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When Therapists Have Lived through Suicide Intensity — Deep Insights on Helping the Suicidal Person: Interview with Dr. Stacey Freedenthal

Do mental health providers’ own personal histories with suicide impact their interactions with and attitudes towards people experiencing suicide intensity? What happens when clinicians disclose their own suicide attempts to the public or to their clients? Does an “insider’s view” help a therapist to be more of an ally than an adversary? In this interview Dr. Stacey Freedenthal and I explore these questions as we have an in-depth conversation about her deep insights in helping the suicide person.

About Dr. Stacey Freedenthal
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Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, is a tenured faculty member at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work where she teaches Suicide Assessment and Interventions, Assessment of Mental Health in Adults, Clinical Social Work Theory and Practice, and Social Justice Challenges in Mental Health Practice. She writes poignantly and powerfully about suicide. Her book, Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals, contains evidence-based instructions and advice for assessing risk, planning for safety and helping the suicidal person to build hope, coping skills and reasons for living. She has written more than 70 articles for her website, a blog that has received over five million visitors since 2013.

Freedenthal started her journey working in the field of suicide prevention in 1994, when she volunteered at a suicide hotline. Subsequently, she earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at Austin. She held clinical positions in psychiatric emergency settings before returning to school to earn a PhD in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. Before Freedenthal became a social worker, she worked as a journalist for The Dallas Morning News. for more information go to

Suicide and Culture — Arts, Religion and Social Justice: Interview with Dr. Erminia Colucci | Episode 44

In the United States our suicide rates are going up, but in much of the world, the suicide rates are going down. In this interview I speak with the world renowned Erminia Colucci to discuss the Anglo perspective of a highly medicalized perspective of suicide and contrast that with an understanding of suicide in a larger context. In her view, we must situate suicide prevention within a social, cultural and political context to be effective. She is part of a group of “Critical Suicidologists” who are challenging some of the “truths” we have accepted within the suicide prevention field. As an activist researcher she wants to engage with the community and helps us better to understand the root causes of inequality, oppression, violence and related conditions of human suffering.

Erminia and I have this conversation at the World Congress for Suicide Prevention in Derry, Ireland. We are sitting in an art studio in the Playhouse for this conversation, and explore a ‘different way’ to help people on their darkest day.

Take aways:
Suicide needs to be seen in a larger context within the cultures people belong to

We need to break the silence in some areas of understanding suicide like social justice

By exploring alternative methods that work for people, like the arts, faith, and others, we can make a difference to alleviate suffering and prevent suicide.

About Dr. Erminia Colucci
Erminia Colucci
Erminia Colucci is currently a senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Middlesex University London (UK), however she has lectured and conducted research all over the4 world including Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and in her home country of Italy. In 2015 she was awarded the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s award for innovative research among young researchers. The focus of her research is on on the cultural implications of suicide on mental health and suicide with a focus on low-middle income countries and immigrant and refugee populations. Her key interests are human rights and mental health, suicide and suicide prevention, domestic violence against women and children, child neglect/exploitation, spirituality and faith-based and spiritual/traditional healing, and first-hand stories of people with lived-experience of ‘mental illness’ and suicidal behavior. Erminia is passionate about using arts-based and visual methods, particularly photography and ethnographic film-documentary, in her research, teaching and advocacy activities. Erminia is the chair of the International Association for Suicide Prevention SIG in Culture and Suicidal Behaviour, Chair of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry SIG on Arts, Media and Mental Health and founder of Movie-ment ( and Aperture, the first Asia-Pacific ethnographic documentary festival. For more information on this episode go to

078 – Hillary McBride – Midwife of the Mind and Heart

Hillary is a therapist, researcher, speaker and writer. She loves to help people grow, heal, change, and come into more fullness in themselves and their relationships. She is passionate about the well-being of all people, and wants to make psychology and academic research accessible to a wide variety of people. She is also the host of two podcasts: Other People’s Problems and The Liturgist Podcast and the author of two books: Mothers, Daughters, & Body Image and Embodiment and Eating Disorders.

Hillary and Sarah discuss therapy, interconnectedness, and the importance of taking care of self as well as feminism and racism. Hillary asks the important question of whether or not we are an agent in our own transformation.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…








077 – What I’m Reading

Sarah runs through a long list of books that have been instrumental in her emotional and spiritual development over the past year. From anti-racism to workaholism to spirituality, there’s a little something to interest everyone.

