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The Mighty Podcast: It's Time We Talk About Suicidal Ideation

Listen to The Mighty Podcast episode, “It’s Time We Talk About Suicidal Ideation” We’ve also provided a transcript below. To talk about the episode or share topic ideas, join the Podcast Peeps community on The Mighty.

In this episode Mighty host Ashley Kristoff is joined by Imadé Nibokun, a writer and mental health advocate who founded Depressed While Black, Marie Shanley of Mxiety, a Twitch streamer, and mental health advocate and Matt Rivera, an actor, mental health advocate, and owner of Neto Keto Foods.

They discuss the topic of suicidal ideation, their lived experiences along with the misconceptions around it. They provide ideas on how to support loved ones experiencing suicidal ideation as well as noting actionable ways to improve the way mental health and suicide are thought and talked about.

If you’d prefer to listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, you can do so here.

 

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Transcription:

Ashley Kristoff
Welcome to The Mighty Podcast where we infuse the health space with positivity, humor, and vulnerability. The Mighty is a safe and supportive community here to help you find the people and information you need to navigate your health journey. We’re so excited to spend some time together today. Now let’s get into what the health we are talking about.

On today’s episode, we are going to be talking about suicide and suicidal ideation. So if this topic is difficult or triggering for you, please feel free to skip this episode and check out a different one as your mental health is more important. If you or a loved one needs support right now, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741. These resources and additional international resources can also be found in the episodes description. Now let’s get into it fully.

My name is Ashley Kristoff, I am your Mighty host, and today we’re going to be talking about the topic and experiences of living with suicidal ideation. We’re going to share a little bit about what it is some common misconceptions and some ideas on how you can support yourself or the people in your life who experience this. So to do that, I have three incredible guests here today to help dive into this topic a bit more. So I’m going to give a brief intro to all of them and then they are welcome to share anything else that I missed. So first we have Imadé Nibokun who is a writer and mental health advocate who founded Depressed While Black, a nonprofit that donates black-affirming personal care items to psychiatric patients and connects people to black therapists. We are also joined by Marie Shanley of Mxiety. She is a writer, mental health advocate, and variety talk show host on Twitch, and rounding out our group is Matt Rivera. Matts an actor, mental health advocate, and owner of keto food brand Neato Keto Food. Welcome, everyone. Thank you all for being here. I’m very excited to talk about this very fun and light topic that we all–

Marie Shanley
Super!

Ashley Kristoff
I do want to just start things off a little bit lighter so we can kind of just ease into things a little bit since we know this is going to be a little bit of a heavier topic. So to start things off for our icebreaker my question to you is, ‘what would be the first song that you would play for an alien visiting earth for the first time?’ and while you think about it, just think about, what, what is your tactic? Do you want them to stay? Do you want them to leave? What are you thinking?

Marie Shanley
I feel like I have one for all of those like I would play this if I want them to go away. Depending on you know are they coming in? Are they nice? Like do I want to hang around them? Because then I’ll probably like, I probably give them some Jack Johnson to be like this is, this is the best, the kindest, the brightest, like just mellow out and enjoy hanging out with me, you know? Whereas if I, if I didn’t like them, man I like don’t want to be mean to any bands.

Matt Rivera
If I wanted them to leave, I would play any song that any influencer has attempted to create and popularize.

Marie Shanley
Wait, Nickelback, right?

Matt Rivera
Oh, sure. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Marie Shanley
Yeah, everybody hates Nickelback. Okay, I can say that!

Matt Rivera
I feel like I would show them some K-pop just to confuse them. It’d be like, OK, interesting.

Ashley Kristoff
I like the idea that this is a round-robin now and like they get one from each of us and they’re like, “I don’t know what to make of this planet, this is very confusing.”

Imadé Nibokun
Yeah, I think I would probably play Beyonce to just kind of let them know what it is like Beyonce runs, plan it, like you just gonna have to adjust. If you don’t like it, you gonna have to deal with it.

Ashley Kristoff
I love the idea of like, we got Queen B, she’s actually our ruler. It’s kind of unofficial but it’s official at the same time.

Matt Rivera
I’ll be like, “Take me to your leader.” And you’ll be like, “Oh, she lives somewhere in Calabasas, maybe?”

Ashley Kristoff
Alright, I was trying to think, I was laughing earlier because I was thinking about like, I couldn’t think of a specific song. But I’m like, depending on the aliens, I might want them to like not want to, not want to bother with us. And so I might try to play something that’s like a nursery rhyme or like a little kid thing to go like this is as advanced as we got. Sorry. Like, you probably, probably might want to go.

Matt Rivera
Sorry to disappoint.

Ashley Kristoff
Whoops. Cool. Alright. Well, thank you for sharing your songs. I’m like, I want to put this as a playlist now because I want to see if people can guess the origination of this playlist, like the question. Let’s get into our topic now. So we’re going to be talking about suicidal ideation and for people in our audience who don’t quite know what that terminology means I just want to give a brief definition. So suicidal ideation is really just the act of thinking about suicide. There’s kind of two sides of this, there’s the passive suicidal ideation where you are just really thinking about it, as well as active suicidal ideation, which includes that as well as having a plan to act on that as well. So first question I have for all of you is, you know, how does this show up for you? How does this, you know how did this come about in your life or when did you notice it?

Matt Rivera
For me, I would say, I guess I started to really experience or had a concept of my own mortality when my dad passed away when I was about 19 years old. And before that, I was just kind of, you know, a teenager that was living my life, you know, with my friends and all that. And I wasn’t really you know, actively thinking about my life or my death or anything like that. So after that happened, I feel like it really set me on a path where like, you know, I would often contemplate my life or my place in the world and I think it is also the moment when, you know, anxiety was first created within me and I would always have these very existential thoughts of like, what is my purpose? What does anything mean? What is anything for? And I would say that’s kind of the first time that I started to really question things and start to like, you know, have some deeper thoughts and especially if I were, you know, going through a dark moment or anything like that.

Ashley Kristoff
For sure, thank you for sharing.

Marie Shanley
I’ll go ahead. So I started having suicidal ideation a little bit later in my life where like, I remember it was a passing idea as a kid and then I remember being a little bit older and being so overwhelmed with what was going on at home. Being frustrated with constantly being told I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t doing enough, I was lazy, I was useless, I was overdramatic, I was too sensitive. That I was a burden. That I took up too much time. And so it just seemed like the natural thing, it almost was like a comforting thought. Feels like the solution because all you know is this awful home you live in and I didn’t want to be there anymore. And I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Since having talked to my therapist I, like I’ve learned, I mean a lot of things but I’ve learned that suicidal ideation is also your my brain was also my brain’s way of kind of trying to gain control back in a situation where I felt completely out of control. Like you know, if somebody in my family said, “Well you’re a burden and I don’t want you here,” a really easy thing for me felt like, ‘well I can fix that I can fix that for you I can remove myself and then you won’t have to bother with me and you’ll never see me’ and then that started being almost a comforting thought when any conflict arose. Later on in my 20s when I got really, really overwhelmed with work and I was going through a complete breakdown. It was not just an option for me, it was a real possibility. It was like OK, well I think I’m checking out. The next time that that kind of thought came around is where I had the idea for my talk show because I was like, ‘hey all I want is nothing else anymore like I want these thoughts to go away. I don’t want to think about this,’ and I remember always being scared and calling my therapist and saying like I have these thoughts and I don’t want to have them I don’t want to think that this is a solution because it shouldn’t be, right? Like I’m talking to you I’m taking medication, like why does this feel like the only way out?

