Brittany Rebecca Helton


Veterans and Suicide….

by on Jun.04, 2012, under Publications

If you have a chance, please read this article about Veterans and suicide. We need to reach out to them and help them.

Here is another one that was written here in Vegas:

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The Private Struggle of a Public Woman

by on Dec.29, 2011, under Publications

This article is both interesting and moving. It is very sad that she had to go through what she did, only to end her life and leave 3 children behind.


The Private Struggle of a Public Woman


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8 Tips to Help Console a Grieving Friend

by on Nov.25, 2011, under Publications


8 Tips To Help Console a Grieving Friend This guest article from YourTango was written by Kate Evans

When a friend is grieving the loss of a loved one, it’s easy to feel helpless. Sometimes we think we’re doing the right thing by trying to cheer them up, pointing out the positives or letting them know that they should try to move on. Well-intentioned as we may be, those efforts tend to put pressure on them and leave them feeling invalidated.

So here are eight ways to help you support your friend in times of need.


  1. Let go of time expectations. The person grieving may struggle for longer than expected. If this happens, regardless of how frustrating or frightening it may be for you, let them grieve for however long they need, knowing you won’t judge them for it.
  2. Recognize the stages of grief. Most people suffering a loss will go through these stages, often in no particular order and sometimes repeating stages: denial, bargaining, anger,depression and acceptance. Each one is healthy and necessary. The more familiar you are with these stages, the better equipped you’ll be to support your friend.
  3. Variables to grief. One person’s grief is never the same as another’s. Variables include the cause and length of death, the personal resiliency of the grieving person, what their previous experiences have been, how large their support network is and their relationship to the person lost. Be understanding of how this can change their experience of grief from your own or someone else you have known.
  4. Resist telling them how strong they are. We are often inclined to praise the person who appears to be coping stoically with a loss. The problem is that we need to allow them to be human and vulnerable sometimes too. After all, there’s strength in letting out your emotions from time to time.
  5. Offer the bereaved ways to memorialize. Funerals and memorial services work to give support and closure to the bereaved. We can also memorialize in other ways, like planting trees, writing letters or having remembrance gatherings.
  6. Ask them what they need. It’s normal to feel you can guess what your friend needs based on what you might need in their position. Because we’re all different, it is best to ask them what it is that you can do for them. If they say “I don’t know” or “nothing,” resist the desire to walk away in your frustration or worry. Just offer your support in whatever way you can and let them know that you will be there when they think of something.
  7. Continue to check in on them. At the time of a funeral, many people offer help and support to the grieving person. As the weeks and months pass everyone’s lives move forward and they generally forget to follow up on their offerings of help and support. Be the person who follows up. You don’t have to give all of your energy, but your caring will be appreciated and will provide untold comfort.
  8. Recommend help. There is only so much that a friend or family member can offer to someone who is grieving without putting too much strain on themselves. Gently suggest seeking therapeutic help to give them a special place to cope with their loss.

Finally, keep in mind that loss is not just felt through death. It can be the loss of a job, a divorce, the loss of an ideal or expectation and so much more. Loss is a difficult thing to work through and your role as a supporter is both unique and vital.

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2 Teens Commit Suicide in MN

by on Apr.21, 2011, under Publications

2 teenage girls in Minnesota committed suicide over the weekend as part of a suicide pact

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News 8 Coverage from the Out of Darkness Walk

by on Feb.07, 2011, under Events, Publications

This is the coverage that was run on the news from the Las Vegas Walk for Suicide Prevention that was held at Lorenzi Park on February 5, 2011. There was a great turnout for the first AFSP walk in Vegas, and we raised nearly $12,000 up to the day of the event.

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Parents of Suicide Find ‘Immediate Bond’ in Each Other

by on Jan.13, 2011, under Publications

Parents of suicide find ‘immediate bond’ in each other

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
March 9, 2010 12:03 p.m. EST

This story started on
iReport CNN iReport

  • NIMH: There are about 33,000 suicides per year in the United States
  • Marie Osmond’s son, Michael, 18, apparently took his life last week in Los Angeles, California
  • Survivors say support groups, online networks, keeping busy help
  • Guilt often plays role in lives of parents of suicides, expert says
  • (CNN) — Margaret Pelleriti’s son Michael was a straight-A student in 11th grade. His mother didn’t know anything was wrong the day he took a gun to the train tracks and shot himself in the head.

