Hot Air: Break The Silence

Talking About The Unspeakable

There’s a little bitty part of me that feels bad about doing this during the “season of joy” but, upon further reflection, nah, I’m really good with today’s edition of Big Talk. My guests this week-before-Christmas will be Michelle Martin Coleman and Elaine Guinn, the movers and shakers behind Project Stay. The two of them, via Project Stay, hope to provide support and comfort for people contemplating suicide as well as for those who’ve lost loved ones to that most unspoken act.

Martin Coleman (L) & Guinn

Heck, I lead off today’s show with the Q: How in the world do we talk about suicide?

Martin Coleman lost her father to suicide nearly 50 years ago. Guinn tried to take her own life several years ago. In the ensuing years, they’ve dedicated so much of their lives to studying the phenomenon. They know about this thing.

The holiday season is a particularly bad time for people suffering from depression and hopelessness.  If my listeners get anything out of today’s Big Talk, I’d hope it’s that they’ll be much more prone to talk to people who appear to be slipping down that slide. It’s not all that hard to see the signs in people who may be at risk of suicide. They may have experienced severe childhood traumas in their past. They may have lost a parent, a child, a friend. They may have lost a job or gone through a divorce or breakup. They may not be taking pleasure in the little things — eating, socializing, whatever — anymore.

All a concerned person has to do is ask. You’d be surprised how openly and quickly one who’s spiraling downward might communication those most frightening thoughts. As Guinn says, all the concerned person has to do is listen — perhaps even just for a few minutes — and then ask that person to stay. Ergo Project Stay.

In any case, tune in this afternoon at 5:30pm for Big Talk on WFHB, 91.3 FM.

And if you can’t catch the show as it airs, you can listen to the podcast on the WFHB Big Talk page.

Most important, if you’re grappling with the question, Should I end my life?, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1.800.273.8255. And if you’re worried someone near you might be contemplating that final solution, go to Project Stay’s Facebook page. Should the situation warrant it, says Martin Coleman, “you can always take the person to the hospital, or if it is a emergency where the person would be harmful to themselves or others, you can call the police.”

But first, both Martin Coleman and Guinn insist, “just intervene for those crucial moments.” That is, talk. Ask. And stay with that person through the crisis (they do pass). You staying with them just might insure they’ll stay in this world.

Lenny & Hef

The Loved One pointed this out:

Lenny Bruce just might be the single most important comedian of the electronic media era. He’s the guy whose trampling of norms, whose use of “four-letter words,” whose forays into heretofore forbidden subject matters, whose propensity to flip the bird to any and all authority no matter the personal cost to himself, blazed the trail for Richard Pryor and George Carlin and Bill Hicks and Sarah Silverman and all the other jokesters who enjoy whatever level of freedom exists today.

You know, Lenny killed himself, too. Of course, he didn’t know he was doing it at the time. Or maybe he did.

Leave a Reply