And then eventually, again like my talk show came, came to me because I was like, well if I have nothing else to lose, if I’m just checking out anyway, why don’t I try to do something good before I go? That ended up being the little thing that I needed to stay and I can say that with all honesty I probably haven’t experienced suicidal ideation repeatedly like the way I used to in like probably like three years. I mean it’s, it still can come like it’s not a thing that doesn’t cross my mind ever but definitely not at the rate that they used to.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I think you’ve brought up a handful of things there that I think are really important, one of them being like your relationship with these thoughts can change over time and they can be from kind of different causes and different situations and circumstances in your life. And then the other thing that I really resonated with, this is something that I’ve been talking about recently is that that thought becomes a habit and habits are comforting. That’s the reason we stay with them most of the time. And so right now like that’s, that’s even a conversation I’m having is how do I create a habit that’s a little bit healthier for me, right? That works a little better for me than this one.

Marie Shanley
Right, how do I make it, how do I create a habit so that my mind doesn’t jump to this ultimate conclusion immediately when things are bad, but comes a little bit less extreme a little more like, oh, things are really bad right now? I can think about how it’s going to get better. I can think about the solutions. I can, I can think about all these things and my mind doesn’t have to immediately go to ‘I guess I’ll go away then’ that’s years and years of training and therapy.

Imadé Nibokun
Yeah, I think my experience is similar and also a little bit different, I live with borderline personality disorder that can trigger daily chronic suicidal ideation. So basically every day, there’s a thought about killing myself. Unfortunately, I don’t match the narrative that a lot of people in Suicide Prevention Month want to promote. The narrative that, you know, I was suicidal for two days, and I’m fine and this could happen to you, too. You know, anything can trigger me, I joke that, you know, I can like, stub my toe and get suicidal, you know, say like, that’s just, unfortunately, how my brain works. And you know, I’m chuckling a little bit about it, because you kind of do have to have humor in order to kind of live with this and manage it. I had a therapist in the past who told me that suicidal thoughts can’t kill you. It may sound insensitive on the surface but for me, it was empowering. That therapist helped me understand that being suicidal isn’t something that I need to rearrange my whole life to try to fix because I can actually cause more damage to freak out every time I have a suicidal thought. It’s just, it’s unsustainable, and it’s exhausting.

And I think that we do have to kind of understand the difference between passive and active suicidal ideation. And the interventions that you would use for passive, you won’t use for active. And the interventions that you use for active, you don’t do for passive. So I think it’s important that we really do educate folks about the difference, about the difference between having an urge and having a plan is very important. You know, for my therapists, and for other people to say, hey, like, I am going to listen to you, I’m going to help you get the care that you want, not the care that will make me less afraid, because that’s the situation that we deal with, with people who are chronically suicidal. People give us help that makes them less afraid, but not help that we actually need. And, you know, my whole experience, navigating the mental health system as a chronically suicidal person is basically dodging incarceration, and being very fearful that I’m going to get forcibly hospitalized. Because of how I feel. It can force you to have an uncomfortable conversation with people you don’t want to share your business with and it can be really difficult. I think the underlining, like affirmation and kind of belief that I have is that I’m worthy of care. And yeah, it takes a hell of a lot to keep me alive, a lot more than I would like. But I think that it’s important for folks who are chronically suicidal to realize that we’re worthy of care. And we’re worthy of that support, even when you know, our brains are telling us is this is not true.

Ashley Kristoff
For sure, and I just want to go off the point you had said just that difference between the active and passive suicidal and this is going to come out during National Suicide Prevention Month and I think what you’re saying is like we are really missing that nuance in the conversation, which is why we need to have these uncomfortable conversations too. I’m sure there’s many other ways that the four of us would probably rather spend our time than just chatting about suicidal ideation but we recognize that part of this is just understanding it a little bit better and people are a little too scared of the topic still to just talk about it, kind of I don’t want to say in an emotionless way, but kind of a little bit removed from the fact of the matter. And just being realistic to how this is presenting because I agree, I’m sure that we don’t want people to feel suicidal anymore. And that is a wonderful, wonderful dream to have. But it’s also not necessarily realistic for everyone to be there. So we need to meet people or ever they are in their journey, regardless of if they’re suicidal one time in their life or every single day of their life.

Matt Rivera
And I feel like it also is an intergenerational thing, especially growing up in an Asian family you know, I haven’t grown up expressing my feelings or having open conversations. And it wasn’t until even the past few years that I really started to open up to friends and even one of my close friends, we went to dinner and I started to for the first time express you know that I had these suicidal thoughts and feelings. And it was such a difficult thing to do because I do have that thought of you know, death every single day just like you Imadé and yeah, and it’s weird because like I still have struggles with you know, seeking help and you know, asking for help and even vocalizing it out loud because as we all know, it’s such a sensitive topic and people just don’t want to hear about, let alone you know like someone else’s mortality because then it makes them question their own. And maybe they haven’t even thought of killing themselves before and now all of a sudden it’s like up in their face and it’s making them feel so uncomfortable and so afraid to like even approach the topic in any way. It is a daily battle and a journey all the time

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah and also what you need every day can be so different right because you can be kind of closer to crisis mode some days and then other days it’s just like, this, this again? Like whatever, move on with my life and you don’t always know how that’s gonna be when you wake up that day. You know, you just you have to kind of take it one day at a time and go like alright these are kind of my plans of how I deal with this like this is you know the level I feel like I’m at. But sometimes like, the way I put it, I always tried to discuss plans when I’m not in a bad headspace because I realized when I get there I, like the main thing that happens to me it’s like my brain kind of melts, is the best way I put it. I just can’t think clearly anymore and I know I’m not going to be making logical choices. I know if someone asks me like, “Do you need this?” I can’t say yes or no, I don’t know i am just so overwhelmed by the amount of emotion that’s like coursing through that just like being awake is as much energy as I can muster so like it really comes in handy to like try to figure out things when you are in a good headspace or when you have a clear head so that when those situations do arise you know without having to like spell it out because having to spell it out for everyone too in those moments can just like, make it worse and it can expound the feeling sometimes.