    More than 16 years have passed since then, but she would not say she has “moved on.” She has found comfort in counseling and participating in outreach activities, but still mentally beats herself up sometimes.

    “You do take those steps forward, but something will always stop you, and you’ll go back to remembering,” said Pelleriti, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    “When I had heard about Marie Osmond’s son, I was like, ‘Whether it’s from the top of the pinnacle or to the average Joe, the circle goes around,’ ” she said. Pelleriti shared her story with CNN’s iReport

    Some suicide survivors said they feel sorry that Marie Osmond, whose 18-year-old son, Michael, apparently took his life last week in Los Angeles, California, does not have the luxury of privacy that they did while grieving.

    “I would hate to have to go through all of that with everybody looking at me,” said Diane Kasselhut of Louisville, Kentucky, whose son Chris died at age 23. Read her iReport

    There are about 33,000 suicides per year in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

    Parents whose children have taken their own lives say regardless of how much time goes by, they still feel guilty for continuing to live, or for being happy when their loved one is gone. The feeling of “What could I have done?” perpetuates this guilt, Kasselhut said. How to spot the warning signs of suicide

    Survivors, while they naturally grieve, should remember their child would have wanted them to have a meaningful life with minimal suffering, said Dr. Alan Manevitz, psychiatrist at New York-Presbyterian/ Weil Cornell Medical Center.

    “It’s important that they understand that the memory of the child lives on in the purpose of their life,” he said.

    Surviving parents say they feel a special connection to others who have lost children to suicide. “It is such an immediate bond when you meet another person whose child took their life,” said Patricia Pedigo-Dunn, whose son Allen passed away in October 2009. Pedigo-Dunn participates in the online groups Parents of Suicide and Survivors of Suicide. Suicide “adds another dimension to the grief,” she said.

    Read Pedigo-Dunn’s iReport

    Kasselhut has found comfort in sharing her thoughts and feelings about her son Chris, who died September 9, with support groups in person and online.

    “Writing about Chris and talking to others about Chris, it helps keep him alive, even though I couldn’t do that,” she said.

    Online groups such as Parents of Suicide have also helped Kasselhut see she is not alone in what she thought was “crazy” thinking, as survivors in the group have often had similar chains of thought.

    “Things like calling our child’s cell phone, and hoping [they will] pick up, or sending Facebook messages and expecting an answer, even though we know, of course, we’re not going to get one,” she said. “Someone else will say, ‘Yes, I’ve felt exactly the same thing.’ ”

    A parent’s reaction to suicide is distinct from homicide in which parents can direct anger at the perpetrator, or accidents and illness in which parents can focus on the randomness and unfairness of the world, Manevitz said. In suicide guilt plays a greater role. Parents question their role in their child’s death and try to find meaning in that, he said.

    There is also still stigma involved in suicide. Joanne Mazzotta — who has written an unpublished book about her son Danny called “Why Whisper?” — knows of parents who lie and say that it was a heart attack.

    “It’s a very, very big quandary of shame and silence and people are dying because of it,” she said. “I almost killed my own self.”

    Read Mazzotta’s iReport

    Linda Lafferty, who lost her son Mark in 2008, said going back to work — she works in a California state prison — was her salvation.

    “All you can do is keep busy, because if you let your mind think too hardly, or too sadly, it will drive you crazy,” she said.

    Lafferty said she hasn’t tried counseling yet, but has found great comfort in the online The Suicide Grief Support Forum. Pelleriti, on the other hand, believes counseling saved her life, and made her a more positive person.

    Read Lafferty’s iReport

    Mazzotta said it’s important to have the first year to process and reconcile what happened. After Danny died in 2001, she started a restaurant in his honor, but later sold it because it was premature — “I wasn’t completely healed yet,” she said.

    Moving forward after a child takes his or her own life is sometimes less difficult for parents who have other children, Manevitz said. Devoting themselves to the surviving children may help parents cope with the trauma, he said.