Let’s be friends! You can find me in the following places…








How Suffering Transforms Us with Rabbi Steve Leder

Rabbi Steve Leder joins us to talk about grief, suffering, and transformation. He shares with us why he wrote the best-selling book More Beautiful than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us and shared that it included an apology for all the people he had counseled in the past. He had an awakening after a life threatening car accident that left him in chronic pain, with depression, and an Opioid addiction. Through that experience he learned that much of what he’d endeavored to help people with he didn’t truly understand. This show is a great reminder as to why our suffering is transformative and can lead to a deeper and richer life experience. We also discussed that the very act of suffering is not a call to martyr yourself. None of us actually wants to suffer. If we can avoid it we certainly work hard at trying, but leaning into it can transform your life.

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A Root Cause of False Accusations with Veronica Conway

Join Veronica Conway and Kristin Walker on what was supposed to be a show about racism and the danger of making false accusations. The pendulum swing we are all experiencing in this post #metoo movement era is at times awe inspiring. False accusations around racism, sexism: abuse of any kind don’t help the very causes we’ve all been fighting to be taken seriously.

The topic started as one specifically about what happens and how damaging it is for everyone when a false accusation is made but who largely makes them?

Our conversation moved towards the root causes of false accusations. We find the toxic underbelly of narcissistic personality disorder and delve into this in depth. We also share how vital it is for empaths to stand together against this behavior. Read into the deeper meaning and take stock of the pathology and history behind emotional predators. These predatory people cry victim better than the actual victims of their behavior and their histories of abuse with many people and organizations speak to the very nature of behavior they work hard to keep under wraps.

Veronica Conway, CPCC -Often dubbed “The Secret Weapon” by her clients, Veronica is an award winning entrepreneur and founder of three coaching companies, including the Black Professional Coaches Alliance, the world’s first coaching organization dedicated to the transformation of people of African descent. She is also the founder of the Black Mastery Word Summit, the first & largest digital gathering of Black thought leaders. Veronica works with business owners (startups or seasoned), executives, influencers, and other peak performers that want to transform mental internal barriers that prevent them from realizing their greatest financial and personal potential. Veronica is the only expert offering YOU: Unleashed!, a step by step coaching program that facilitates participants in creating a massive leveraged outcome in 90 days. She has coached everyone from truck drivers to CEO’s, athletes, artists and celebrities. Veronica has more than 7000 hours of personal, business and financial coaching experience. She specializes in proven technologies that create accelerated performance and an unprecedented competitive advantage.
A dynamic and provocative keynote speaker, trainer and facilitator, she has consistently impacted national audiences with her playful, edgy and transformative presentation style. She has spoken to groups such as Chevron Texaco, the NBA, FraserNet, the National Black MBA’s, The National Urban League, and many others. She has served as the Official Conference Coach at numerous national conferences.
Veronica’s client roster includes Dell, Nike, the NBA, the Kellogg Foundation, the City of Oakland, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The United Way, Triumph Technologies, The Maya Angelou Charter School, and many others. She has created revolutionary programs that have transformed the finances of low income, inner city clients, as well as the bottom lines of multimillion-dollar companies.

Veronica is the creator of the ground breaking program The Black Mastery Success Program, the first audio program designed to reprogram negative cultural conditioning in Black people. She is the co-creator and co-author of The African American Guide to Business and Personal Success, as well as the author of the cutting edge manifesto “The Black Paper.” She has blogged for The Huffington Post. She has been a regular commentator on The Zo What Morning Show and the Voice of Reason radio show.

Veronica is a certified coach, as well as a certified hypno-therapist and master certified NLP practitioner. She is a Master Business and Financial coach, a seasoned facilitator and a certified mediator. She is a founding member of the International Association of Financial Sports and Celebrity Advisors. She has served on the national steering committee of the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which was founded by Susan Taylor, Chairman Emeritus, Essence Magazine. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.

She enjoys her sane and thoughtful adult children, Jordan and Jake.