Marie Shanley
Yeah having to take care of other people when you’re the one who desperately needs a reason to continue living is like, it’s almost worse. It feels it’s like darker and it darkens and deepens the emotion of like I’m not needed and I’m not wanted because I have this need right now. And the only reaction that people can have to it just feels pity or I absolutely love how Imadé said that people will do what makes them feel less fearful. That struck me so strongly because that’s it. When I am healthy I can almost like sympathize with people who don’t get it because why would, why would you do that? It’s such a dissonance when you feel OK, even like how casually like you said, Ashley, how casually we will talk about like, Oh yeah, here’s my plan. If I come to you, and I tell you I want to kill myself up please, you know, do this and this and this is what I need do not call the police like that is to be able to so rationally come up to something that is so about facing your own mortality, when you’re OK, is so disconnecting from the experience of when you are suicidal. And you just need to for somebody to enact a plan or you just need to not feel that way anymore. whatever is going on emotionally, it’s almost like your two separate people. Like the person who is suicidal, who has suicidal ideation, and the person who’s totally OK. And I think it hurts even more when you are feeling OK to think about like, I just I like, personally in my like, I just don’t want that person to come back and then she does. And then I’m back at square one and I’m mad at just all these emotions and it’s, I’m sorry, I’ve when I think went on four tangents, but yeah, y’all just made some really amazing points. Thank you.

Imadé Nibokun
I was, I think this was during the recession, I think and I was really struggling. A lot of my suicide/suicidality is related to unemployment and career struggles. I had a friend who was, you know, burst out in tears in front of me, and meanwhile, I’m having serious suicide ideation and it was just such a weird out of body experience, where it’s just like, I don’t feel like I’m fully here in this moment, because I’m super suicidal. But I also don’t have the energy to perform suicidality. And that’s what I think I struggle with sometimes as well. It takes energy to do a whole bunch of suicidal stuff. Like, it takes a lot. It is really exhausting. And sometimes I feel like, in relationships, it feels like if we don’t perform it, if we don’t perform suicidality, we’re not seen. That, yeah, that definitely has been a challenge for me.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I think it can be very difficult for I mean, one, I think we know this, whenever we talk about mental health, if someone isn’t experiencing those types of like, urges and feelings at any point, it’s really, really hard to quantify that in a way that they are going to understand. And you know, when you’re OK, that’s what they want to see. They want to see that you’re OK. They don’t want to see you and like no one wants to see you in crisis, including yourself. You don’t want to see yourself in crisis either. But it’s easier to not talk about it in those moments because they do think talking about it could make it come back or could make it worse or it’s uncomfortable or it’s all of these things when you know, in reality, just being open and honest and vulnerable, as best as you can be is actually really helpful for you know, dealing with those moments.

All right, so something I do want us to chat about. It’s just we talked to, you talked a little bit Imadé about this, some common misconceptions about suicidal ideation. So I think we’ve already started talking a little bit about the active versus passive a little bit, is there any other misconceptions or does anyone want to expand on that one a bit more?

Matt Rivera
I feel like honestly yes I’ve dealt with this like for a long time now. I feel like there are so many unresolved things that even I like with my own internal or ingrained stigmas it has forced me to you know, like not even sometimes really dive deep into my mind about it because sometimes I have those stigmas. I’m like well if I’m thinking about the time then maybe it’s gonna make me want to do it more. So I do sometimes tend to bury some of those thoughts or like I’ll try to pivot my brain to be like, oh don’t think about that right now. Like, go watch something completely mindless so that you can just have that distraction. Yeah, there needs to be a lot more discussion as to how we can break these ideas because if you can’t really you know confront a lot of these misconceptions in yourself, then how can you fully heal? Or maybe even try to offer support to other people so yeah, I would say that there is so much that needs to be done as far as you know, normalizing this type of discussion and allowing individuals like myself to still you know, understand, and find some peace within the chaos of my mind.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I think that’s such a good point too, because it like I said, it’s so overwhelming in those moments that like you can’t think clearly first of all, but like, since there isn’t a lot of nuanced conversation about it, it can be very hard to know what we’re going through: is this OK? Is this normal? Am I like super broken? Like, am I you know, am I a terrible person for having all these thoughts? Because we don’t talk about what happens when these things do come up. The fact that these thoughts are honestly pretty normal. Most people do have these thoughts at some point in their lives. It’s just you know, what we’re talking about today is a little bit more of the more common that we have these thoughts, but people have these thoughts all the time. It’s completely normal. It’s a matter of, like I said, meeting where we are and what those actual needs are because someone like me, for example, I didn’t share but I’ve always been passively suicidal my entire life, and I’ve never been actively suicidal. And treating me in being actively suicidal is going to be a huge overreaction to my situation. And so we need to meet me down at a different level of going, OOK, let’s just de-escalate the emotions, let’s de-escalate these feelings you’re getting. That is what’s more important than trying to stop you from doing a thing that you weren’t actually planning to do anyway.

Marie Shanley
Yeah, again, I feel like a few people have also touched upon the fact that suicidality, suicidal ideation can be a symptom. It is not the whole problem of itself. It is a symptom. And I think in that I wish more people saw it that way, because then they could understand. People learn how to live with constant debilitating panic attacks, people learn how to live with when they’re overstimulated and they’re neurodiverse. Like, people learn how to live with these differences of how our brains work, it’s a matter of figuring out what it is. This isn’t going to go away, this is going to keep coming around so it’s a matter of me knowing what to do, having the plans in place, telling other people, having all those uncomfortable conversations so that they’re like, like, again, was said, I need to be thinking about it, and does that suck, because like somebody without can just live without having to do that? Absolutely. But it is still a symptom. It is not the whole problem itself. You can continue living with it, you can figure out where it fits in your life. And what I want to see is more people who don’t have an understanding of this seeking out a way to understand it. I’m not saying nobody does, but I wish more people did and whether that’s like teaching about it in health class, like, hey, there’s all kinds of things that happen to your body, some people think about suicide. I know that that’s happening in some schools, people should just be aware of this. This shouldn’t be a thing you seek out when you’re like, oh my god, I was suicidal for a week. I can’t believe I actually survived that. Do other people experience this? Let me go and look for podcasts and writing and all of that related to it. Like I want people to know that this is an active thing and that would just make it less scary.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, it’s it’s almost like we’re talking about stigma a little bit. I know that stigma has gotten a lot better in recent years, but it is really heavily still impacting these conversations about, again, nuanced conversations about suicide, not just talking about it, but really having these deeper conversations on what it truly means. What it, you know, like you said, it’s like a symptom of something else most of the time. So you know, are there other ways in which stigma has kind of showed up in the way you’ve talked about it or like the way when you were kind of coming to terms with this? Did it prevent you from getting help at all? I’m just I’m curious about your experience with stigma.

