Annemarie Matulis, A Voice at the Table
Re-Energize & Re-Connect
Annemarie Matulis was reluctant to identify herself as a “suicide loss survivor.” When she received the call 3 years ago that her former husband had died by suicide, her emotions were all over the place. Devastating grief was not among them. Her late husband was also her domestic violence abuser. Years before, a neighbor had died by suicide. At that time, no support resources were offered.
Through her recovery and healing process, she was introduced to grief support programs and became a certified grief support facilitator.
Listening to loss survivors raised the awareness that grief is not a one-size-does-not-fit-all and that many impacted by their loss are driven to “do something.” In her presentation, Annemarie will share how this gap in resources led her to advocate for those grieving and create a version of the attempt survivor wellness workshops for loss survivors.
Jacque Christmas, MPA, BSW
After the Storm: Finding Peace and Purpose Again:
In 2012, after the loss of her adult son, Jacque didn’t know how she would survive without him. She even contemplated taking her own life but realized that living her best life is the only way to honor her son. Jacque found support through participating in the Impacted Family & Friends workshops, ultimately
finding inner peace. Jacque will share her story of moving from the darkness toward the light, not only surviving but thriving again.
Toy Burton, DeeDee’s Cry
Suicide Prevention: Filling the Gaps
In 2017, while trying to help a friend find resources after losing a loved one to suicide, Toy Burton did not find supports, services or programs for communities of color. As a suicide attempt and loss survivor, Toy knew all too well what it felt like to need support only to feel as though she wasn’t being heard. This led to the founding of DeeDee’s Cry. Toy’s mission is to provide resources and education on the importance of mental health and wellness within communities of color. She aims to create a space where conversations begin to lift the stigma on mental health within communities of color.
This session will explore the role that story-telling has on individual and community healing as well as the impact stories have on suicide prevention. Pata has spoken and written about being a suicide attempt survivor and her struggles with chronic depression and PTSD. She is a co-founder of The Breaking Silences Project, which is an artistic endeavor that educates about the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American young women. She believes that telling stories of one’s own struggles with depression and suicidality helps reduce mental health stigma.
Tracy Oeser, Journey Thru Grief
The Four Phases of Suicide Loss
As a loss survivor herself, Tracy will define the phases surrounding a suicide loss and explain the importance of understanding that phases are not linear. Loss survivors can revisit these phases multiple times and stay in them for long periods. Healing cannot be effective until we acknowledge them and understand them.
Steve Boczenowski, Teenage Anxiety And Depression Solutions (TADS)
On December 1st, 2009, Steve lost his 21-year-old son, Jeffrey, to suicide. In response to this personal tragedy, Steve and his wife, Deb, founded a non-profit organization- Teenage Anxiety and Depression Solutions (TADS). The mission of TADS was to address mental health issues, especially among young people, by raising awareness, providing education, and enabling access to care. Steve is well-known and respected within the suicide prevention communities in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He has been an active member of the Mass Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP) and currently serves as Board Chair for Family Continuity, a provider of mental health treatment services in Massachusetts with offices in Lawrence, Peabody, Worcester, Plymouth, and Hyannis. Through these efforts, he has developed expertise in suicide prevention, mental health, and public policy.
Judy & Nina Albelo, Breaking the Barriers thru Tony’s Tribe
Paving a New Road: Resiliency through Advocacy and How My Mother’s Terminal Cancer Saved Me: A Suicide Loss Survivor Story
Breaking the Barriers is a non-profit 501(c)(3) located in the South Florida area but their work to spread awareness and education has started to become nationally recognized. Tony’s Tribe is a program within Breaking the Barriers which tells the story of Anthony “Tony” Garcia and the suicide loss survivors he has left behind. Tony was the son and brother of the founders of Breaking the Barriers. He struggled with mental health issues since his late teens and in January 2018 he lost his battle with depression to suicide. Upon his suicide his loved ones were left devastated and struggling to find their footing and therein amongst the loss and sorrow Tony’s Tribe was born. They decided to take his story and use it to raise awareness and work to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues; work to educate people on the warning signs of suicide and also inform people as to what they can do to reach out for help. They hope that through him and his story many others may live.
Comfort Lessons of a Handwritten Note (How I Used a Note to Drive my Advocacy)
In Mr. Tyler’s session attendees will takeaway:
1) Other-Care is Healing
2) WEAK is an acronym, not an adjective
3) Comfort is Love in Action
Steven Palm, The Kacie Palm Project for Youth Suicide Prevention
The Kacie Project: #BreakTheSilence
Steve Palm’s world was forever changed on July 17, 2014, when his precious daughter Kacie Elizabeth Palm died by suicide at the age of 14. In this session, Steve will reflect on how he began his journey ofadvocacy and activism. The Kacie Project was born out of his initial work within the Bristol County MA Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition. From there, he became a grief support facilitator, community activist and public speaker, including workshops and plenary sessions at conferences. He often shares that, “I have learned that talking about suicide is a big part of prevention. Sharing the story of my family’s loss is something that I need to do. We need to add mental health to the large list of things that we talk to our children about.
Andrea Kalin & Hallie Twomey, Scattering CJ Documentary
How do you best celebrate the life of a loved one?
Hallie Twomey lost her elder son CJ to suicide. After years of grief, she was compelled to undertake one last maternal act. Something that commemorated the way he lived, not how his life ended. Hallie put a call out on Facebook, asking for help in honoring CJ’s love of travel by scattering his ashes in amazing places he might have visited had he lived. 21,000 people answered Hallie’s call. The initiative became a global phenomenon. Scattering CJ finds hope in the darkest of places, exploring the extraordinary generosity of strangers and one troubled family’s attempt to find peace.