Themes of commitment, community and recovery at Saturday suicide prevention event
Posted: September 17, 2023 79
Over 100 people gathered to learn and share their experiences and knowledge together at “Creating Hope & Resilience: A Community Conversation on Suicide Prevention” at the Lynnwood Event Center Saturday. Verdant Health invited over a dozen community organizations and a handful of speakers with local, national and international ties. Panelists included Edmonds School District Social Worker Latisha Williams, Volunteers of America Western Washington Director of Behavioral Health Levi Van Dyke, Involuntary Treatment Supervisor Carola Schmid from Snohomish County Crisis Services and several others.
Keynote speaker Kevin Hines spoke about the events that preceded his failed suicide attempt at the Golden Gate Bridge, the regret he felt and his subsequent salvation at the fins of a sea lion that kept him afloat. Despite the grim subject, Hines kept the conversation light by cracking jokes. In his talk emphasizing the importance of interpersonal ties, he also talked about kindness toward strangers.
“Never again silence your pain,” Hines said. He said that sharing pain and grief can help lighten one’s mental load.
Psychotherapist and TEDX international speaker Ashley McGirt-Adair said that participants should “replace hope with commitment.”. Instead of simply building one’s personal resilience, McGirt-Adair asked how society could be changed to make the world a kinder and more gentle place. One thought experiment asked attendees to look around the room and think of people as delicate and sensitive. She also advocated for social and economic justice that would better support people in need.
Participants left with homework assignments like reaching out to estranged loved ones and taking action in whatever way they could.