“Getting Up” from Considering and Attempting Suicide

10 years after attempting suicide, Lacie Childers is a newly pinned Registered Nurse and the happy mother of active 4-year-old Ian.

I thank Betsy Rhodes, the North Carolina Area Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (link) for suggesting this topic and providing Lacie’s story.

I continue my monthly blog series based on US Figure Skating’s popular “Get Up” campaign which shares the message that life, like the ice, is hard, and we can certainly fall on it. But the more times we get up and persevere, the stronger we become. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, my May installment focuses on the very serious issue of suicide.

There is such a stigma around suicide; that somehow people who contemplate ending their lives are seriously beyond repair and that this is something to be very deeply ashamed about and not discussed. However, continuing on the theme of “Getting Up;” with the appropriate assistance and resources, those who consider or attempt suicide can “Get Up” from this low to move on to healthy, productive, fulfilling lives.

Let me share one story from 25-year-old Lacie Childers from Forest City, NC. Lacie had struggled with mood disorder with frequent chronic thoughts of suicide since puberty. Then at the age of 15, things came to head in one day: someone made fun of her from having a speech impediment, she heard that her boyfriend was seeing someone else, and she failed a test. Fortunately, her suicide attempt that day was not successful.

It would have been be very easy for Lacie to just give up on life and continue falling into despair, but instead she “got up” from her situation to move ahead into a promising future. She recently graduated from nursing school and is a newly pinned RN, is the mother of a very active 4-year-old and is the Walk Chair for the Rutherford County “Out of Darkness” Walk.

Here are several helpful points that Lacie shares with others who may be having these same struggles:

• Lacie realizes that having a support team and a safety plan are her most critical tools. Her support team is aware of her stressors and triggers, and when they may be needed to help Lacie take precautions to keep her safe.

• That self-care is very important in “getting up” and that includes complying with medication and therapy regimens.

• That people do indeed have options when it comes to their care and that they can be their own strong advocates. For example, if you do not like your doctor or therapist, you can find a different one. Or you can reach out to a peer support specialist if you don’t feel you are getting the assistance you need.

• Having this mental illness in no way means that Lacie is inferior or incompetent, or that she cannot have an exciting fruitful career and life ahead. In fact, her own experience may even better prepare Lacie to provide the best nursing care for her future patients.

Thank you, Lacie, for “Getting Up” and sharing this inspiration!

And I would like to close this blog with four actions that my own church denomination (Metropolitan Community Churches) encourages during Mental Health Awareness Month:
1. Learn more about the facts of mental ill health and related issues.
2. Challenge our own and other’s negative attitudes and stigma.
3. Talk and reduce isolation.
4. Become more aware of local sources of help and support.

# # # #

Link to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for more info and resources.

Link to my skating blog page which contains links to my first four “get up” blogs.

Breakfast with Governor Roy Cooper – Part 2 of 2: Diversity and LGBT

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper speaking at the April 6th Triangle Business Journal “Power Breakfast.” (PHOTO: Triangle Business Journal)

The Triangle Business Journal, the very well-read and respected business weekly newspaper for the Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill area of North Carolina holds a quarterly “Power Breakfast” featuring an area senior leader with a few hundred local business leaders. The Spring 2017 breakfast held April 6, 2017 featured the newly elected NC Governor Roy Cooper. Governor Cooper is quite unique as he was the first challenger to defeat a sitting governor in our state since 1850!

Part 1 of this blog (link) provides a general overview of Governor Cooper’s remarks. And since I am a diversity and career development consultant with a deep expertise in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace, this entry will expand on how the Governor addressed diversity and more specifically HB2 and the LGBT community.

Much of the focus was on the unpopular HB2 law passed last Spring which dictated the bathroom transgender people need to use in public venues, curtailed the ability of cities and counties to pass their own non-discrimination ordinances, and more. A few days before the breakfast, a compromise repeal of HB2 was passed and signed by the Governor, which removed the transgender bathroom usage provision, but disallows cities and municipalities from adding anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people before 2020. (Link to my most recent blog about HB2 and to my letter to the Raleigh News and Observer about the inadequacy of the compromise bill.)

NC’s unpopular HB2 law, a subject of protests all over the state, was a major part of Governor Cooper’s remarks. (Photos courtesy of the Charlotte and Raleigh News and Observer)

Here are the points that Governor Cooper made about diversity in general and more specifically about HB2 and the LGBT community in both his remarks and during the Question and Answer portion.

• Within 30 seconds of taking the stage, Governor Cooper started that he loves his state of North Carolina with its diverse mix of people of different genders, races and sexual orientations; that diversity is all over our state, and “that we need to encourage diversity at every step.”

• The most recent compromise bill repealing parts of HB2 is only initial first step. HB2 was very bad for our LGBT citizens, our state and our economy.

• Governor Cooper voiced his strong commitment to fight for statewide protections for LGBT citizens of North Carolina.

• We need to send a signal to our LGBT citizens and to other states that North Carolina is headed in the right direction in terms of LGBT inclusion.

• The business community needs to continue to take the lead in working on equality for the LGBT community.

• We need to be a more diverse state and include protections especially for the more vulnerable of our citizens. We need more comprehensive state non-discrimination policies; meanwhile we should keep our eyes on the Federal courts which could help shape this issue.

• When asked if he would considering issuing an executive order similar to Virginia Governor McAuliffe’s adding the LGBT non-discrimination protects requirement to do business with the Commonwealth of Virginia (see blog about this), Governor Cooper responded positively that he plans to use the executive order broadly and is working on proposals within the LGBT area and other unaddressed groups. (See latest Triangle Business Journal article about this point.)

I am heartened by Governor Cooper’s strong statement of support for LGBT Equality, and though I feel the recent HB2 removal compromise was a very weak first initial step, I would like to support Governor Cooper and provide him any encouragement and assistance to make North Carolina fully inclusive and welcoming of ALL people in 2017.

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