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November 2020
Written & Edited by Linda & Al Vigil
Pg  1  : Grieving Notes by Linda
Pg  2  : “When This Is Over” - Pandemic 2020
Pg  3  : Understanding
               Survivors of Suicide Loss
Pg  6  : Suicide Statistics
               We’d Like to Change in 2020
Pg  8  : Surviving Your Child’s Suicide
Pg 10 : Suicide Rates For Doctors
Pg 12 : About SOSL - NM

Grieving Notes
By Linda Vigil
Once again the Holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving. Christmas. The New Year.

For those of us who have lost someone to suicide, the empty chair, the missing chair at the table,
will forever change the Holidays for us. The grieving process is unique with each person. I have been
asked so many times how long will it take for this pain to go away. I answer, “The pain will never go away!
But the pain, in time, will not hurt as much, or last as long. In time you might
use your pain to help others who have suffered the same loss

I have such mixed emotions in writing these Grieving Notes. My heart does not just hurt for those of us
who have lost a loved one to suicide, but to so many who have lost a loved to this Covid-19.
This terrible pandemic has so many people hurting —fearful about their own future.
All of us have taken so much for granted. Full shelves at the grocery store, coffee with a friend. Enjoying a movie in a crowded theater. Enjoying a game in a roaring stadium on a Friday night out.
The school rush each morning.

When all of this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be,
and may we stay that way. Better for each other because of the worst. Each of us carry our own pain.
This pandemic is foreign to us. It has brought a fear of life itself.

May this Holiday Season be our reflection of the freedom and health we once had,
knowing that together we can have it again.

- In Sharing and Healing,
- Linda



“Letters from Mia” - A Video !

It’s dialogue and it’s presentation come from the personal, hand-written journal, that our Mia wrote during the four months before her suicide. We offer the video in the hope
that Mia’s words will help you to Choose Life.

We know that many counselors and clinicians have used the video as a teaching
and discussion guide —to help those dealing with their own suicide risk.

As of Nov. 15th, 2020, the “ Mia - “ video has been seen 4,600 times.

Collin Leslie, it’s director and producer, has named it “Letters From Mia.”
It can be seen on the Vimeo Web-Site. Open the code below in your browser to view.;utm_medium=vimeo-




