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Coping with Suicidal Thoughts — A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach: Interview with Dr. Katie Gordon | Episode 92

In this episode, I interview Dr. Katie Gordon, a clinical psychologist and the author of the recently published book “The Suicidal Thoughts Workbook.” We talk about her H.O.P.E. approach to helping people cope with and learn from suicidal thoughts.

H = Seek help to broaden ideas about how to manage suicidal intensity.

O = Find optimism by searching for things to look forward to.

P = Change perspective through tools like “opposite action” and by putting your thoughts on trial.

E = Attend to emotions through self-compassion and emotional regulation strategies.

About Dr. Katie Gordon
KHGordon_Author_Photo.jpg
Kathryn H. Gordon, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Prior to working as a therapist, she was a professor for ten years. She was recognized as an Inspiring Teacher for her classes about psychopathology, empirically-supported therapy, and cultural diversity. Dr. Gordon is a mental health researcher who has published over eighty scientific articles and book chapters on suicidal behavior, disordered eating, and related topics. She co-hosts Psychodrama Podcast, blogs for Psychology Today, and shares mental health information through her website, kathrynhgordon.com. Dr. Gordon’s book, The Suicidal Thoughts Workbook. For more information go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/92

Grant Us the Serenity — The Gifts of Long-Term Recovery: Interview with Dennis Berry | Episode

For many of us, we have experiences in our life that mark “before” and “after.” For people in long-term recovery, one of those moments is the date they decided to take significant action in fighting their addiction. Most recite this date with pride and mark it as a milestone as the months, then years, then decades pass.

As a psychologist I can’t say that I gave 12-step programs much more than a passing thought. The support groups and programs were often seen in many circles I traveled as somehow “less than” or “alternative” to mainstream psychotherapy. I knew about AA and Al-Anon, but I had no idea about how many other groups existed and how many people had benefitted from them.

Now that I’ve had some firsthand experience, I can say that I deeply appreciate the approach and understand why they have helped millions of people.

First, they offer a community. A fellowship of peers who have walked the path. Instantly new people are welcomed as the most important group needing support. There are many rules to protect the psychological safety of this community, because helping people feel less alone is a major part of what heals us. Second, they offer guidance for people to consider spiritual growth — no matter what your religious views are (or aren’t as agnostics and atheists are welcomed too). “Spiritual growth” in this context is about connecting with something bigger than yourself and finding a higher calling. There is an emphasis on serving others, reflecting deeply on how to find forgiveness from your past and find grace and growth in making amends. Finally, there is a clear pathway toward healing. The action steps and accountability of the work keep people taking steps forward — one day at a time.

In this interview, I speak with Dennis Berry, a man 18 years sober. He defines serenity as “not drinking today.” In our conversation he shares his story of he transitioned from his addiction to being on a life mission to help others “shorten their learning curve” to recovery. We talk about the brain science behind addiction and the “H.O.W.” approach to achieving a healthy vibrant life. For more information go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/93

On Being Fearless — Intimate Partner Violence, Women Empowerment & Well-Being: Interview with J'Anmetra “JoJo” Waddell | Episode 90

TRIGGER WARNING: This episode covers distressing content about domestic violence and physical, sexual and emotional assault.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

~Marianne Williamson

“I can breathe. I can think.”

When J’Anmetra was imprisoned in her home under the threat of her husband, this was her mantra. One that kept her alive and ultimately allowed her the ability to escape.

According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) survivors of intimate partner violence are twice as likely to have multiple suicide attempts, according to a study published in the Journal of Injury & Violence Research, intimate partner problems were identified as a precipitating circumstance in 30% of all suicide cases in the National Violent Death Reporting System. And yet, the connection between intimate partner violence and suicide is under-addressed on many fronts.

In this episode, we bear witness to the inspiring story of J’Anmetra Waddell and her courage to break free from the bonds of her abuser — her husband and the Pastor of her church. She shares her how her near-miss with suicide transitioned to her journey to becoming an advocate for other survivors of domestic violence.

About J’Anmetra “JoJo” Waddell, MBA/HCM
J’Anmetra Waddell, is the ONLY Live Past Crazy Specialist! She works strategically with women to R.I.S.E – mastering their source of power as a mindset mediator.

