Jesse’s Story

As told by his mother Mindy Colliss

Jesse was a Red Seal Welder in northern British Columbia. He had two daughters, two and six. He was separated from their mom, and he was engaged to be married to another girl. So he had two step sons aged 10 and 12 also.

I think it was depression. I think alcohol dependency had a part in it. He did suffer from depression as an adolescent. I had taken him to the doctor for depression around age nine and again around age 14. Both times, you know, he wasn’t given medication or anything. He would just talk to the doctor. He blatantly refused any kind of counseling growing up, I should have pushed harder, you know, but I, you know, I pushed as hard as I kind of could.Continue reading “Jesse’s Story”

‘I made a decision to live’

The journey through grief

As told by Jennifer Walhout

We belong to a club we didn’t sign up for. We just passed the seven year anniversary of losing our son Matthew and I can’t tell the difference between year one and year seven.


I wish it got better. It gets different, but I don’t think the pain gets any better. At least it’s not for us. I don’t know if you’ve ever come across that Gwen flowers, prose poem that says, “I had my own notions of grief.” It’s quite amazing if you want to find it sometime. It’s a beautiful prose that I often turn to because that was my story, I thought I knew what grief was. We had already been through enough of it. And you think it can’t get any worse, and then it does. It’s so random. It’s life. And you just keep going on.Continue reading “‘I made a decision to live’”

Without Warning: Abbie’s Story

As told by her mother Becky Simmons

Abbie was my youngest. She was born in September of 1997. My husband and I had two older kids. In fact, her sister was 11 years older than her, and her brother was eight and a half years older. I always say, from day one she was a daddy’s girl. I think I came in second. All her life, she loved to hunt. She loved to fish. She loved to go camping with her dad. They would spend hours just driving around.

At the age of 19, she was in college. She went to college to be a nurse.

Continue reading “Without Warning: Abbie’s Story”

‘My Girl’ – Jennifer’s Story

Rachel’s story, as told by her mother Jennifer Loughran

I stayed at daughter’s house for a month after her death.

I had two children, my son Jesse was born in 1988, and my daughter Rachel born in 1991. Initially I was a stay at home mom but not for very long because my ex-husband is an alcoholic He was removed from the house by the police.

We sold the house and split the proceeds after we got it out of escrow. I moved the kids to Pennsylvania and drove for hours to the drop-off place where I felt safe and 40 percent of the time he would not show up for his visits to pick up the kids and they had to deal with all of that on top of what he was doing to me.Continue reading “‘My Girl’ – Jennifer’s Story”

SAMSHA unveils improved 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) is rolling out a newly improved, built to be the most comprehensive resource for persons seeking treatment for mental and substance use disorders, offers you the ability to:

• Search for treatment from multiple sources such as certified substance use and mental health treatment facilities, opioid treatment programs, buprenorphine practitioners, and health care centers.

• Access an interactive map and search filters to tailor treatment options.

• Search for a facility by entering address, city, state, zip code or facility name.

• Download printer-friendly search results including facility location (i.e., phone number, address, website, etc.).

With, treatment facilities also can now register themselves for enhanced outreach to their communities and better visibility of their mental health and substance use treatment services.

All searches on the site are anonymous and confidential.

Visit the site at

HHS awards more than $130 million in 988 Lifeline Grants

This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will award more than $130 million in 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline grants – part of the $800 million provided to SAMHSA under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to address the nation’s ongoing mental health and substance use crises. Today, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm, and Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and the leader of SAMHSA Miriam Delphin-Rittmon will visit Community Crisis Services, Inc., a local 988 call center, to see the grant funding in action and highlight the importance of these investments. In total, the Biden Administration has invested nearly $500 million to get the 988 Lifeline up and running – through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and other funding streams.Continue reading “HHS awards more than $130 million in 988 Lifeline Grants”

Men’s suicide rate is 3 to 4 times as high as women. This new approach may help

Men overall have a suicide rate three and four times as high as women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One reason is that men tend to choose more lethal means— most often firearms. Men are also less likely than women to seek mental-health help. And men’s anxiety and depression often come across as anger or irritability rather than worry and sadness, so conditions that can raise the risk of suicide can go undiagnosed and untreated. 

The Wall Street Journal Reports:

“Researchers are investigating new approaches amid rising concern about mental health coming out of the pandemic, and after years in which suicide rates remained stubbornly high. One study found promise in men’s groups aimed at building resilience and camaraderie, particularly among men struggling with the transition to retirement. Another asks men to create “hope kits” with reminders of what they have to live for, such as pictures of loved ones. Another study used videos to show men how they might talk to their doctors about suicidal thoughts, with language that frames getting help as a way of taking charge.Continue reading “Men’s suicide rate is 3 to 4 times as high as women. This new approach may help”

Researchers suggest new approach to music therapy to help trace change in depression

Researchers at the University of York and the Royal College of Music have proposed a new way of harnessing music therapy for the diagnosis, assessment and monitoring of depression:

“Phatic behaviors in conversation can include small-talk, interjections and gestures which put the other person at ease and strengthen social bonds and understanding. These behaviors can change during depression in a range of ways such as longer pauses within a speaker’s turn, a drop in rate of speech, an overall fall in vocal pitch and a reduction in eye contact.

“The researchers suggest that similar communicative behaviors exist in improvisational music therapy.Continue reading “Researchers suggest new approach to music therapy to help trace change in depression”

Witness to suicide

Witnessing a suicide or finding someone after they have died, whether you know the person or not, can be very traumatic.

The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) New Hampshire Chapter’s Connect program notes you may have intense feelings and reactions – normal responses to an abnormal event.

NAMI notes:

“People who have lost a loved one to suicide are typically referred to as ‘suicide loss survivors’ or ‘survivors of suicide loss.’ People who have witnessed a suicide death, have come upon the deceased’s body after the fact, or have heard or read graphic details regarding the death are called ‘witness survivors.’”Continue reading “Witness to suicide”

Surviving suicide loss – what to expect

Suicide ripples out through families,  social circles and communities. Whether you have lost a loved one, witnessed or found them after, or witnessed the death of another, the trauma of your loss and experience will affect you in different ways.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): “Everyone experiences a suicide loss in their own way. There is no list of emotions that will exactly fit your experience. However, many people who have lived through the suicide of a loved one experience some combination of the following feelings and grief responses:

  • Shock
  • Denial and disbelief
  • Grief
  • Rejection and abandonment
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Blame and self-recrimination
  • Confusion
  • Relief
  • Betrayal
  • Shame and embarrassment
  • Isolation
  • Depression and sadness
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Yearning for the person

Continue reading “Surviving suicide loss – what to expect”