"When This Is Over” -   Ref: Pandemic 2020
When this is over,
May we never again take for - Memes - i cant wait to hug you when this IS over.
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors   
A crowded theater
A Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine check-up
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
 Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself
When this ends, may we find that we have become
more like the people we wanted to be,
And may we stay that way —better
for each other because of the worst.
            By Laura Kelly Fanucci                           
(Reprinted from a mail insert recv. from Megan England)
                  — Suicide is a death like no other
Understanding Survivors of Suicide Loss | Psychology Today
                     By Deborah Serani Psy.D.    
                            Posted Nov 25, 2013
  Grief is a universal experience all human beings encounter. Though death inevitably touches our lives, research shows that many people grieve in varying and different ways. From the textures of emotions, to length of time in mourning, to even the kinds of rituals and remembrances that help heal the irreplaceable loss. Grieving the death of a loved one is never, ever easy.
 Suicide, however, has been described as a death like no other ... and it truly is. Death by suicide stuns with soul-crushing surprise, leaving family and friends not only grieving the unexpected death, but confused and lost by this haunting loss.
 Who is a Survivor of Suicide Loss?
 Despite science supporting a neurobiological basis for mental illness, suicide is still shrouded by stigma. Much of the general public believes that death by suicide is shameful and sinful. Others consider it a “choice that was made” and blame family members for its outcome. There are people who are unsure how to reach out and support those who have lost a loved one to suicide, and simply avoid the situation out of ignorance.
 Whatever the reason, it is important to note that the underlying structure of grief for survivors of suicide loss is an intricately complicated grief.
 When someone dies by suicide, research shows that at least 9 people are intimately traumatized by the death. Those who are directly affected include immediate family members, relatives, neighbors, friends, fellow students and/or co-workers.
 From the nearly 800,000 suicides reported from 1986 through 2010 and using the 9 survivors per suicide estimate, it is believed that the number of survivors of suicide loss in the U.S. reaches 5 million people.
 Understanding Suicide
 Based on the accounts of those who have attempted suicide and lived to tell about it, we know that the Take5toSaveLives on Twitter: "Don't underestimate the power of ...primary goal of a suicide is not to end life, but to end pain. People in the grips of a suicidal depression are battling an emotional agony where living becomes objectionable. Most people who die by suicide have a significant depression narrowing their problem solving skills. Corrosive thinking reduces optimism, the hope of possibility and increases feelings of helplessness.
 The depressive illness itself makes it virtually impossible to hold onto any semblance of pain going away. While some may argue that a person who dies by suicide has done so by their own choice, I argue that serious mental illness, in fact, limits choice. Studies of those who have survived their suicide attempt and healed from their depression report being astonished that they ever considered suicide.
 Why Grieving is Different
 Research has long known that suicide survivors move through very distinctive bereavement issues. Family and friends are prone to feeling significant bewilderment about the suicide. Why did this happen? How did I not see this coming? Overwhelming guilt about what they should have done more of or less of —become daily, haunting thoughts.
 Survivors of suicide loss often feel self-blame as if somehow they were responsible for their loved one’s suicide. Many also experience anger and rage against their loved one for abandoning or rejecting them—or disappointment that somehow they were not powerful enough, loved enough or special enough to prevent the suicide. 
 These mistaken assumptions plague survivors of suicide loss for a very long time. Many struggle for years trying to make sense of their loved one’s death—and even longer making peace—if at all—with the unanswerable questions that linger. Society still attaches a stigma to suicide. And as such, survivors of suicide loss may encounter blame, judgment or social exclusion  —while mourners of loved ones who have died from terminal illness, accident, old age or other kinds of deaths usually receive sympathy and compassion.
 It’s strange how we would never blame a family member for a loved one’s cancer or Alzheimer’s, but Shattered Heart by DskAlex | VideoHivesociety continues to cast a shadow on a loved one’s suicide.
 What also makes grieving different is that when we lose a
loved one to illness, old age or an accident, we retain happy memories. We can think back on our loved one and replay fond memories, share stories with joyful nostalgia. This is not always so for the suicide survivor.
 They question the memories, “Were they really good?”  “Maybe he wasn’t really happy in this picture?” “Why didn’t I see her emotional pain when we were on vacation?”   Sometimes it becomes agonizing to connect to a memory or to share stories from the past —so survivors often divorce themselves from their loved one’s legacy.     
 Survivors of suicide  loss not only experience these aspects of complicated grief, they are also prone to developing symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder —a direct result from their loved one’s suicide. The unspeakable sadness about the suicide becomes a circle of never ending bewilderment, pain, flashbacks and a need to numb the anguish.
 Ways to Help a Survivor of Suicide Loss
If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, there are many things you can do. In addition, by reaching out, you also help take stigma out of the equation.
          Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the death. Extend your condolences, express     your feelings of sorrow. Make sure you use the loved one’s name. “My heart is so sad  that John died.” Many who have lost someone to suicide have a broken heart,  clinically called Stress Cardiomyopathy, and really need your empathy, compassion and understanding to heal.
 Ask the survivor if and how you can help. Though they may not be ready to accept help, asking signifies that you are there —not avoiding or distancing during this tragic event. The notion of being there if needed is extremely comforting for survivors.
Encourage openness. Be accepting of however survivors need to express their feelings. It may be with silence, with sadness or even anger.
 Be Patient
Don’t set a time limit for a survivor’s grief. Complicated grief can take years to process. Moreover, don’t limit a survivor’s need to share and repeat stories, conversations or wishes. Repetition is a key factor in grief recovery.
Be a compassionate listener. This means don’t look to fix things. The greatest gift you can give someone you care about who has survived a suicide loss is your time, reassurance and love.
be, correct, find, heal, inspirational - image #4958196 by ...
 Ways to Help Yourself if You’re a Survivor of Suicide Loss
Ground yourself:  It may be very painful, but you must learn to hold tightly to the truth that you are not responsible for your loved one’s suicide in any way, shape, or form.
Don’t put a limit on your grief.
Grieve in your own way, on your own time frame. It will take time to find a place for your sadness and loss. It may take even more time for you to feel hope again and envision possibilities.
Plan ahead.
When you feel ready, assist your family in finding ways to mark your loved one's birthday, family holidays or other milestones. Understand that new moments, experiences or events will be met with sadness, even with emotional setbacks. Preparing for how you will move through these calendar dates will help minimize traumatic reactions.
Make connections. Consider joining a support group specifically designed for survivors of suicide loss. The environment can provide a mutually supportive, reassuring healing environment unlike anywhere else.
Give yourself permission. To cry. To laugh. To seek professional help if you need it. Remember that you are moving through the most difficult of losses —and you can take control of the path to healing.

Just when the caterpillar thought
the world was over,
she became a butterfly!