    Pelleriti said she and daughter Marlo bonded over the loss of Michael, and that Marlo helped her move forward.

    “I always feel that I had to go on for her. It didn’t matter for me, but I had to get out of bed for her,” Pelleriti said.

    It took her about 10 years to accept that her son is gone, and she still has moments of guilt. Still, her life has not stopped — she attained a master’s degree and is working on a Ph.D. in teen suicide. She also participates in suicide awareness and outreach activities.

    “If anyone is thinking, ‘Oh, I want to kill myself, I don’t want to live,’ I wanted to try to use myself as a block,” she said. “Look at me, this is what is left, to let someone realize that you’re leaving behind a real person that will grieve for the rest of their life,” she said.

    Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for more information on coping with the death of a loved one.

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    Ways You Can Help Someone with Depression

    by on Jan.13, 2011, under Publications

    Ways You Can Help Someone with Depression
    No author listed

    1.Remember that they cannot help being affected by depression.

    2.Encourage them to talk and listen to what they are saying.

    3.Let them know that you care about them.

    4.Stay in contact with them. Send a card, give them a ring, visit them in
    their home. Remember that depression can be a very isolating experience.

    5.Help them to feel good about themselves by praising daily achievements.

    6.Encourage them to help themselves by adopting self-help techniques.

    7.Find out about support services available to them and to you (self-help
    groups, out-of-hours emergency support, help lines, etc).

    8.Encourage them to visit their doctor, and ensure that they take any
    prescribed medication as directed.

    Source URL:,,20192853,00.html?pkw=outbr

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    When You Fear Someone May Take Their Life

    by on Dec.15, 2010, under Publications

    Most suicidal individuals give some warning of their intentions. The most effective way to prevent a friend or loved one from taking his or her life is to recognize the factors that put people at risk for suicide, take warning signs seriously and know how to respond.

    Know the Facts


    More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves are suffering from one or more psychiatric disorders, in particular:

    • Major depression (especially when combined with alcohol and/or drug abuse)
    • Bipolar depression
    • Alcohol abuse and dependence
    • Drug abuse and dependence
    • Schizophrenia
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Eating disorders
    • Personality disorders

    Depression and the other mental disorders that may lead to suicide are — in most cases — both recognizable and treatable. Remember, depression can be lethal.

    The core symptoms of major depression are a “down” or depressed mood most of the day or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyed for at least two weeks, as well as:

    • Changes in sleeping patterns
    • Change in appetite or weight
    • Intense anxiety, agitation, restlessness or being slowed down
    • Fatigue or loss of energy
    • Decreased concentration, indecisiveness or poorer memory
    • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, self-reproach or excessive or inappropriate guilt
    • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide


    Between 25 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves had previously attempted suicide. Those who have made suicide attempts are at higher risk for actually taking their own lives.

    Availability of means

    • In the presence of depression and other risk factors, ready access to guns and other weapons, medications or other methods of self-harm increases suicide risk.

    Recognize the Imminent Dangers

    The signs that most directly warn of suicide include:

    • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
    • Looking for ways to kill oneself (weapons, pills or other means)
    • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
    • Has made plans or preparations for a potentially serious attempt

    Other warning signs include expressions or other indications of certain intense feelings in addition to depression, in particular:

    • Insomnia
    • Intense anxiety, usually exhibited as psychic
    • pain or internal tension, as well as panic attacks
    • Feeling desperate or trapped — like there’s no way out
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Feeling there’s no reason or purpose to live
    • Rage or anger

    Certain behaviors can also serve as warning signs, particularly when they are not characteristic of the person’s normal behavior. These include:

    • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
    • Engaging in violent or self-destructive behavior
    • Increasing alcohol or drug use
    • Withdrawing from friends or family

    Take it Seriously

    • Fifty to 75 percent of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.
    • Imminent signs must be taken seriously.

    Be Willing to Listen

    • Start by telling the person you are concerned and give him/her examples.
    • If he/she is depressed, don’t be afraid to ask whether he/she is considering suicide, or if he/she has a particular plan or method in mind.
    • Ask if they have a therapist and are taking medication.
    • Do not attempt to argue someone out of suicide. Rather, let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone, that suicidal feelings are temporary and that depression can be treated. Avoid the temptation to say, “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.”

