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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth de Veer

Suicide Awareness and Prevention

The Ocean in Winter is about a few things: family drama, a mystery, relationships between sisters, ghosts, a haunted house.

And a story about surviving suicide.

Quick story. Many years ago - how many, exactly? I could probably figure it out, but let us not worry ourselves with math, shall we? - I met a young man named Brett Wean. Brett was truly one of the funniest people I ever met. We were pals, but then he moved to New York and I lived in Boston, and we lost touch, as people do.

Recently I was perusing LinkedIn (and trying, once again, to figure out what my dang-blame password is) and I saw Brett's name listed as the Senior Communications Writer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I knew then that it was time to reach out to Brett. And even though he is a genuinely hilarious person, I knew this conversation would be a bit more serious. I learned then that Brett is a suicide loss survivor.

Pay attention to this space for more on my discussion with Brett. For now, I want to share a list of resources Brett sent to me.

The first one is a really neat tool provided by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (also known as the AFSP), it's a series of four amazing, user-friendly, free Conversation Guides to help you talk to the people in your community about mental health (#RealConvo). Topics: How to start a conversation, reaching out for help, if someone tells you they're thinking about suicide, and how to talk to a suicide loss survivor. Check them out, they're super helpful.

Every other month, Brett co-hosts a Facebook Live show called "Ask Dr.Jill" with their VP of Research, in partnership with a great website called The Mighty. Check out the January 2021 episode. This includes real-life advice on what to do if you're struggling with depression, especially during this Dark Covid Winter.

The AFSP has a campaign called #RealConvo, which encourages people to have real conversations about mental health. From Brett: "right around the holidays, we decided to try out a new thing, in which I host #RealConvo Concerts, where I interview a musical guest who's written songs involving mental health, and have them do a few songs. We did two shows -- one with Louis Knight from American Idol, and one with We Three from America's Got Talent."

Check out these links to learn more. And I will be talking to Brett soon and asking specific questions, so please stay tuned. Thank you so much, and stay safe out there, you guys.

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