J’Anmetra is an Amazon’s International Bestselling Author of Fearless Woman Born to Give Thanks and Transition to Freedom and four other amazing books. She has received Author of the Year Award for two consecutive years and has had the opportunity to share the screen with the late actor Tommy Ford in the movie The Last Time. She is the founder of Be Fearless Inc, Waddell Consulting Services helping companies educate their senior leadership and employees on empathy and employee engagement. She has an MBA in Healthcare Management and currently finishing her Ph.D.

She is a strong advocate for victims and survivors of domestic violence. At 40, she instantly understood that she had to start being who she was born to be; a leader, teacher, trainer, thought creator, a REBEL!

for more on this episode please go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/90

Unplugged — How to Reconnect with Nature in the Digital Age: Interview with Sebastian Slovin | Episode 89

There is a growing scientific field called “ecotherapy” that has demonstrated a strong connection between time spent outside in nature and improved well-being. Shifting our attention to the sounds, smells, and beauty is calming for many. On brain scans we can actually see reduced activity in. the parts of the brain that are linked to rumination — or repetitive negative thoughts. In this episode, I speak with Sebastian Slovin, author of Experience Nature Unplugged: A Guide to Wellness in the Digital Age, a new book on how connecting with nature helps reset our brains. We discuss the ways our digital lives are negatively impacting our mental health and how nature is the perfect antidote.

About Sebastian Slovin
Since Sebastian can remember, nature has been a central part of his life. He was fortunate to grow up in the beach community of La Jolla, California and spent his childhood mixing it up in the ocean. As a young boy, he lost his father to suicide, which would deeply inspire his path in life. As a young adult, he had the opportunity to travel extensively and experience many of the world’s great surf spots as a professional bodyboarder. Through his travel, Sebastian developed a deep love and appreciation for our natural world and at the same time was drawn to the practice of yoga and mindfulness. His passion for nature led him to pursue a BA in Environmental Policy at San Diego State University. He also holds an MA in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego. He is the author of The Adventures of Enu, Ashes in the Ocean, and Experience Nature Unplugged: A Guide to Wellness in the Digital Age. He and his wife, Sonya, founded Nature Unplugged, which is all about inspiring wellness in the digital age. When he is not writing or working on Nature Unplugged, Sebastian enjoys swimming, surfing and (pretty much all things) in the wild Pacific Ocean.

Train the Brain — Daily Practices to Disrupt Negative Thoughts and Build Healthier Pathways: Interview with Johnny Crowder | Episode 88

When it comes to overcoming mental and emotional challenges, we have a problem. In fact, according to Cope Notes we have several:

PROVIDERS: Our mental health providers are often overwhelmed with demand, that accessing services in a timely way can be challenging. Once we find an available provider, we often can’t afford the level of service we need, and, even if we can, we find that many providers are not culturally or linguistically aligned with the people who need the support the most. Medicalization, jargon and pathologizing can keep us in a mindset of “sickness.”

PEOPLE IN NEED: In many instances the process of finding the right services is overwhelming, confusing, and exhausting. This level of perseverance is difficult for people who are functioning well, let alone for people who are feeling hopeless, unseen and unknown. Once people do find their way to support services, they often worry about privacy, judgment, and losing control.

COMMUNITIES: Generally speaking we seem to be focused more on responding to crises than we are on preventing them in the first place. Our approaches, therefore are reactive instead of proactive and big splashes of effort instead of slow drips over time.

In this conversation I speak with the brilliant and inspiring Johnny Crowder. We talk about how we can gain the upper hand on our complex and mysterious brains by short-circuiting negative thoughts. We explore how faith, creativity and community helps us gain new perspectives and forms of expression. We discuss the questions of how do we replace old thought patterns with healthier ones? How do we build a better brain? Stronger friendships and families? More resilient communities?

About Johnny Crowder
Johnny Crowder is a 28-year-old suicide/abuse survivor, TEDx speaker, touring musician, mental health advocate, and the Founder & CEO of Cope Notes, a text-based mental health platform that provides daily support to users in nearly 100 countries around the world. Armed with 10 years of clinical treatment, a psychology degree from University of Central Florida, and a decade of peer support and public advocacy through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Johnny’s infectious positivity and firsthand experience with mental illness uniquely equips him to provide realistic, yet hopeful insight into the pains of hardship with authenticity, levity, and unconventional wit. For more information on this episode go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/88

Train the Brain — Daily Practices to Disrupt Negative Thoughts and Build Healthier Pathways: Interview with Johnnie Crowder | Episode 88

When it comes to overcoming mental and emotional challenges, we have a problem. In fact, according to Cope Notes we have several:

PROVIDERS: Our mental health providers are often overwhelmed with demand, that accessing services in a timely way can be challenging. Once we find an available provider, we often can’t afford the level of service we need, and, even if we can, we find that many providers are not culturally or linguistically aligned with the people who need the support the most. Medicalization, jargon and pathologizing can keep us in a mindset of “sickness.”