Over the past 20 years, suicide rates have been on the rise in every state in the US except Nevada, according to recent findings from  the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Their research found that the suicide rate increased by more than 30% than half of states from 1999 to 2016. In some states, that cdc-logo
increase was as high as 58%.
In 2016, the suicide rate was estimated to be around 13.4 out of 100,000, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Topics such as mental health and suicide are at the forefront of public conversation, which means we are in a better position than ever to make a change. Here are some other trends that we want to see change in 2019 :  Every 28 seconds, someone attempts suicide.
“In order to decrease suicide, we have to make space for those recovering from suicide
to share their experiences.”
The American Association for Suicidology (AAS) estimates that there were 1.1 million suicide attempts in Hope for the Future: Insights from the American Association of ...2016. That translates to an attempt every 28 seconds. These numbers are difficult to estimate, because of the stigma many survivors face when they are recovering. John Draper, executive director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline remarked in a piece for Cosmopolitan that,  "Few of [the survivors] are being asked —and fewer still are talking —about their struggles through suicidal experiences.”
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15-24.

Recently suicide became the second leading cause of death for young people. The rate of suicide among young people under the age of 25 was calculated to be approximately 13.2 out of 100,000 in 2016. According the 2015 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 8.6% of high schoolers had attempted suicide in the last 12 months. Girls attempted at approximately two times the rate of boys. Statistics among sexuality in minority teens were even more concerning. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens were five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
The AAS estimates that for every female death by suicide, there are 3.4 male deaths. In states like Montana, 41.9 out of every 100,000 men died by suicide, in comparison to 9.1 out of every 100,00 women. Additionally, men who die by suicide are more likely to be older-- the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that men above the age of 65 are 1.4x more likely to die by suicide than the total population. Part of this discrepancy may come from preconceived notions of what is “acceptable” male behavior.
“Men are more likely to face stigma when discussing their mental health, and thus are less likely to seek out support when struggling.”  People in Montana, Alaska, and Wyoming are almost 2x as likely to die by suicide compared to the national average.
Research by the Kaiser Family Foundation used data collected by the CDC to estimate suicide rates by state. The top 5 states are listed below:
Daily chart - America's suicide rate has increased for 13 years in ...
Montana — 26
Alaska — 25.4
Wyoming — 25.2
New Mexico — 22.5
Utah — 21.8

Other states with high suicide rates:  Idaho (21.3),  Oklahoma (20.9), and South Dakota (20.5). It appears that states with higher suicide rates tend to have more rural areas, and lower probability of reliable access to health care. These factors can lead to increased feelings of isolation, which in turn acts as a risk factor for depression, anxiety, and suicidal thinking. We see this in our texters as well  —Montana ranks number one for texts about suicide, with Alaska, Wyoming, and New Mexico all falling in the top 10.
40% of those identifying as transgender have attempted suicide in their lifetime.

It is well documented that LGBTQ+  students are at an increased risk for suicide. However, a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality estimated the transgender suicide rate to be almost nine times higher than that of the overall population. Our texters identifying as trans are 50% more likely to mention suicide in their conversations with us. Those identifying as transgender often face a unique set of challenges, such as lack of family support, social rejection, and difficulty of access to trans-specific healthcare, that increase their risk of suicide.
These statistics can seem scary, even overwhelming. But we can all do our part to prevent suicide. Learn how to recognize the warning signs that someone may be at risk for suicide. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you’re worried about if they’re struggling with suicide. Asking doesn’t plant the idea in their head. Rather, it opens up the conversation and decreases the stigma around suicide. In order to decrease the rate of suicide in the US, we must open up the conversation about suicide (and mental health in general) in order to support those who are struggling and those who are in recovery.