    Seek Professional Help

    • Be actively involved in encouraging the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
    • Individuals contemplating suicide often don’t believe they can be helped, so you may have to do more.
    • Help the person find a knowledgeable mental health professional or a reputable treatment facility, and take them to the treatment.

    In an Acute Crisis

    • If a friend or loved one is threatening, talking about or making plans for suicide, these are signs of an acute crisis.
    • Do not leave the person alone.
    • Remove from the vicinity any firearms, drugs or sharp objects that could be used for suicide.
    • Take the person to an emergency room or walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital.
    • If a psychiatric facility is unavailable, go to your nearest hospital or clinic.
    • If the above options are unavailable, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

    Follow-up on Treatment

    • Suicidal individuals are often hesitant to seek help and may need your continuing support to pursue treatment after an initial contact.
    • If medication is prescribed, make sure your friend or loved one is taking it exactly as prescribed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the physician if the person seems to be getting worse. Usually, alternative medications can be prescribed.
    • Frequently the first medication doesn’t work. It takes time and persistence to find the right medication(s) and therapist for the individual person.

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    An Open Letter to the Non Bereaved

    by on Dec.14, 2010, under Publications

    An Open Letter to the Non Bereaved
    By: Pat Moser

    Dear Family, Friends, Co-Workers, and General Public,
    I am a bereaved parent. My child died. My world has been “turned upside down”
    and I have been “thrown” into a world of pain and grief that I never even
    imagined could exist. The absolute “worst” has happened to me and my family. Our child,
    sister, grandchild has died. Close your eyes for a minute and just try to imagine
    your world as you know it and love it, being totally and forever changed in one
    split second. Imagine that one of “your” beloved children that you kissed
    goodnight last night,talked to on the phone yesterday or said “I love you” today
    as they walked out the door to go to their everyday regular activities DID NOT
    return home. Not today, not tomorrow or not ever! Just try to imagine getting a
    phone call or a knock on the door from the Hospital, Highway Patrol, Sheriff
    Dept. or anyone telling you that your child is DEAD. I am sure that you cannot
    even begin to imagine the horror of it.

    It did happen to me and my world that I knew and loved is no longer, I am no
    longer the same me that you once knew. I am no longer the same “me”
    that I once knew. I am faced with trying to learn to go on without my precious
    child. Where do I start, what do I do? Where do I turn? The pain is unbearable,
    the pain is constant in the first days, weeks, and months and, I am told

    I am consumed with this pain my every awakening minute. I cannot sleep at
    night; I cannot function at home, work or anyplace. I may put on a “good face”
    and tell you “I am fine or ok” but this is far from the truth. I am NOT OK or
    fine. Quite frankly, I do not even have the energy to tell you how I really am
    and there are really no words in any language to adequately explain the
    horrendous pain, grief or longing for my child that I am feeling. I am told by
    other more “seasoned grievers” who have also had a child die that “one day” I
    will not feel this constant all consuming pain, that I will find joy in my life
    again but that it is a very long and hard journey of grief to reach that point.
    I am on that long and hard grief journey “right now”. I am trying, and please
    believe me when I say I want to see the day when I can breathe and not feel just
    this over powering grief and pain.

    I tell you all of this because you can help me so much by just trying to put
    yourself in my place and understanding what I and my family are now faced with.
    You don’t have to have the “right words” to help me, for there are no “right
    words.” But you can give me your hugs, understanding, and your support by
    knowing that this “grief journey” takes a long long time and is not something
    that I can “get over” (I don’t have the measles) or “move on” from……..I have
    to go “through” this grief to get to the “other side” of it.

    Thank you so much for “trying” to understand.
    From Another broken-hearted, bereaved parent.

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    Teen Suicide Prevention Public Service Announcement from AFSP

    by on Dec.09, 2010, under Publications

    Don’t ever be afraid to tell someone that one of your friends has talked about suicide. Its better to have them angry at you then to not have them around at all

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