Matt Rivera
I think what has happened yeah, like I definitely internalize a lot of it, and never vocalized much of it. I still am on a therapeutic journey, even sometimes in therapy like, I feel like it was almost even too much to reveal. What if they report me and what if, you know, I am placed in the system, I know that Imadé touched on that as well. So I think it’s a stigma of like, it’s a great discussion within, you know, like society and acceptability of this topic, I also think you have to destigmatize a lot in your own mind as well to be able to really address it and focus on it. There’s still so much work to be done because I feel like even now, as we’re openly talking about this, there’s still some even for me, like some reservation and like going into the ins and outs of like, how I truly feel about you know, my suicidality and how I’ve dealt with it, and how I’ve experienced it. It’s just all about, you know, like, these discussions like this are just so important, because, you know speaking with you guys as well, like, I’d have zero friends that I’ve talked about, you know, with this that have shared, you know, ideation or you know, active or passive, you know, suicidal thoughts. So this is like, even just an eye-opening experience for me, like, I’m experiencing this in a completely brand new way. And it’s really, I’m really appreciative as well I feel like I’m also going to be learning a lot through this, this discussion.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah. And I just want to thank you all for being here. Not only just to talk about this, but you know, being suicidal sucks and it’s hard to get through. So thank you all for being here in that way, as well. Yeah, I think that I think you bring up such an important point that like stigma really does start with yourself a lot of the time. And it’s it has to do with the way you’ve been talked about it in your life if you haven’t been talked about it in your life. So I think that’s such an important distinguisher, too, is like that sure, it can make a lot of sense to like get help but like, if it’s not been destigmatized you doesn’t, either, that that thought doesn’t come to you, or you just think doing something wrong. So yeah, Imadé were you about to say something?

Imadé Nibokun
Yeah, I’m just going to talk about, just I grew up in a very religious environment. The expectation is that once someone lays hands on you, you’re automatically cured. Or once you pray, you’re automatically cured. The conversation around suicide in my community was basically, you’re going to hell. You know, if you kill yourself, you’re going to hell. I wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music so I listened to Christian hip hop. And there was a rapper who died by suicide and a lot of the comments were like, well, he’s going to hell, Well, too bad. Sorry, that sucks, you know. And that’s the culture that some of us have been brought up in. And so it makes perfect sense that we’re afraid to enter that society into that world to talk about our suicidal ideation. And that’s kind of what I dealt with, in some ways when I started talking about suicide.

But I do want to say that personally, for my experience, structural racism and ableism has harmed me way more than stigma because once you start finding your tribe, some of that stigma kind of falls away. I talk openly about suicide online and sometimes it’s better for, I’ve experienced more benefits talking about suicide openly on Twitter than I’ve had calling a suicide prevention hotline. Like I’ve had experiences openly talking about suicide, and feeling like oh my gosh, like, I cannot believe this, but I’m starting to feel better.

Once that stigma starts to drop away and at least in my life, I started to be fearful of the structural racism that happens, and how Black folks are more likely to be hospitalized and have other forms of severe interventions than White folks. When I started to ask for help, I started to realize why people don’t. And I started to see that after my first suicide attempt, I started to see why people don’t do this because there’s a structure that punishes people for being suicidal. And after my first suicide attempt, I was told to go to this hospital that they said was really great. And the social worker pulled up a blog post that I wrote about my suicidal thoughts. It was in a jokey way. It was a hilarious suicide letter and I had all these jokes about how my funeral is going to be. Just like I wanted the fried, I told them what fried chicken I wanted. And even though like I know on the surface level, you’re like, oh my gosh, this girl, like get like save her, you know? That blog post actually was super light-hearted, and I felt so much better after writing it. But that was used to keep me in a hospital where I was physically restrained. I was threatened with drug injection, and I was thrown into an isolation room, which is basically solitary confinement for psychiatric hospitals. And so as I started to, realize this, I said I would rather have someone tell me I’m going to hell than me like being threatened to go into solitary confinement into a psychiatric hospital. So I kind of do want to express that for a lot of Black folks, we’re more afraid of the police coming to kill us than somebody saying a bad word about us.

This is life or death for us when it comes to dealing with structural racism and dealing with ableism that we experienced after we say we’re suicidal. And so it can get really scary. And sometimes we don’t even get to the psychiatric hospital, we’re funneled to the police, we’re funneled to jail. You know, and that’s what that was also my experience as well when I first told my mental health counselors I’m dealing with suicidal thoughts, you know, they told me I need to get into the back of a cop car, and I need to go to the hospital and I need to quit my program, my graduate program, which would have taken away all my insurance. I don’t want to scare people because like, I have the right diagnosis. I have a great therapist. I don’t want to scare people. I use mental health services every day. But I also want to say that sometimes I feel like the conversation is so focused on stigma that we’re not actually talking about the very real structural racism and white supremacy, that Black people with suicidality experience every, you know, every day.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I think that that is such an important point to bring up because, you know, like, like we said earlier, we want a one-size-fits-all solution, but that’s not realistic, right? When you have cultural layers, I know, Matt, you were talking a little bit about, you know, growing up in an Asian family as well, and it wasn’t talked about in your family culturally as well. We add these extra barriers to getting help and getting help then, is a barrier in itself. And that is that as I agree such an important topic we need to be addressing because we can’t even we can’t have two people next to each other and assume that we’re going to be able to help and support them in the same way that’s not realistic. We each come from our own backgrounds, our own experiences, our own life and we need to, you know, be culturally competent when we are jumping into these sorts of services. And not just, you know, see people are suicidal, here’s an XYZ, right?

Matt Rivera
Yes, a similar thing happened to my older sister, she was diagnosed bipolar, schizophrenic, and she had a couple of episodes leading up to a big one where my mother, just completely did not sympathize or understand what my sister was going through. So they got into an argument, and my sister threw a rock through the window. And then my mom called the police, the police showed up, my sister grabbed a shard of glass and ran off into an alley. And so they had to chase her down, put it in the back of a cop car, and then she was 5150. And sadly, she never really truly got the help that she really needed. I know she’s struggled for a long time and still does. Yeah, even from coming from in the home from that cultural misunderstanding to the way that the police can handle these situations is just so ugly, and it’s so, how does that help a suicidal person to lock them up and make them feel crazier? It’s something that really needs to be addressed and fixed because this is happening all over the country and like people are getting shot and killed over this and you know, people of color this is happening, you know, every day, like, it’s just truly disgusting. You know, how we approach mental health and anyone who has any sort of ties to suicidality, or like anyone that has, like, you know, attempted things on their life or had or even almost attempted, so yeah.

Marie Shanley
There are lists now, there’s an amazing blog professor, she’s been compiling her studies in suicidality, and she’s been compiling a list of non-emergency services in each state. The only reason I found that is because there was a conversation about racism, and how white supremacy affects Black people who are searching for help. And she replied to the thread and that is how I now have access to this Excel spreadsheet, which I’ve been sending around everywhere. Why is that? How I have access to that, right? Like, why is that not more discussed? I see all over my town and my county, they love, I don’t know if this is happening in other counties, but in New Jersey, they love saying, blank town is stigma-free. Stigma-free in blank blank. And I’m like, what is that mean? So I went to one of these stigma-free meetings and this is not to diminish the work that these people are doing because it is like basically what we all describe that is an uphill climb. But, you know what they were talking about, there’s still so much room to go like they’re talking about, we’re gonna declare this town stigma-free and they’re just starting to work, and sorry, this was two years ago so I hope they’ve made more progress, but they were just starting to work on training police for mental health situations that was in, in 2019. And I hope we’re further now but those stupid signs were around for four years and they just started training police two years ago. I don’t know where– right? OK, we’re all laughing. OK, just so if everybody can’t see us, we’re laughing. It’s ridiculous. It is ridiculous. Like you can’t slap a sign on something and say alright, you know, we fixed racism, we fixed stigma, we fixed ableism!

