February 2017 Volume 3 Issue 2
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When Suicide Hits Home...
When I received the news that a friend committed suicide I knew there had to have been some misunderstanding.  That was impossible!  Try as I might, I could not make the bearer of this shocking news take it back. 

Since my friend's death I've found that the stigmas associated with suicide and ultimately mental illness are alive and well.  There oftentimes is profound shame associated with suicide and a natural, reflexive reaction is to quietly sweep the entire matter under the carpet as if though that will somehow diminish its impact.  To speak in hushed undertones and have conversations only with the adults in the room.  

But here's the thing... mental illness is indeed real and significant. We don't readily see physical manifestations of some mental illness, as in the red, itchy blisters caused by chicken pox; the dramatic weight or hair loss of a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy; or the protrusion of a severely broken bone.  Mental Illness is complex and the sometimes abnormal, maladaptive behaviors which accompany it in their randomness and unpredictability make it difficult for the patient and their loved ones.  However, none of this diminishes its realness.  Yet... the centuries old stigma lives on.  Let's all pledge to stop this!

I am asking you to join me in taking the NAMI stigma free pledge.  "See the person, not the illness". Click on the link below to learn more about mental illness and take the pledge.  NAMI: (National Alliance On Mental Illness) 
I have gotten several emails from some of you who shared that you also have experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide.  I found this great handbook written for the survivors of suicide.  I thought I would share the link.  Along with a couple bits of information about suicide from the handbook.  Hope you find it helpful.    
FACT: Nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the nation, claiming twice as many lives each year as HIV/AIDS.3

FACT: Up to 70% of all people who die by suicide may suffer from an affective illness such as depression or bipolar disorder.1
Wouldn't it be wonderful if depression could be prevented?   Please take a look at this Ted Talk documentary.  A worthwhile listen!
Women's Support Network
Supporting our loved ones on the spectrum can sometimes be overwhelming.  It is important to get restored, replenished, refueled, re-energized. Our Swanky Women's Support Network was created for that very purpose.  Join us to get replenished when you need...  But also come to replenish others when you are achieving successful outcomes with your child.  We can all draw strength and encouragement from each other!  It is my hope that we will create a stronger world with more opportunities and acceptance for our children.
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