support for suicidal persons in Canada today.  Alicia Raimundo's point that accessing services is practically impossible when people are suicidal, really resonates with me. In my professional experience I hear of far too many suicidal persons getting sent away from emergency departments due to lack of resources and improper assessment. When they are admitted, effective treatment is seriously lacking, and upon release, referrals and follow-up rarely occur.

That’s why I offer low-cost sliding-fee scale long-term counselling. I do not have a waiting list, and I can connect with people asap by phone, Skype, or in the office. My therapy approach is non-judgmental, attentive, and informed by the research on suicide. If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide please feel free to email me or call Susan at 780-218-7872. 
Here’s the link to Raimundo's Huffington Post artice:

<![CDATA[Suicide Awareness March in Edmonton 2012]]>Sat, 08 Sep 2012 17:58:58 GMThttp://www.asparc.ca/my-blog/suicide-awareness-march-in-edmonton-2012This week Edmontonians are invited to gather at City Hall on September 13, 2012 from 4 - 6 PM for the 10th annual Lift the Silence March to honour the memory of hundreds of beloved Albertans, and to raise much-needed awareness around the cause of their tragic deaths: suicide. 

Suicide statistics indicate a serious public health issue that calls for much-needed increased public attention. 
Most of us know that about 2977 people died in the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

But how many of us know:
that in 2001, and each year since about 3,700 Canadians die by suicide,

that over 400 Albertans die annually by suicide, most under the age of 45,

that Worldwide, suicide rates have increased by over 60% over the past 50 years, especially among younger people? 

How many us know that suicide is the single greatest cause of violent death, more than car accidents, homicide, and war combined? 

Who knew that in the decade since 9/11 the average age of the person who dies by suicide would be getting younger and younger, and that the number of young and middle-aged people who suicide continues to rise? 

We need to know now, and we need to respond compassionately from that awareness to help reduce suicide-related suffering. Otherwise, as each week passes, we will continue to lose healthy, talented, and beloved Albertans. 

So let’s march forward on this issue. Consider attending the 11th Annual Lifting the Silence Suicide Awareness March this Thursday September 13th at City Hall from 4 - 6 PM. Let's march as a community to honour our shared grief over the tragic loss of far too many of its beloved citizens. Let's move forward in our awareness and our commitment to reduce suicide in Edmonton, in Alberta, across Canada, and around the world.
<![CDATA[Folk Fest, Neil Young, and Feeling Helpless]]>Thu, 09 Aug 2012 04:09:03 GMThttp://www.asparc.ca/my-blog/folk-fest-neil-young-and-feeling-helplessWith Folk Fest season upon us, I am recalling kd Lang’s powerful rendition of Neil Young’s iconic song, Helpless. I love that song, the haunting melody, the profound lyrics, that refrain that anthems and honours one of our most painful human emotions: helplessness.

Now I know it’s a commonly held view, and one recently portrayed in the newly released documentary, Neil Young Journeys, that the song Helpless is about his childhood years in Omemee Ontario, but I think that is a mistaken conclusion. Yes, Omemee was where Neil’s formative childhood years occurred but surely Helpless is much more likely about two other truly northern Ontario towns: Thunder Bay and Blind River.

In 1965, when Neil left hometown Winnipeg at 18, he purposefully chose Fort William (now Thunder Bay) in northern Ontario to expand his horizons musically. Young has acknowledged (Einarson, 1992)  that “Fort William .. had an immense impact on me because I really started to grow once I got away from home. It was my first big step on my own”  and that it was the start of the kind of folk rock that was different from anything he’d done before. 