Ashley Kristoff
We’ll do the work now that we put a label on the fact that we’ve fixed it. Now we’ll do the work.

Matt Rivera
All better now.

Marie Shanley
And partly it has a lot to do, right? I mean, better late than never, I guess. But it partly also has to do with like, this is how we get funding like, it’s all broken. It’s all broken. This is how we get funding for stuff, we have to say, here’s the problem, we fixed it. OK now, can we have money to actually fix it? It’s not great. I do believe it’s getting better. It’s unfortunate to me that I don’t think it’s getting better because of government initiatives. I think it’s getting better because of small community initiatives, because of nonprofits. That is where I’m seeing progress and work. And it is so small, it is huge, but it is so small compared to how big the problem is. And we need so much more community organization for us to actually resolve the issue on the scale that it needs to be resolved. I don’t want to discourage anybody but I also just want to make clear that like, nobody walk away from this thinking, like, oh, four people came on and talked about suicide. That’s it, right? This is it, we fixed? Because we haven’t, we’re very far from that.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, I think this is a good time too, I really want to spend a lot of the rest of our time talking about support. That support factor, right, like what you were just getting into about, there are a lot of these, you know, grassroots organizations, nonprofits, we are making progress in that space. What do we feel like needs to happen in you know, I know there’s a lot of different nuances in these spaces. But what are some of the things that need to happen moving forward, in order to make progress on a larger scale?

Imadé Nibokun
I feel like we need police-free crisis teams and I’m just really encouraged by seeing the movement happen across the country. It saves money, reduces the burden on 911 and other emergency systems. It works. And I’m so excited to see it getting rolled out in places like Oakland and Sacramento, it’s happening. And I think that’s what we really need. I disclosed to my therapist, my former therapist, that I was struggling, and I went to sleep and took a depression nap which is what we all do, it’s part of our culture, nap life and I woke up to two police officers at my house doing a wellness check. And some people don’t understand and realize that when the police come into your house, you’re being outed. And so I didn’t know if I would be able to stay at that apartment, because they don’t know if the police came for suicidality or if I committed a crime. I don’t want anybody to go through that fear. Because in that moment, even if the police are trained in mental health services, you know, I’m glad that they do have some training, it doesn’t account for the power differential that they have. It’s very difficult to disclose to someone who has a gun, I’m just being really honest, being really truthful. And so a lot of us we want to talk about suicide, and we want to feel safe. We want to feel as if we get more support. And so I think for me, the police-free crisis team movement that’s happening, I think that’s definitely what we need.

We also need peer support respite centers, we need that everywhere. Peer support respite centers are places where you can drop in when you’re not feeling well. It’s staffed by peers that have lived experiences with mental health challenges. You can stay and it’s voluntary, you’re not forced to be there. But it’s in a home-like environment and for people like me who have chronic suicidal ideation, we know that the suicidal thoughts will pass, but we need a place to stay so that we don’t harm ourselves and we don’t have that threat and that fear that looms over us. And so some of us, we can’t go to psychiatric hospitals because we never know when we’re going to get out. And we can lose our jobs if they force us to stay there for too long. We may even lose our children because we can’t care for our kids and they may keep us in there. We need more peer-run warmlines. These are non-crisis phone support lines staffed by peers with lived experience and you can talk to them about your mental health challenges. The hotline sometimes are really one-sided, which can also create a power differential. Being able to just have a simple conversation can really diffuse a lot of mental health stress. So I just think we really need to focus on peer support in what we do.

Matt Rivera
I mean, that’s yeah, all super, super important. I do agree and I also want to bring up, so I work in entertainment. Part of my job is also doing entertainment PR and I recently took on a client. First I represented him for his comedic career but then I found out he was actually a licensed therapist, and he is opening this new clinic, which just opened in Canada, which is their DBT Center, which is dialectical behavior therapy. And so a lot of what they focus on includes suicidal ideation and suicidality, self-harm, and things like that. And I had found you know because I brought them, I started this campaign last month and I was leading up to this month for Suicide Prevention Month and awareness week. And I found that I put in a very bold pitch headline about this specific month. And yeah, a lot of media outlets just straight up, you know, ignored it and a lot of places I think are still so afraid to just even discuss and bring more awareness to it because sure like mental health is a big topic now. But I feel like the mental health that we publicly discuss is like, oh, I’m anxious at my job. Or like, oh, I’m nervous about dating again. The greater public and the media space at large are still afraid to approach these subjects because it is still so tricky, and I totally get that. But as long as they are gatekeeping these topics from people that need to hear it, it’ll continue to be that way. So I would love to see, especially from my space, the space I work in and what I understand, and I think it would do such a huge service to people if the media would be more open and receptive to this month and talking about suicide and allowing people like us, other experts, other professionals to have the space to really openly discuss reentering society during a time when a lot of us want to kill ourselves.

Marie Shanley
I think it just shouldn’t be on Simone Biles and other athletes, for, Michael Phelps and I can’t remember that the tennis athlete now.

Imadé Nibokun
Naomi Osaka

Marie Shanley
Thank you, thank you so much. Yes, it shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t be on Naomi. It shouldn’t be on these people to be spearheading but that is what’s happening and Matthew you bring up a really really good point that the media is not talking about it unless it’s making them money, right?

Matt Rivera
Or if it’s like mental health lite.

Marie Shanley
Yeah, it has to be like the right amount of, like it has to be very romantic right? Like I remember–

Ashley Kristoff
Bubble baths, you know, self-care.

Marie Shanley
Yeah, I remember the headlines that were made by, again I’m terrible with names, by the actress who played in 50 Shades of Grey where she was like, I have mental health issues but like also not really, they’re not a big deal. And that made headlines and that is like that’s where we are right now. My favorite, my least favorite is you know somebody passes away from suicide and we get the oh my god please go to the hotlines, please. Like you go on Twitter and it’s just call the hotlines, call the hotlines you know. Like that’s what you see and hear for like a week and then everybody’s fine.

Matt Rivera
Right because like death does sell and then it’s like, sensational death headline and it’s like oh, by the way here’s a hotline.

