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Within our culture, suicide often is handled as a taboo subject. But with the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, now is a crucial moment to shine light on a difficult subject. Most people tend to think of pain as a problem to be solved, so the first instinct when trying to talk to someone who is suicidal is to try to offer solutions to whatever is causing the person pain. This almost never works. Pain is a natural part of being human, and the serious problems that drive someone to think about suicide as an answer do not have easy solutions.
What if, instead, we change the way we think about pain? What if we decide that there’s nothing wrong with experiencing pain, and we give people permission to feel what they are feeling, and just sit with them while they experience it? This presentation will focus on the healing power of accepting pain and allowing human connection to trump problem-solving.
Sara Knox has spent 11 years working on a suicide hotline and training volunteers, police, and community members on suicide intervention. Working with people who feel hopeless and with volunteers who want to give their emotional energy to others has given her a unique perspective on the importance of human connection and finding meaning in our lives. She has an MSW from the University of Iowa and currently works as Training Coordinator for the Johnson County Crisis Center.