Trigger warning: This episode may include discussions about suicide, mental illness, substance abuse and self-harm. If these topics are sensitive to you, proceed with caution. It may also contain strong language and is intended for an adult audience.
If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988.
When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.
The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.
Veterans can now dial 988 and press 1 to reach the Veteran Crisis Line.
Suicide warning signs can be found at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website (Afsp.org).
Today we come together to connect and share.
Jean Mellano is the founder of the Touched by Suicide series & Steve Tarpinian's surviving partner
Michael Lovato is the narrator & a friend of Steve's who was deeply touched by his tragic suicide
Nicole DeBoom is the series co-collaborator with Jean, podcast engineer & interviewer
This project was originally concepted as a single episode podcast with the objective of destigmatizing suicide and mental health. It turned into a 10-part series plus this epilogue with a much greater message to share - that suicide is so much more pervasive than we ever imagined and that we are not alone in our suffering.
We learned so much through creating this series & we hope you did too.
In the weeks and months before he passed, Steve contacted several people that he was close to, but did not normally speak to on a regular basis. It almost seemed like he wanted to say goodbye, or "clean up his side of the fence" if there were any unresolved issues.
Everyone grieves differently. When a person is grieving one lost due to suicide, some loved ones may be unintentionally hurt by the actions taken by others who are also mourning the loss.
Adam Sud’s ("An Attempter" episode) quote "Suicide is not about someone trying to end their life, suicide is someone trying to end their pain" explains so much.
Kevin Hines ("A Golden Gate Jump Survivor" episode) had instant regret as soon as his hand left the railing. Did Steve have that regret before he took his own life?
As difficult and painful as it is to hear the stories of those touched by suicide, it helps us "get it".
It is human nature to be silent about the cause of death when it is suicide. This in turn propagates the stigma.
We combat helplessness by being helpful.
Suicide does not discriminate. There is no one profile type that can describe someone who may take their own life. People who die by suicide can be in the depths of despair or they can be at the pinnacle of their life (having it all).
There are so many who are silently suffering.
Steve’s legacy is helping others. He helped so many tap into themselves.
People cannot relate to mental pain like they can relate to physical pain.
We tried to finish the Epilogue on a happy note, but we were not able to. This podcast is not light listening and also is very painful for many to listen to. It was also very painful for us to create. In the podcast, Michael jokingly alluded to Steve's voice being not so great. To bring a smile to your face, click on any of these youtube links below to see Steve at his best - creative, funny and playful.
The Touched by Suicide Podcast Series demonstrates that there is so much collateral damage resulting from suicide. The interviewees bravely revealed their vulnerabilities and raw feelings. Hopefully, this project