Marie Shanley
Yeah. Yeah, a huge difference was made by the fact, like there’s research behind the fact that shows like Will & Grace made a huge difference to acceptance of gay people, right? Like I want to see not mental health lite in TV shows where like, oh somebody was depressed, but they went to a therapist! Look they’re all fine we’re never going to talk about it again in another episode. Or you know, 13 Reasons Why like, oh revenge depression, like and suicidality. I don’t want to see that. I want to see friends but they’re all not well. That’s, I want to see that like oh yeah, I was suicidal today what OK, well let’s not call the– like I want to see that, I want to see it brought up the way it is for normal people because I live the rest of my life what I am not in crisis super, super normal and super boring. I walk my dog. I pick up his poop, you know. Like I put on my pants in the morning, like it’s super, super boring and not entertaining and I don’t want my crisis to be the thing that you pay attention to. I want the things that are good that the good days as well as the reality of mundaneness, I’m no monotony, mundaneness of what mental health becomes to people who live with it chronically. I want to see that.

Ashley Kristoff
It’s yeah, it’s just as common as like OK, how do I take care of my mental health today? What do I eat today? Like you know it’s, it’s that same level of conversation at a certain point.

Matt Rivera
Ah, there is something want to bring up too. So I know like if you’re on Twitter or like if you’re in Gen Z spaces or whatever, like have you guys noticed that you know, saying something like, I just want to die or I just want to kill myself has become almost like a buzzword amongst like younger people? Like on the flip side of not wanting to talk about suicide, there are people that kind of have, kind of says those things as almost like a meme in a way. Like as a thing that’s like really funny and like silly, which sure there can be some humor in the darkness. I think it’s important to even bring up like in that culture, in the youth culture and especially I think it trickles up as well, that it’s easy to like you know, joke about mental health in a completely non-helpful supportive way if that makes sense?

Marie Shanley
In a dismissive way?

Matt Rivera
A dismissive way. Yes, yes, yes. Where it’s like non-discussion of suicidality. And then there’s like the dismissive, like, jokey internet tone of suicidality. And I think that that’s something and interesting to discuss and figure out as well because I think that can also be a little bit harmful. In that, it brings, like, some levity, lightheartedness and like, you know, I know a lot of younger people now are experiencing more, you know, mental health issues than ever, but I think it bears, you know, some attention that there should be, you know, like, at least more understanding and more sensitivity to that, so that someone else doesn’t, you know, possibly get triggered by that sort of flippant discussion of it as well.

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah. How do we, how do we have conscious conversations about this topic in a way that is truly going to help and educate people so that if they are in that same, you know, same boat, that they have something helpful, you know.

So I do want to make sure that we are giving our audience some support ideas. So I want to ask, how can we support loved ones, if they come to us and say, “Hey, I’m feeling suicidal? I’m having suicide ideation?” What, and now I know we’ve, I know, a lot of the time it can feel very overwhelming if you are put in that situation. But it’s very important to have those conversations if that’s something your loved one needs to have with you. So what can we do to support them when those situations come up?

Marie Shanley
I think there’s two sides to that, right. So from one side, I think it is so important to teach people consent, you need to make sure that the other person consents to you going to talk about the feelings, you’re experiencing the trauma, the whatever you’re experiencing, the other person has to consent to listening to that. Because again, we don’t know where people have been or where they’re going, or how they’re feeling right now. So I feel like that isn’t brought up enough. Because the flip side of that is, yeah, we need to be sitting down and we need to be listening. And we need to be treating these conversations with the respect and the dignity that they deserve.

What I want to see in support, I want people who come to me to know, that aren’t my loved ones, to know that I am not the right resource and I will send you to an appropriate resource based on what I know about you. And I want you to offer me the opportunity to do that, instead of trauma dumping, and just telling me, here’s my life story, it’s not good. And I don’t know if that’ll trigger all of your memories about how terrible things were for you. But here it is, I need to put it somewhere. The other side of that is that means that people need to know where to go. So in terms of support, I want people to be more aware of the nonprofits that are out there. Not just of the suicide hotline, of the multiple, multiple, multiple options that are there. Whether that’s the non-emergency phone number, you know, non-911 phone number in your state or that is the Black mental health nonprofit or the Asian mental health nonprofit. Like I want people to learn about passive and active suicidality. I want people to learn about it in school and be aware of it just as much as they learn about you know, stupid nonsense that they don’t need or will never use I want them to know about that. And I want people to be trained like mental health first aid should be something that more people have access to. So that when somebody comes to you, you don’t, maybe rightfully freak out, but go I know what to do. I know what to do. The same way, or at least I know somebody who has the training who can. The same way first aid, like regular first aid, is a regular thing mental health first aid should be available to people so that they just know what to do in these situations.

Imadé Nibokun
Yeah, absolutely. And I also would say if someone’s really interested, they should definitely look into peer support training. BEAM is an amazing Black-led nonprofit and they do Black mental health peer support training. And they teach this amazing model and I’m actually a graduate of their peer support training. And they teach a model called LAPIS Peer Support Model. ‘L’ is for Listen & Assess for Distress or Harm. ‘A’ is Affirm Their Experience. ‘P’ is Partner to Navigate Care & Seek Services. ‘I’ is Initiate Self & Community Care Plans and ‘S’ is to Seek Out Help as Needed. And so there are nonprofits out there that will train you so that you can understand and learn consent-based support of folks who deal with suicidality, so you don’t have to recreate the wheel, it’s already been made. And so I definitely encourage folks to reach out and get trained for peer support. And I definitely want to emphasize the importance of building in self-care and community care. When you do support people with suicidality because it’s very easy to get burned out supporting us, just keeping it in real, especially for folks who have chronic suicide ideation. And so I definitely have lost friends, I have absolutely lost friends because I develop a codependent relationship. I thought that if they didn’t pick up the phone, I would die, which is super unhealthy. I expected my friends to be my therapist. And so it’s so important to create boundaries, healthy, sustainable, long-term boundaries, when you do support people with suicidality so that they know when to seek professional help, and when to seek your help. I want all of us with suicidality to have healthy, long-term lifelong relationships and that absolutely requires self-care and community care, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones.

Ashley Kristoff
Absolutely. I do want to share, we asked our Instagram community, how do they seek support in their life and one of the comments I wanted to share was, ‘Sometimes it’s helpful to ask me what’s going through my brain. I have a one to three scale to tell friends where I’m at without having to explain it. So one means I’m actively suicidal, it’s a crisis situation. A two means passively suicidal, not a crisis, but probably shouldn’t be left alone. And three is just kind of thoughts about it, just need some distraction. When I simply need to be distracted, it’s helpful to buy me ice cream, sit with me, watch a movie, or go to Target.’ And I just thought that was such a that’s such a wonderful way of how to like, have those conversations with your friends. And then like, you know, you get to the point where you are in that situation, you’re like, I have this really, really easy system that just requires you know, the person in crisis to say one number, and the person knows what to do if you know they’re available for that support. So I think that’s just such a wonderful method this user uses.