Watching planes take off from the Fort William runway, Neil remarked, “they’re like big birds flying across the sky,” a line he uses in his later writing of Helpless. In Fort William, Young’s band changed their name from the Squires to The High Flying Birds, illustrating the strong impression of that image and metaphor on Young. And significantly, Fort William was where Young first met and hung out with Stephen Stills, an encounter that transformed American rock and roll history. So much of the lyrics of Helpless is about Thunder Bay, where Neil felt the freedom to let his unique style of folk rock truly take flight, His writing “all my changes were there” surely expresses the profound musical transformation he experienced in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The song’s title, Helpless, and it’s hymn-like lament stems from Young’s time in Blind River, another “town in North Ontario”, where Young’s beloved hearse, Mort, broke down en route from Thunder Bay to Sudbury. Young states that “my whole life was in that car.” and, as we all know, immortalizes his attachment to that car in another of his iconic hits, Long May You Run. Neil Young waited for several days in Blind River, hoping in vain for a new transmission for the hearse. While stuck there he spent time writing songs, likely reflecting on his recent creative period in Thunder Bay, and expressing the helplessness he felt after days of fruitless waiting for the repair of the vehicle he saw as the means of moving himself and his music forward. 

Neil Young’s Helpless shows that even those very talented and successful can feel the pain of helplessness at times. If you would like to share your thoughts about feeling helpless, or about this blog on Neil Young, please feel free to email me at susaneanderson@shaw.ca

<![CDATA[Grieving a loss to Suicide]]>Sat, 26 May 2012 00:44:02 GMThttp://www.asparc.ca/my-blog/grieving-a-loss-to-suicide
Devastating news of the recent suicides of two young adults in my personal circle moves me to write about suicide bereavement.

As a counsellor who has met with hundreds of people grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide, and as one who years ago lost a best friend to suicide, I know that grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide is heart-wrenching, exhausting and complex.

Mourners sometimes feel the pain of their grief so intensely that they themselves become suicidal. 

Healing from a traumatic loss to suicide is possible over time.

If you are grieving a loss to suicide, here are some ways to help your healing happen :
  • Allow yourself to name and feel ALL of your painful grief emotions
  • Find a nonjudgmental counsellor who knows about complex grief
  • if your grief keeps you awake at night, take time to lie down in the day
  • Breathe into your sorrow; as you breathe out, send compassion to others who are also suffering.
  • Without editing, write out your feelings of grief.
  • spend time in nature to allow its beauty and peacefulness to comfort you
Please share your comments and experiences with me on this blog or by email : susaneanderson@shaw.ca

<![CDATA[Talking about Suicide]]>Wed, 07 Sep 2011 15:27:41 GMThttp://www.asparc.ca/my-blog/talking-about-suicide
This is the text of an article I had published in the Edmonton Journal on Sept 11, 2010
It's time to banish taboos and talk openly about the pain of suicide.

Encourage the expression, not repression, of emotional vulnerability

Susan Anderson, Freelance

Published: Saturday, September 11 2010

Both from personal experience and as a suicide bereavement counsellor, I know that losing a loved one to suicide pulls those left behind onto a painful journey. Grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide is heart-wrenching, exhausting and complex.

Mourners sometimes feel the pain of their grief so acutely that they themselves have become suicidal. Many find that by expressing and sharing their painful feelings of grief, they honour their loved ones, and further their own healing.

The pain of unattended loss is a large factor in suicide. In suicide support group circles, we say that when a suicide goes unacknowledged, it remains like the unspeakable "elephant in the room." The stigma of suicide stands in the way of expressing our grief and loss in healthy ways. Stigma blocks our capacity to properly deal with the emotional pain of any sort. Our letting the elephant out of the room results in a spaciousness that allows people to share openly and honestly the pain of loss around suicide.

I feel inspired to know that on World Suicide Awareness Day, a space in the heart of our fair city serves to allow its citizens to speak publicly and openly about suicide. On Friday, the ninth annual Lifting the Silence Suicide Awareness March brought Edmontonians together at City Hall and Sir Winston Churchill Square to honour the memory of hundreds of gifted and beloved Albertans, and to raise much-needed awareness around the cause of their tragic deaths. May it serve to increase our collective will to provide better healing support for persons who suffer from depression, grief, and other forms of mental pain.

By marching, we as a community move forward in our awareness and our commitment to reduce suicide rates in Edmonton, around the province, across Canada, and all around the world.

Susan Anderson is a suicide awareness programs counsellor at the Support Network in Edmonton. The organization offers many no-fee services including: bereavement support, support to caregivers of suicidal persons, and walk-in counselling Monday through Friday. The 211information line, and the confidential line 780-482-HELP, a re open around the clock.