Suicide & The Workplace : Interview with Dr. Allison Milner | Episode 30

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Suicide & The Workplace — Globalization, Job Strain, and the Dark Side of the New Economy: Interview with Dr. Allison Milner | Episode 30
NOTE: This podcast will air on 2/26/19 at 10:00AM ET
Too often when we talk about mental health promotion and suicide prevention in the workplace, the main message is about how to get workers who are suffering to counselors. Not enough attention is paid to the environmental aspects of the workplace that may be contributing to despair and what peers, managers and leadership can do to solve these problems. The research is clear — job strain is connected to suicide risk (Milner, et al, 2017). In particular certain types of job strain are related to suicide attempts and death:

Low control (limited decision-making)

High demand (pressure, workload)

Effort-reward imbalance (e.g., high pressure/expectations with little reward — income, respect or security)

Job insecurity

Bullying/harassment (Leach et al)

On this podcast I interview an international authority on workplace suicide and mental health research, Dr. Allison Milner. Join us as we explore some of the social determinants of suicide through a social justice lens in the world of work.

“Suicide prevention doesn’t just magically happen on the psychiatrist’s couch…It happens peer-to-peer. We need the day-to-day interactions to support mental health services and help resolve issues when they are smaller.”

About Dr. Allison Milner
Allison Milner
Dr. Allison Milner is a Deputy Director of the Disability and Health Unit, Melbourne School Population and Global Health, the University of Melbourne. Her current areas of research interests include the influence of gender, employment characteristics, quality of work, and occupation as determinants of mental health and suicide. Allison also focuses on specific employed groups that may be particularly likely to face disadvantage, such as blue-collar workers in the manufacturing and construction industry. Allison’s work ranges across a number of externally-funded etiologic and intervention projects. She works with key policy stakeholders to promote research on the link between work and mental health, and is the co-chair for an international panel of researchers aiming to promote workplace suicide prevention. She has been awarded the Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowship for her work on gender, employment and mental health. In this work, she is progressing the concept of “gendered working environments” as a cause of health inequalities. For more information on this and every episode go to

EP 251 The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy

 Conspiracy theories are as old as politics.  But, according to Russell Muirhead, the Robert Clements Professor of Democracy and Politics at Dartmouth College and Nancy Rosenblum, the Senator Joseph Clark Research Professor of Ethics is Politics and Government at Harvard University, in their new book, ‘A Lot of People Are Saying’, there is a new twist–conspiracies today have introduced these shadowy tales with no theories attached to them at all.  The intention is not to explain events, but to engage in a political take down. Classic conspiracy theory insist that things are not what they seem and gathers evidence–especially facts ominously withheld by official sources–to tease out secret machinations. The new conspiracism is different. It demands no evidence, doesn’t connect dots and doesn’t examine shadowy plotters. Through repetition(like the President’s penchant for the phrase that constitutes the title of the book)and bold one word assertions(‘rigged’, ‘fake’, ‘witch hunt’)they target the foundations of the democracy to de-stabilize our politics for their advantage.  It is a political trend that we have caught up with and lay bare in this episode.

Resilience and the Transgender Community Living Out Loud: Interview with Iden Campbell | Episode 13

41% of adults who identify as transgender have attempted suicide (versus 4.6% of U.S. general population and 10-20% of LGB adults). The issues driving this despair are usually best understood through a lens of social justice.

Discrimination, trauma and the consequences of minority stress are often at the root of suicidal despair within the trans community (AFSP). Rejection by friends and family is common among people who identify as transgender, and conversely when trans people have strong support they are significantly less likely to die by suicide. Harassment and assaults are common for trans people at work and at school and can even lead to internalized transphobia. All too often, people trying to “help” others who identify as trans force reparative or conversion “therapy” upon them, which is experienced as traumatic and is considered unethical. Thus, in order to “fix” the suicide issue among transgender people, we need to look beyond the individual and shift culture. We must fight injustice and advocate for safety.

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Iden and I have become friends through our service together on the Consumer/Survivor Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In this podcast, Iden and I talk about his incredibly inspiring journey into activism and some take-away messages about building resilience.

About Iden Campbell
Iden Campbell was born biologically a female, raised as a female, and later in life transitioned to living as a male. He was first diagnosed with depression in the third grade and has lived with depression and suicidal thoughts for much of his life.

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Iden spent most of his adulthood living androgynous, as neither male or female, dressing and behaving as genderless as possible in order to — in his words “hide and survive.” Iden has lived through his own suicide attempt and also survived the loss of his partner to suicide.