PEOPLE IN NEED: In many instances the process of finding the right services is overwhelming, confusing, and exhausting. This level of perseverance is difficult for people who are functioning well, let alone for people who are feeling hopeless, unseen and unknown. Once people do find their way to support services, they often worry about privacy, judgment, and losing control.

COMMUNITIES: Generally speaking we seem to be focused more on responding to crises than we are on preventing them in the first place. Our approaches, therefore are reactive instead of proactive and big splashes of effort instead of slow drips over time.

In this conversation I speak with the brilliant and inspiring Johnny Crowder. We talk about how we can gain the upper hand on our complex and mysterious brains by short-circuiting negative thoughts. We explore how faith, creativity and community helps us gain new perspectives and forms of expression. We discuss the questions of how do we replace old thought patterns with healthier ones? How do we build a better brain? Stronger friendships and families? More resilient communities?

About Johnny Crowder
Johnny Crowder is a 28-year-old suicide/abuse survivor, TEDx speaker, touring musician, mental health advocate, and the Founder & CEO of Cope Notes, a text-based mental health platform that provides daily support to users in nearly 100 countries around the world. Armed with 10 years of clinical treatment, a psychology degree from University of Central Florida, and a decade of peer support and public advocacy through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Johnny’s infectious positivity and firsthand experience with mental illness uniquely equips him to provide realistic, yet hopeful insight into the pains of hardship with authenticity, levity, and unconventional wit. For more information on this episode go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/88

Historical Trauma and Historical Healing: Interview with Abigail Echo Hawk | Episode 87

NOTE: Abigail Echo Hawk will be keynoting at the American Association of Suicidology’s Annual Conference on Friday, April 23rd at 9:00AM ET. You can listen to her and the many other diverse speakers virtually or in person at the conference in Orlando.

Her keynote is entitled: Decolonizing Data: Restoring Culture and Building Beauty

REGISTER HERE: https://www.aasconference.org/registration

Overview
Historical trauma is often understood to be multigenerational wounding caused by the cumulative impact of major events inflicted upon a specific cultural, racial or ethnic group. When it comes to research about health and well-being, Western modalities of understanding human experience are limited and biased, further driving disparities and truncated views that can cause even more harm. By contrast, a strength-based, Indigenous framework of understanding resists the narrow view and on-going trauma of colonialism and focuses on restoration and healing. In this interview I speak with a “Storyteller of Health” and epidemiologist Abigail Echo Hawk about her vision of an anti-racist approach to data collection and recovery among tribal communities.
About Abigail Echo Hawk, MA
Abigail Echo-Hawk, M.A., an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, is the Chief Research Officer for the Seattle Indian Health Board, a Federally Qualified Health Center serving American Indians and Alaska Natives in King County, Washington. She also serves as the Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), a Tribal Epidemiology Center whose mission is to support the health and well-being of urban Indian communities through information, scientific inquiry, and technology. UIHI assists a national network of Urban Indian Health Programs, which are private nonprofit corporations that provide native people in select cities a range of health and social services, from outreach and referral to full ambulatory care. Ms. Echo-Hawk directs a staff of public health professionals who work on multiple ongoing research, evaluation, and disease surveillance projects to benefit American Indian/Alaska Natives in urban and rural settings. She received the University of Washington Bothell’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013 for her dedication to eliminating health disparities and was also recognized in the 2015 class of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s (NCAIED) Native American 40 Under 40.

As a dedicated community volunteer, Ms. Echo-Hawk has concentrated on policy and institutional change to eliminate disparities for women of color locally and nationally. She focuses on policy advocacy in areas such as maternal and child health, domestic violence, sexual assault, and health disparities. Volunteer memberships include the Native American Women’s Dialogue on Infant Mortality, Hope Heart Institute, the Center for Indigenous Law and Justice, the Children and Youth Advisory Board of King County, and the Coalition to End Gender-Based Violence.