Matt Rivera
Oh, that’s really cool. That’s really amazing. I think I might even adopt that as well. I do think it’s really important, to touch on what Imadé was saying, to not rely on friends as free therapy and I think a lot of people make that mistake. Definitely setting those boundaries and coming up with a way to communicate with people that you trust about this topic is so important. And I also do want to shout out The DBT Center. And that’s specific to anyone listening in Vancouver. They are, I believe the second one on that coast to offer that sort of therapy, and especially in the Fraser Valley area. And they also offer Mandarin-speaking service so I definitely encourage a lot of my own Asian community to seek out help. But I think it’s important to find care and service that does line up with your own identity and your own experience because not every therapist or specialist will fully understand you culturally, and there’s some nuances that they just won’t get. And I also you know, love to shout out the Los Angeles LGBT Center. I think it’s important as queer people to definitely seek help. I think that we are more often than not recipients of a lot of trauma and a lot of misunderstanding and I think it’s important as queer people to really you know, take a step back and address mental health. And to really take inventory of our experiences and how we can use that as a source of empowerment versus a source of trauma and pain. And important to definitely connect with help that aligns with your cultural experience and also your sexual or gender identity as well.

Ashley Kristoff
Absolutely. So I do want to start rounding out the conversation a bit we have wonderful resources, I’m going to make sure that we are putting these available for everyone who’s listening so that they can easily access all these wonderful nonprofits and organizations you’ve highlighted. So I do want to jump into our Self-Care Corner here which I know I joked about bubble baths but self-care is very important. So how do you cope when you are dealing with suicidal ideation? I know that the spectrum of that can vary so if you want to talk to a specific level of that, or you know an overall whatever makes sense to you.

Matt Rivera
For me, even before the pandemic, I was going through a lot of you know, really dark thoughts and really heavy thoughts of suicide right in the middle of the pandemic, you know. I pretty much lost work and money and almost everything and was just on a complete downward spiral. And after a while, I did kind of pick myself up a little bit and I was able to have a little bit more financial support coming my way which I was very grateful for in terms of programs and services I was able to take to use. And then I did settle into a routine. I started to find you know, peace and comfort in a routine of like waking up and doing my morning smoothie, walking my dog, and also getting to exercise did help a lot. Also going back to the alien question, but I did actually find a lot of hope and comfort and K-pop it’s so like saccharine crazy with the sound and the music and the colors like it actually took me away from a lot of those dark thoughts. So it was kind of nice substitute escape from that. I feel like settling into a routine, I found it to be very helpful whenever I felt out of control.

Ashley Kristoff
It’s just if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? Like if K-pop works for you, like, endorsed 100%.

Matt Rivera
It do be working. Gotta get on that BTS.

Ashley Kristoff
Marie or Imadé?

Marie Shanley
I can go. So in terms of like when I’m in an active crisis situation, at that time, I usually need to know when like I will try to figure out when is the soonest time I could speak to my therapist like if I know I’m starting to get back into that thought process. So I’ll try to do that. I also have people in my network that I can talk to without using them as therapists, but there are people that I can go to without giving them details and telling them everything I’m feeling and so that’s really important to me. And then I have a list of stuff that seems really small but makes a big difference. So finding my dog and attacking him with cuddles – huge, huge difference. Going to my husband and asking him usually to tell me something positive or to remind me why he loves me or remind me why I’m here and why I’m important to him. He also now like knows that that’s like hey, something else is going on and he’ll go through then the steps that he knows we have. We’ll go take a drive. The Target thing just resonated so much with me because we will go to Target. I’m very, very grateful. I am in a place where I can do things that proactively help me not get there.

I recently interviewed Katherine Gordon and she made a suicide prevention workbook and one of the things in her workbook which I swear changed so much for me it was making importance collage. So you make a collage of things that matter to you. She has us just put stuff down that are basically reasons you’ll stay. I just copy/pasted stuff that I know are my intentions, are things that keep me here, are things that keep me going. And that is something that’s actually really helpful. I did that once outside of a crisis and once within the crisis and it was very grounding. I know that I have proactive steps so that is taking a routine, that is I have a list of things. I call them your good day list so it’s not like the best day where you have an ice cream and there was a carnival but, and it’s not like the worst day where you just sat around and under a blanket, like what are regular comforts that I need that make for like a decent day. Where I can look back and be like, that day was pretty good, right? And so I will play Tetris, that is a huge coping mechanism for me, read, sit under a weighted blanket, again cuddle my dog, go walk with my dog. So those are all things that I can if my brain is totally in, like emotional overload, I can go to that list to say, OK, what have I not done yet? OK, I didn’t try playing Tetris. That does make me feel better, let me try doing that. I didn’t try coloring yet, let me try doing that. And so I have that list that I can that I usually go through.

Ashley Kristoff
I love that you have a list for that. I think that’s such an important, in the sense that like that can be really beneficial. Just write down things that make you happy, things that bring you joy, you don’t know how helpful it can be in those moments to just like, have the words in front of you so you don’t have to try to think of it yourself.

Imadé Nibokun
Yeah, I’m just grateful for what Matthew said about DBT. DBT saved my life. I dealt with the mental health system for about off and on for eight years and it took me that long to get the right diagnosis of BPD and the right treatment. But what I love about DBT is that it is not trying to kind of preach to you about what you should do when you’re in crisis. Basically, you know, I get it, I know that you’re so dysregulated so I’m not even going to ask you to analyze your thoughts in this moment. And so what you do when you’re in crisis is a TIP skill. And it’s physical activity to try to help you de-escalate your emotions. And so basically, you do something super dramatic, iT’s like your, you just got to pretend you’re in the soap opera. And the cool thing about being in a mental health crisis, you already are dramatic, so it’s like perfect, right? And so the TIP skill, the first, the ‘T’ is Temperature. So you basically get cold water and you splash it on your face and you can do it any way you want it. But you splash cold water on your face like you are just in a soap opera in Dallas or something like that. And then you do intense exercise and that is basically to expend all that energy that the emotional dysregulation is giving you, then you do paired muscle relaxation. So you kind of tighten your muscles, then you release them, and you pair that with deep breathing so you can maybe hold your fist in and you hold your, your breath, and then when you release your fist, you release your breath. And you do that to kind of calm down and to kind of bring yourself back to a lower level. So if you’re at a 10, the hope is that after you do TIP, you may be at a seven, at a six, at a five. And then once you get down to that level, then you’re able to do other, like what’s typically called higher-level skills that will help you get to a place where, of more stability. And like, Marie was saying, like, Improve the Moment is another DBT skill. If you need to figure out OK, I’m on a lower and a lower number when it comes to my crisis level. Now I can think about OK, let me watch a funny show because that’s, that’s something that can help my mood and is opposite of how I’m feeling. I know there’s a stigma, but people with BPD, that we are ridiculous, that we are the crazy ex-girlfriend, there’s literally a TV show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend where Rachel Bloom, the main character has my condition. So DBT has saved my life and has kept me from making the situation worse and for some folks in crisis, that’s all we need to do. You don’t have to do anything special, you don’t have to save the world, all you have to do is not make the situation worse. And DBT gave me that ability and that power. So I’m super grateful for that.

