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Suicide attempt survivors, Jolissa & Ethan Hebard, talk about suicide awareness and their own experiences.


Jolissa: It is not something to be ashamed of, it is not something to be stigmatized by, and there is no shame in feeling suicidal, having suicidal thoughts

Talking About Suicide With People Who’ve Been There: Jolissa & Ethan Hebard

Ethan: I really assumed that I was doing everyone in my life a favor. I had felt kind of, unnecessary or unimportant.

Jolissa: I always felt like I was alone. When life doesn’t make sense to you and you feel like you’re not getting it, the idea of continuing with that is just completely overwhelming,

Ethan: I am autistic, but I wasn’t diagnosed until 18, which was after my attempt. So growing up I felt very alone and kind of like an alien. When I was growing up in the early 2000s there was not much talk, especially any positive talk, about mental illness and we didn’t even, aspergers was just like a, like a joke, that was like, “That’s not a real thing, right?”

Jolissa: Being someone who had thoughts of suicide as an option for many years and having a sister who had her own attempts, it was always something that I was aware of. Our relationship, changed, because we got his diagnosis. With his diagnosis, I was able to educate myself on his behaviors, his sensory issues, all the things that make Ethan, Ethan.

Ethan: I can only imagine as to how my life might have been different had the people around me know that I’m not neurotypical.

Jolissa: there were many times when he would say, “How could you love me? I haven’t done anything to be deserving of love.” That was so foreign to me because I’m your mom, of course I love you.

Ethan: My relationship with my family has changed pretty dramatically before and after my attempt. I never wanted to hurt them. I didn’t know that what I was gonna’ do, was gonna’ hurt them.

Jolissa: I really feel like a lot of these are about love and missing love in our life, and that’s the greatest most powerful thing on earth. Together, what we go through is not that different from what other people go through and that kind of support is, it’s immeasurable.

Ethan: Suicide is preventable. We can help people who are feeling poorly, and give them what they need to not feel like suicide is their only best option. I’m happy to be here to help, save someone maybe from making the mistake I did.

Originally published: October 1, 2018
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