Ms. Echo-Hawk’s greatest joy is her place within her extended family. She is a wife, mother, auntie, daughter, granddaughter, friend, and community member. She strives to serve her family, friends, and community with love and to be a small part of ensuring a great future for the next generation. For more information on this episode go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/87

The Gaming Community and Suicide Prevention: Interview with Fenway Jones | Episode 86

NOTE: Fenway Jones will be speaking at the American Association of Suicidology’s Annual Conference on Thursday, April 22nd at 2:00PM ET. You can listen to her and the many other diverse speakers virtually or in person at the conference in Orlando.

Her TED-Style talk is called: “Building and Reaching a Community”

REGISTER HERE: https://www.aasconference.org/registration

Overview
Jasper’s Game Day

While many non-gamers might have only heard of some of the potential negative consequences of excessive (mostly video-based) gaming (e.g., desensitization, sleep deprivation, and neglect of other life priorities like academics, work and exercise), those inside the gaming community (especially board and role play-based games) have come to realize there are many well-being benefits:

Often radical acceptance and unconditional regard

A virtual community that is highly accessible and inclusive

A reprieve from the toxicity of bullying, harassment and discrimination

Opportunities to learn and excel in problem-solving and communication

A chance to envision and experiment with ideal versions of themselves

In this episode, I speak with the amazing Fenway Jones, a high school student who is changing the world. We talk about the psychological benefits of being a part of a positive gaming community. We also discuss how she has made meaning after losing two friends by engaging the gaming community in suicide prevention.

About Fenway Jones
Fenway Jones is a high school senior. At 11 she started her gaming career with Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons. At 14 she lost two friends to suicide and decided to use the grief and pain she was feeling to take actionable steps to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. She started the 501c3 non-profit Jasper’s Game Day to use her hobby, gaming, to raise money for suicide prevention and awareness. She wants to bring the gaming community together and show everyone they are not alone. Since starting JGD just under $200k for crisis hotlines and centers has been raised.

Fenway’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/FenwayTeenDM

For more information on this episode go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/86

Suicide Research to Practice — Closing the Gap: Interview with Prof. Nav Kapur | Episode 85

When it comes to the field of Suicidology, we often work in silos. The researchers, clinicians, public health practitioners, advocates, and crisis service stakeholders often focus primarily in their own communities, finding comfort and validation in joining with others who share similar culture, values and priorities. When it comes to groups implementing best practices, collaboration with researchers is essential. In this interview I speak with internationally renowned expert on suicide and self-harm, Prof. Nav Kapur from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. We discuss some of the tensions and opportunities that we face as we bridge research to practice.

About Prof. Nav Kapur
Nav is Professor of Psychiatry and Population Health at the University of Manchester, UK and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. He has spent the last 25 years researching suicidal behaviour, particularly its causes, treatment and prevention. He has led committees for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK including those developing guidelines for how all clinical staff should treat people with self-harm. He sits on the main advisory group on suicide for the Department of Health in England and is currently helping to lead a national quality improvement project to prevent suicide. He is the lead author of Suicide Prevention (3rd Edition, Oxford University Press) and has published over 300 academic papers. He is the 2021 recipient of the American Association of Suicidology’s Louis I. Dublin Award for lifetime achievement in suicide prevention. For more information on this episode go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/85

Transformational Leadership in Suicide Prevention — Lessons Learned from the Construction Industry: Interview with Jerry Shupe | Episode 84

What is transformational leadership?
Transformational leadership happens when people come together to rise for a daunting challenge to benefit the common good. Transformation leaders focus on impact and empower others to reach for higher and higher levels of motivation and morality. Transformational leaders are:

Bold

Idealized influencers

Creativity encouragers

Role models for a compelling vision

Process challengers

Purpose AND people driven

Today’s podcast is about transformational leadership in the area of construction suicide prevention. I interview Jerry Shupe, the Corporate Director of Safety and Health for Hensel Phelps, one of the nation’s largest construction contractors.

About Jerry Shupe
Jerry Shupe
Jerry Shupe, CSP is the Corporate Director of Safety and Health for Hensel Phelps which specializes in building development, construction, and facility services. He graduated from Montana Tech with a degree in Occupational Safety and Health and has more than nineteen years’ experience in the industry. Jerry serves on the Industry Advisory Board for Montana Tech’s Safety and Health Program and is involved in a variety of industry groups including the American Society of Safety Professionals and the National Construction Safety Executives. He was recognized as the Safety Professional of the Year by AGC of California and received the Award of Excellence from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. For more information on this episode go to https://www.sallyspencerthomas.com/hope-illuminated-podcast/84

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