       I Wish I Could: Take Your Pain Away (and give it to someone we ... Surviving Your Child’s Suicide
                          From : Compassionate Friends
The suicide of a child of any age presents unique circumstances that can intensify and prolong the mourning process for parents, family members and friends. Suicide is believed to be a reaction to overwhelming feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness and depression. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the United States among 10-14 year olds and 15-24 year olds, and the second leading cause among 25-34 year olds.
While mental illness often plays a role in suicide, not everyone who dies by suicide is mentally ill. Some families have experienced years of treatments, hospitalizations and medications with their child, while some experience none at all.
Sometimes there are warning signs of the person’s intentions. However, clues may be so disguised that even a trained professional or counselor may not recognize them. Occasionally there are no discernible signs and the child’s suicide becomes a catastrophic decision that may never be understood.
There is a change taking place in the terminology when talking about suicide. The term “died by suicide” is being adopted. This new language is reflective of the changes in our understanding and compassion as we move away from the harsh statement and stigma of the words “committed suicide”, which can be offensive to families whose children have taken their own lives.
After the Suicide
Feelings of shock, denial, guilt, anger, and depression are a normal part of grief. These feelings can be especially heightened when a child has died by suicide.
The suicide of a child can raise painful questions, doubts and fears. You may question why your love was not enough to save your child and may fear that others will judge you to be an unfit parent. Both questions may raise strong feelings of failure. Many bereaved parents wrestle with these feelings, but in time come to a place where they understand their child made the choice to end their life.
It is not uncommon for newly bereaved parents to express thoughts of suicide, regardless of how their child has died. Suicide is not inherited. If you are having thoughts of suicide, be gentle with yourself. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and provides free and confidential emotional support from a trained counselor and is available 24-hours a day/7-days a week. However, if the thoughts turn into plans to end your life, please seek professional support immediately.
Stigma Associated with Suicide
Stigma associated with suicide in our society as a result of cultural and religious interpretations causes some families to be reluctant to talk openly about the cause of their child’s death. Keeping the cause of death a secret can deprive you of the joy of speaking about your child with family and friends and may cause isolation between you and those whose support you will need. Finding support from others who allow you to openly share your feelings about your child’s suicide can help you to focus on your own healing and survival.