Ashley Kristoff
I love that. And I just want to really point out that all of your answers were very different and I think that’s such a good thing because there is no wrong way to cope. It makes you feel better, it makes you feel better, whatever that looks like for you. And I just think that’s such a wonderful kind of a message of hope. So our final question we always love to end our podcasts on is what made you feel Mighty this week? I can start. I took this weekend to really just rest and relax and work on crafts and that was honestly just like, I have a lot of things I need to be doing. I have responsibilities, appointments, whatever I need to be making, but I needed this weekend to just be in my own zone doing something not even, not doing anything of consequence because that was the recovery I needed this weekend. And I feel better for having done it. And I’m really grateful to myself that I was like being kind to myself and let myself do that. So that’s mine for this week.

Marie Shanley
Can I be really, I’m going to redeem the cheese card and say this conversation is a huge highlight. It made me feel powerful listening to all of you and share your experiences made me feel not alone. It, I learned a bunch. I like this makes me feel so powerful and Mighty and I absolutely love that. Yeah, I’m sorry if that was anybody else’s answer. But it’s a really good chat, and it really makes me feel empowered. So thank you, everybody.

Matt Rivera
I’m gonna steal both your answers and say that, yes, this weekend of complete nothingness definitely set me on a pretty good path this week, I feel like. I do feel rested, I feel my mind is a little bit clearer and I will say that having this chat, which I’ll be completely honest, I was so nervous about, having to speak about all this and speak about it so openly, I do feel there is a weight off. And I think that learning from all of you guys and your answers and your experiences, I definitely feel like I have taken away a little bit, tips and methods, and your experiences. And I will take that with me on my journey and apply it towards a lot more healthy coping practices as well.

Ashley Kristoff
I love it.

Imadé Nibokun
Like actually talking about suicide, it makes me feel better. I don’t know how but it just does. And like talking about it. I just felt so energized. listening to you all share your experiences, I was just like, Oh my gosh, like this is what I meant to do. And I think for some mental health advocates, you feel like this is what I meant to be doing, is the purpose for why I go through so much pain and suffering is to talk about it so that we can heal as a community. So I’m just so grateful to be here and to draw from everyone’s strength. And I’m absolutely going to take your coping skills like I’m absolutely going to apply them. And I’m just man, I’m just so excited and so honored to be a part of this conversation. You guys are absolutely amazing.

Matt Rivera
So are you and everyone else!

Ashley Kristoff
Yeah, all, big round of applause for everyone here. Alright, so now where can people learn about your work and what you do and follow up with all of the amazing advocacy work that you guys are doing every day?

Imadé Nibokun
Well, I just want to say yeah, one of the things that made me Mighty, made me feel Mighty this week is that I teamed up with Mariame Kaba, an amazing abolitionist as well as Carlita, who is executive director of Darkness RISING. And BEAM, shout out to BEAM. So we all teamed up together to fundraise for Rebuild. Rebuild is a Help Me Find a Therapist Program where we’re going to connect 5,000 formerly incarcerated folks to therapy. It has raised over $80,000 in just one week, and we are super grateful and overwhelmed by the kindness and outpouring of generosity that people have given to us. We just want to keep it going so we’re going to start this program. Mariame came to us and basically said, what I’m hearing over and over again is that folks who get released from prison, they want to be healed from that trauma, they want to have therapy, and it’s very difficult to access it. And so we want to remove that barrier. Because the stigma is, is really it’s I think it’s being reduced in a lot of ways, but the access is not there. It’s not where it’s supposed to be and so we just want to make it possible. What we’re going to be doing is the money that we are fundraising is going to pay for therapy sessions for folks who have been released from incarceration. It’s also going to pay for staff members, we want to have part-time staff who are also formerly incarcerated themselves and have lived experience with mental health challenges. They’re going to be helping their peers, their community find therapists of color. The fundraiser is that bit.ly/REBUILD2021, again, it’s bit.ly/REBUILD2021. And yeah, we’re gonna make this happen and I’m just so proud of our community. We’re doing this.

Matt Rivera
Yeah!

Marie Shanley
How could anybody follow that up? That’s amazing!

Ashley Kristoff
That’s what I was wondering!

Marie Shanley
Unless you’re like I’m building a country where mental health isn’t a problem anymore, so.

Ashley Kristoff
Just casually raised $80,000 in a week.

Marie Shanley
Right?

Matt Rivera
I’m like follow my Instagram, I guess? For me, I guess you can follow my Instagram. I’ve actually done a lot of work with The Mighty. I’ve written some articles with them, and I’ve led some discussions with them. So I’ve always been happy to be involved in discussions like this and being able to further any awareness or talks about suicidality or LGBTQ or Asian American mental health subjects. Also recently, as for my PR job, I recently got comedy show which featured all Asian Americans into the LA Times and Eden Park. Part of his act he does discuss his own experience with attempting to take his own life and he has a really, really funny bit so I encourage people to check him out as well because he does talk about in a way that’s it’s deep but it’s very funny as well so I love that he did that and I was very proud to work with them.

Ashley Kristoff
Love it.

Marie Shanley
OK. I just have a website I’m on Twitter a lot. @Mxiety. It’s like anxiety but instead of n ‘a-n’ it’s an ‘m.’ I have a Twitch channel where I interview mental health professionals and when I’m not doing that I also play video games. I write a lot of my writing is on The Mighty but if you check out my website Mxiety.com that’ll link you out to all the things including resources that if you’re just lost and don’t know where to start, it’s, I have a whole page of like, just look at these and see if any of these work for you. Oh, I also wrote a book. It’s all on the website, just Mxiety.com. Check it out.

Ashley Kristoff
Just drop in casually the oh yeah, I just happen to write a book too? Like these accomplishments, you all are getting like we need bigger round of applause, bigger cheers for these.

Alright, so that is it for our show today. So I want to thank you all for joining me and having this conversation. I know it’s not the easiest to talk about but it’s an important one and it’s one that I’m, I’m so happy we got such different but you know, similar in a lot of ways experience represented here because I feel like we all brought a little bit of something for the community here and I’m just really thankful to have each of your voices represented.

Matt Rivera
Thank you so much for having us!

Marie Shanley
Thank you so much.

Imadé Nibokun
So thank you for disclosing your lived experience, you know, as well as super easy to interview people less suicidality and not put any, you know, investment in your personal disclosure and experiences so like that was super huge. I think it’s rare for me to talk to somebody about suicidality, and they disclose as well. So thank you so much.

Ashley Kristoff
Oh, yeah I’m glad thank you.

Alright, so thank you for listening to this episode of The Mighty Podcast. If you want to continue the conversation, head over to TheMighty.com or download The Mighty App to become part of our community. We’d love for you to give us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, follow us on Spotify, or if you’re listening on The Mighty, give this page a heart. Join us on our next episode and Stay Mighty.

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