Then in 2007 he read the 2007 Newsweek article entitled; “The Mystery of Gender” , and the article gave him a new outlook on living. Now he finally feels hope that his life could now be less painful, living as the gender has always felt inside.

“The transgender community is extremely resilient,” said Campbell in an Op Ed piece for the New York Times. “We have lived through some horrific shared experiences. I’m thankful to all who came before me, those who made it possible for me to now live out loud in my skin. I’m grateful to be here at this amazing turning point in the history of the trans community.”

Today, Iden is a nationally known activist in the transgender community, speaking on suicide prevention, transgender health and wellness. He is the Founder and Executive Director of The Campbell Center, a peer-run agency in Washington, D.C. for individuals living with mental health and addictions challenges.

Among many other acknowledgements of his leadership Iden also won the 2013 National LGBT Leadership Award at the Alternatives Conference in Austin, TX.

You can connect with Iden on Twitter and Instagram @IdenCampbell and on Facebook @TheCampbellCenter. For more information on this and every episode go to

The Role of Arts in Healing A Conversation with an Indigenous Trauma Survivor; Swil Kanim Episode 36

5 Ways the Arts Can Play a Role in Healing
While you may know me as a psychologist, what you may not know is that I was also a Studio Art major in College, and the arts have always played a big role in my life. Over my career, I have continually tried to connect the dots between emotional recovery and the power of the arts, sometimes downplayed by researchers who claim there is a lack of evidence to show a connection. The American Journal of Public Health, however, published a meta review of the literature looking at the connection between healing and music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression and expressive writing and concluded that there are “clear indications that artistic engagement has significantly positive effects on health.” (p. 261)

The arts come in many forms — painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, music, dance, theater, poetry, creative writing and so much more — and throughout the ages, art has played a unique role in individual and community healing from trauma and suffering. Here are five ways art helps us transform our wounds into sources of power:

Connection — art brings people together and builds community and the connection we feel through our shared experience of the art helps us feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves.

Indirect communication — if I am suffering, but I cannot share with you directly what I am going through, I can talk about a piece of art I admire related to my suffering, and we can have a conversation about my experiences as a first step in expressing vulnerability.

Positive attraction — for most people the arts are compelling and intriguing, we lean in to experiencing them, even when (especially when?) the focus of the art is dark or taboo. We open a door and draw people in to explore the unspeakable through the language of the arts when otherwise they would run away.

Brain stimulation — when we communicate theory or statistics through our words, only a small part of our brain lights up. When we stimulate the brain through music and stories and poetry, we engage more areas of the brain and have a much richer experience, one that is more likely to be remembered later.

Transcending and transforming — there are some experiences that cannot be captured by words and the arts give us the tools to expand our ability to communicate to a more fuller picture and be changed by the experience of that expression in ways regular talk therapy can fall short.

In this interview, I speak with Swil Kanim — my “new friend in the canoe,” as he likes to say. I met Swil at the Four Directions Problem Gambling and Health Awareness Conference put on by the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling in Washington State, and as I sat in the front row experiencing Swil’s gift of storytelling and musical performance, I was transfixed. You will be too. Swil is an indigenous man and a trauma survivor who credits his ability to overcome racism and suffering and become a student of honor to his discovery of the violin in the 4th grade. Join us as he shares his path of finding that healing was his responsibility and the way he would be true to his journey was through expressing himself musically.

About Swil Kanim (from
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Swil Kanim, US Army Veteran, classically trained violinist, native storyteller and actor, is a member of the Lummi Nation.

Because of his unique ability to inspire audiences to express themselves honorably, Swil Kanim is a sought-after keynote speaker for conferences, workshops, school assemblies, and rehabilitation centers.

He travels extensively throughout the United States, enchanting audiences with his original composition music and native storytelling. His workshops, The Elements of Honor, are attended by people from all walks of life.

Swil Kanim considers himself and his music to be the product of a well supported public school music program. Music and the performance of music helped him to process the traumas associated with his early placement into the foster care system.

Swil Kanim’s compositions incorporate classical influences as well as musical interpretations of his journey from depression and despair to spiritual and emotional freedom. The music and stories that emerge from his experiences have been transforming people’s lives for decades. For more information on this and every episode go to


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