Anger is a common emotion experienced by parents whose child has died by suicide. Anger may be directed at your child, those you believe failed to help your child, God or just the world in general. You may be angry with yourself because you feel you were unable to save your child. Anger can be destructive but it can also be constructive. Finding constructive ways of expressing your anger can help in the healing process.
Guilt and Regret
Parents, family, friends, classmates, and even coworkers often have feelings of guilt and regret following a child’s suicide. “If only” is a phrase many find themselves repeating over and over. Intellectually, you may come to understand that your child’s decision to end their life was their own. Emotionally, however, it may take much longer for you to accept that you are not responsible. Be patient with yourself. Letting yourself fully feel an emotion is often an important part of processing and working through it.
Often parents ask “why?” Rarely are there clear answers, which may be highly frustrating. At some point, you may begin to realize that there are some questions about the death of your child that will never be answered.
Lack of energy, sleep problems, inability to concentrate, not wanting to talk with others, and the feeling there is nothing to live for are all normal reactions in bereavement. Situational depression, as opposed to clinical depression, should eventually subside. This type of depression can be helped by integrating moderate physical activity, plenty of Candles In A Row Photograph by Alexander Fedinrest and water, and a nutritious diet into a daily routine. Try to allow family and friends to take care of you. You don’t have to be strong. Try to stay connected with people you value and trust. Talking with others who have been through a similar situation may also help you to cope. If the depression does not appear to lessen over time, you may want to talk with a qualified professional who can determine how best to help you.
Often parents find themselves in a spiritual crisis and question their beliefs or feel betrayed by God. Religious concerns about the hereafter may also surface. “Why did God let this happen?” is a question we may never know the answer to. Talking about spiritual and philosophical questions with other parents who have experienced a suicide may be helpful. For those with concerns of a spiritual nature, it could be helpful to find a gentle, caring and nonjudgmental member of the same faith and open yourself to that person.
Ideas to Help You Cope
Talk about your child’s death with family members and discuss your feelings of loss and pain. Talk about the good times you had as well as the times that were not so good. It can be helpful and therapeutic to express feelings rather than to internalize them. Giving the gift of tolerance for all family members to grieve in their own way allows each person to feel validated in their own unique grief experience. Keep in mind that everyone’s grief journey is as unique as the relationship they had with the child that died. You may find it helpful to write your feelings or to write a letter to your child; this can be a safe place for you to express some of the things you were not able to say before the death.
Ask for help 
Don’t be afraid to let your friends know what you need when they ask; they want to help.
Consider becoming involved with a self-help bereavement group such as The Compassionate Friends. Through sharing with others who have walked a similar path, you may gain some understanding of your reactions and learn additional ways to cope. Seek professional support and family counseling if necessary.
Give yourself time, time and more time. It takes months, even years, to open your heart and mind to healing. Choose to survive and then be patient with yourself. In time, your grief will soften as you begin to heal and you will feel like investing in life again.
This article is from The Katrina Tagget Memorial Foundation in loving memory of
Katrina “Kara” Tagget, daughter of Sara & David and sister of Blake.
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Suicide Rates for Doctors and Young Physicians
                                          Among Highest in the Us Population
By Alex Johnson  -  June 2019
Doctors in the United States confront a high suicide rate as a result of stressful working conditions and excessively long work hours. Director and chairman of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Dr. Edward Wilson, told CNBC that it is estimated that one doctor dies every day by suicide in the US due to “stress and rigorous work schedules.”
Doctors have alarmingly high rates of depression. One reason ...
Doctors and health professionals within the US, are “stressed to the breaking point” due to stifling work schedules and mounting pressures that stem from patient care. Depression, the primary cause of suicidal ideation, affects an estimated 12 percent of male physicians and 19.5 percent of female physicians, but doctors are often hesitant to seek treatment due to the stigma associated with mental health problems.
As a result, doctors have the highest suicide rate among any profession in the country: 28 to 40 per 100,000 persons compared to 12.3 per 100,000 for the general population.
Recent data shows that 44 percent of physicians show signs of physical and emotional exhaustion, or “burnout,” which can lead to further mental health problems as doctors have difficulty adequately taking care for themselves, such as eating and sleeping properly.
Changes made to the way hospitals and medical centers operate in recent years may have improved the efficiency of the American healthcare system, but at the cost of longer and more exhaustive work schedules for doctors. Doctors are now spending less time with patients in traditional care settings and more time fulfilling extraneous tasks traditionally performed by adjunct staff and employees. As a result, the suicide rate among physicians has exploded in recent decades. The suicide rate among male and female physicians is 1.41 and 2.27 times higher than that of the general male and female population.
For example, Dr. Benjamin Shaffer, a renowned surgeon from Washington D.C., hung himself in 2015 after taking his son to school. He had struggled his entire life with anxiety and a severe form of insomnia, which afforded him little time to sleep before operating on and treating patients. Just days before he committed suicide and in the face of growing personal turmoil, his psychiatrist prescribed two new drugs which merely exacerbated his anxiety and insomnia and even led to paranoia. After he was told that he would need medication for the rest of his life, he concluded that he could never live a normal life again and decided to kill himself.
High suicide rates are also prevalent among medical students. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for medical students. They are three times more likely to kill themselves than their peers in the same age group. As many as 30 percent of medical students suffer from depression. The work schedules for young doctors transitioning from medical school, customarily referred to as “residents,” are extremely onerous. Residents are expected to work up to 80 hours a week with single shifts that can last up to 28 hours.
These grueling schedules are largely the result of the centralized matching system for residency applicants in the hospital labor market and the monopoly held by a handful of hospital chains. Although employer-controlled labor markets are typically prohibited by anti-trust laws, the system remains the only avenue for residents to become fully licensed doctors.
Centralized matching, commonly referenced as “the match,” allows a handful of employers to select residency applicants without them having any legal right or ability to negotiate the terms of their contracts. This grants hospital conglomerates free rein to implement excessive hours and lower pay.
In 2002, a group of residency students filed a lawsuit against the for-profit selection system, deeming it an unlawful “contract” or “conspiracy” designed to undermine federal antitrust laws. After a federal district court initially ruled that “the match” may be illegal and give an unfair advantage to healthcare institutions, Congress passed legislation immunizing medical training programs from antitrust lawsuits. Thus, residency programs give hospital employers access to a well-educated, but super-exploited and over-burdened workforce. As a 2017 article in The Atlantic noted, “while residency-program administrators no doubt take their educational obligations seriously, residents are also a cheap source of skilled labor that can fill gaps in coverage.” Resident salaries are generally equivalent to those of the hospital cleaning staff and about half of what nurse practitioners get paid even though residents typically work much longer hours.
The long hours residents are compelled to work causes tremendous physical and psychological stress. In response, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (AGGME) implemented a “duty-hour” reform policy in 2003, which lowered the maximum weekly hospital working hours from 120 to 80 and the length of single shifts from 48 to 28 hours. However, this change did little to lessen the severity of residents’ schedules. Surveys show that the reforms led to virtually no changes in work and sleep hours.
A large reason behind the failure of the reforms is that hospitals have not increased the rate of new hires to keep up with the rising demands of healthcare operations. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of patients admitted to teaching hospitals rose 46 percent, but the number of residency spots only increased 13 percent.



Two (2) Meetings each Month at:
 Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church
1801 Montano Rd NW, Albuquerque
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1st & 3rd Monday of Every Month
More information at :  505 - 400 - 9942
Open  “Sharing and Healing Newsletter” on line at  : 

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