Attempted Suicide Family Support

$5,000 goal

Campaign created 10 months ago
My name is Heidi Bryan and I've been working in suicide prevention since 1998. I got involved because I'm a survivor of a suicide attempt, have struggled with chronic suicidality all my life and in 1995 I lost my older brother to suicide.  His death showed me suicide wasn't an option and forced me to get the help I needed to learn to live a life worth living, which I do now.
My brother, Jeff, had been hospitalized for almost attempting suicide while I was in high school.  When he came home, it was strange and I didn't know how to interact with him.  No resources, no family therapy, no tips, nothing.  I was afraid if I said something that upset him, he might try to kill himself again.  So I avoided him.  Imagine feeling so low and in so much pain that you attempt to take your own life (my mom walked in on him otherwise he would have killed himself, I'm sure), are hospitalized, come home, and your so-called loved ones avoid you.

After I was involved in suicide prevention several years, I assumed things had changed but to my shock and horror, I found out they hadn't.  So many people told me stories of having a family member attempt suicide and coming home from the hospital without any resources or information or even knowing that they'd continue to be at an elevated risk for attempting again for an entire year. Nothing, absolutely nothing.

And then I met Mary
I had been toying with the idea of writing a booklet for families when I met a young woman, Mary.  She came to a Suicide Anonymous meeting my organization was holding and her mother tried to come into the meeting with her.  We politely explained it was a closed meeting and that meant only people who attempted or struggle with suicidal thoughts could attend.  You could feel the anger radiating from the mother as she sat in the lobby and waited for her daughter.

Mary explained this was her second attempt; all she learned in the hospital was where to cut yourself so that people wouldn't see it and find out.  She was attending community college and her mother took her to her classes and picked her up immediately afterwards.  She was't allowed to close her bedroom door.  All her phone calls were screened and she wasn't allowed to talk to certain friends.  Mary didn't have a moment alone.  My friend and I explained that her mother was afraid she was going to lose her daughter; she was doing it out of love and the woman said she knew that but still.  On the way to our cars after the meeting, my friend turned to me and said, "She's going to attempt again, isn't she?"  I shrugged then said, "I'm afraid so."  

I tried to call Mary and reach out to her but my efforts failed so I don't know what became of her.  I pray she's alive and well today.  But that meeting showed me that family members need help and they need to know what is helpful and what isn't helpful when someone attempts suicide.  

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

So I wrote a booklet called After an Attempt: The Emotional Impact of a Suicide Attempt on Families and through my nonprofit it was distributed to every hospital in Pennsylvania where I lived at the time.  In the subsequent years, I've moved to Wisconsin, gave the nonprofit status to a state organization I helped to co-found, and have done different things on my own or under a contract.

But in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the families and how there isn't anything out there for them.  They're in shock and traumatized, their heads are spinning and there's nothing out there for them.  It's not right.

The Project
So I created a webinar series and now I want to turn it into a mini-course because the material lends itself to a course better than webinars.  It will have videos and tons of resources and lots of helpful information.  There will be five modules ranging from what to expect after a suicide attempt, how to communicate effectively and nonjudgmentally, how to work with the attempt survivor to keep them safe and deal with suicidal thoughts,  insight into the suicidal mind, and self-care and post-traumatic growth. The people who took the webinar series loved it and said it was life-changing.

But I need help to pay for all of the expenses of getting the course set up.  There's $600 a year for the email service, probably more as my list grows.  The course platform is $1500 annually.  I'll need someone to help design the slide templates and the Facebook Ads, that will be approximately $500.  The Facebook Ads and the Google Adwords will cost upwards of $2500-5000 alone.  I'll also need someone to transcribe the videos so it's accessible to everyone and I have no idea how much that will cost.  Video editing software is $250 and then there's video hosting of $240 a year.  All in all, we're looking at a total of $5,590-8,090.

Why Donate?

I want to get this started as soon as possible. In fact,  I've already started and am going into debt doing so.  But I believe in this project and I am committed to this cause.I can't begin to convey what your support would mean to me.  I was neglected and abused growing up so when people, especially strangers, want to help me, I struggle believing it and letting it sink in.  It touches my soul and restores my faith in people.  

This is an important social service I'm trying to offer.  Families and friends of people who have attempted suicide need to know there is help and hope for them too.  They need to know they matter also.  Additionally, if you help the family members, you'll end up helping the attempt survivor as well.  This has the potential to save lives. Your support would mean the world to me and I would be eternally grateful for it. And it would have a lasting impact on many people's lives.

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Here's my latest blog post on the language surrounding suicide: http://afteranattempt.com/hidden-messages/

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A big thank you to all you who have donated to my project. It's my passion and it means so much to me to have your support. Thanks for sharing this with your friends and network also.
ICYMI, here is a blog post about my brother's suicide, which propelled me to get me involved in suicide prevention. http://afteranattempt.com/my-complicated-grief/
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$5,000 goal

Campaign created 10 months ago
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