Reducing Suicide Risk

with Marcia Epstein, LMSW
Lawrence, Kansas, USA

If you read all this and believe I may be a right person to work with, please see the info about how to start that possibility at Support Services.

93% of people who attempt suicide do not end up dying by suicide.  It is very realistic that even people who get to that dark place, can survive and thrive, with the right skills and supports.  Even though they likely will experience suicide thoughts when emotional pain is high.  And even though so many changes are still needed in this country for all people to have the experience of being valued, of belonging, of having access to good housing, education, health care, and other basic rights that are part of having a life one is glad to live.

One of the keys is finding the right helper(s) to guide one along the path to safety from suicide and/or self harm.  The right helper(s) is/are caring, respectful, patient, and knowledgeable.  She/he/they is/are well-grounded in recent research and best practices for reducing suicide risk.  That includes working collaboratively with the person at risk and those closest to her/him/them.

Individual Work with ME?
Because of my extensive professional experience, my on-going training specifically in reducing suicide risk, my personal experience, and “the kind of person” I am, I may be the right person to help you or the person you feel so concerned about.  And if I’m not the right person, I will try to help you find that right person.

My way of working with people to help them reduce suicide risk is about helping them get to #LifeWorthLiving.  That’s what really prevents suicide.  So I ask my people to agree to stick around and work with me long enough to learn some new skills to replace old ones.  Some of those skills are based in a model called “Safety Planning.”  People who work with me get to talk and be heard and believed through the lenses like “No shame, no blame.” and “It’s never too late to learn and change.”

Stayin’ Alive support group for survivors of suicide thoughts and attempt(s)
and Thriving Family-Friends support for family-friends of suicidal loved ones

Stayin’ Alive is the support group in Lawrence, Kansas for people 18 and over who have ongoing suicide thoughts, self-harm, and/or have attempted suicide. Membership is open to people who can participate in Lawrence, regardless of residency.   The group is informed by curriculum from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Los Angeles.  The Lawrence group was co-founded in September 2015 by Lori Reasoner, a paraprofessional counselor with experience with suicide, and me.  Since Summer 2016, my Peer Co-Facilitator is Cari Gottstein.  We periodically offer series of 6-8 sessions, and at other times offer “free-standing” meetings.  Find helpful posts and info about meetings online at  Stayin’ Alive.  If you, or someone you know, are/is interested, please contact me to arrange a time to discuss participating.  Thank you.

Thriving Family-Friends in Lawrence, Kansas is for those supporting suicidal loved ones.  During some meetings we use exercises from “Is This The Night: Finding Inner Peace” by Annemarie Matulis, national leader of the movement to bring those family-friends to the national suicide prevention community.  For additional info about resources, please see For Family and Friends of People Living With Suicide Thoughts and/or Attempts.

Suicide Prevention resources: Although I am not able to keep this constantly updated, some of this info may be helpful.

In the USA, Free, 24/7 Support for You or Someone Else
CRISIS TEXT LINE: text START to 741-741
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formerly National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  988 or 800.273.8255
RAINN, Rape Abuse Incest National Network, 800-656-HOPE (4673),
TRANS LIFELINE: staffed by trans and nonbinary people, for trans and nonbinary people, , 877-565-8860
THE TREVOR PROJECT: for LGBTQ+ teen and young adults, hotline plus chat and text options
included on the website,  866-488-7386
VETERANS CRISIS LINEhotline plus chat and text options included on the website , 800-273-8255 Option 1 (soon to be through 988)
Plus, although not 24/7, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Helpline,
800-950-NAMI (6264) or

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