May 14, 2024, Lehi, Utah

Continuing our Promise2Live mental health series, Speaker, Best Selling Author, and Mental Health Educator Ganel-Lyn Condie shares lessons about suicide prevention from her sister Meggan's suicide. 

See the first article in this seriesthe January 16, 2024 profile story about Promise2Live, authored by Promise2Live founder, Brandy Vega. The second article in this series—an introduction Tom Telford's BrainStoke podcastcan be found here. The third article in the series features Cameron McBride, CEO of Blomquist Hale Solutions, a Salt Lake City-based company specializing in mental health solutions, who shares tips on how to provide help to those who are struggling.

Ganel-Lyn Condie and Brandy Vega will participate in another Silicon Slopes & Promise2Live Mental Health Town Hall on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at the Silicon Slopes HQ from noon until 2pm. They will be joined by Dr. Dave Morgan - Licensed Psychologist, Director of Mental Health Awareness for Silicon Slopes; Coz Green, Author, Publisher, Major League Sports Announcer; and Jennifer Morris, Author of "I Will Be With You Always."

They will discuss what is helpful, what isn't, and how to navigate this difficult journey of the suicide of a loved one.

 For more information or to register for this free event, click here.

Pictured above: ABC4's Good Things Utah hosts, Nicea DeGering and Deena Manzanares, with Ganel-Lyn Condie and Brandy Vega.

A Decade After My Sister's Suicide: Ten Lessons Learned

By Ganel-Lyn Condie

Ten years ago, we lost my beautiful, road trip loving forty-year-old sister Meggan. In the last decade, I have learned so much. I have wrestled with my own grief and worked to normalize mental health conversations. There is still much work to do to solve the complex issue of suicide. But there is so much we can understand about solutions as we look back on truths and takeaways.

Talking about suicide doesn’t cause it. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Talking about suicide may reduce, rather than increase, suicidal ideation. It improves mental health-related outcomes and the likelihood that the person would seek treatment. Opening this conversation helps people find an alternative view of their existing circumstances. If someone is in crisis or depressed, asking if he or she is thinking about suicide can help, so don't hesitate to start the conversation.” Everyone could, and should, be talking about their mental health. Mental health is health.

We post about our favorite binge shows and new restaurants. Finding ways to make mental health conversations a normalized part of everyday life eliminates the shame sometimes associated with struggles with anxiety, depression, OCD or addiction.

Every life matters. We wouldn’t be better without you. There can be a real fatigue level with chronic wrestles with mental and emotional health struggles. Please don’t believe the lie that you don’t matter, you don’t belong, that you aren’t needed. We need what you have to offer. Even with your difficulties.

Therapy is a broad umbrella. If traditional talk therapy doesn’t work for you, consider EMDR, light therapy and massage to help with trauma and grief support. Post-covid we have expanded access to tele-medicine. You can now have a therapy session, in your car, on a lunch break.

How you feel today is not your forever feeling. This fact is really important when talking with our teens. The teenage brain is creative and strong but without a full-frontal cortex development until the age of twenty-five, decisions are sometimes made within fifteen minutes. If you are having thoughts of self-harm, feelings change.

Grief is not linear. Suicide grief is a unique what if kind of grief. After the loss of Meg, and with all suicide deaths, loved ones are left to ask the never-ending question of ‘why.’ We think that if we can adjust just one domino in the train, then the end result can be changed. A study of risk factors may be effective in catering interventions and support. But even a side-by-side study of identical risk factors in twins will not predetermine outcomes.

Purpose can come from your pain. Not everyone that navigates suicide grief and loss feel called to start a blog, write a book or guest on a podcast. But each of us can take painful stewardships and find ways of giving back. Purpose may come just in getting more support for your own mental health, starting an exercise program, or having and long overdue conversation.

You never know who may be struggling. Some of the most high-profile suicide deaths have come to those that seemed to have it all. Don’t assume you know who is wrestling with anxiety or depression. The happy ones, the helpful ones, are often those that navigate heart break. Instead of thinking you know who is at risk, lets start celebrating all of us addressing our mental health on a daily basis.

Normalize mental health support at work. When business leaders and corporate executives structure organizations with reasonable access to mental health resources, normalization happens. Messaging focused on seeking and receiving therapies can greatly impact how mental health is perceived in work settings. Celebrating therapy as a form of education for our relationships and brains not only improves productivity at work but also employee life satisfaction.

My life is not better without Meg. Over the last decade, I have worked and written, talked and tackled, many uncomfortable conversations around suicide loss, mental health tools, and healing. Even with all the efforts made, and purpose found, my life is not better without my sister. The truth is Meg got tired.

If Meg was still here, she would tell you to stay in your body. I wish she was here for the big moments like when my kids graduated. And for a normal Wednesday when I just want to tell her about my favorite new binge show.

You are never alone. When struggling, please call or chat with the 988 HOTLINE.

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