People who have experienced a suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts, or a suicide loss can bring critical insights about prevention. How can we think more broadly about lived experience as expertise and the different ways it can inform our prevention efforts? How does connection play a role in healing and recovery? Learn from our 2019 panelists how lived experience of suicide can inform prevention efforts in Wisconsin.

  • Objective 1: Enhance understanding about how thoughts of suicide are experienced by a variety of individuals who have made attempts.
  • Objective 2: Identify three things that attempt survivors identified as helpful to them during their suicidal crises.
  • Objective 3: Identify three things that that attempt survivors identified as helpful in promoting subsequent healing and recovery and three barriers to healing and recovery.

Panelists:

Gabrielle O'Neil is a dynamic speaker who uses her story, personality, and charm to connect with her audiences. As a speaker and educator, she is committed to continued education around mental health, substance abuse, LGBTQ+ challenges, and suicide prevention. On a more personal note, she is a writer, artist, life-long learner, and athlete. Gabrielle has a collection of experiences that are unique, giving her the distinct advantage of being able to relate information from a first-hand perspective. As a suicide attempt survivor, Gabrielle provides a unique outlook and offers first-hand knowledge. By being open and honest about her experiences, she hopes she can provide insight, offer support and help others toward a greater understanding of mental health challenges.

 

John Roelli has farmed in Darlington his whole life, raising cattle and crops. He has two beautiful daughters, Marta and McKenna. In November of 2017, John lost his three-year-old son, Adler, to cancer. In January 2019, he and his wife finalized their divorce. These are the reasons why John believes in seeking help for his mental health. Through his counselor he has not only survived these events, he is a better person because of seeking help.

 

Melissa Jasurda comes from a diverse background beginning in Milwaukee as a caretaker to her mother and grandmother. Her experience with suicide began at fifteen years old when her mother, who suffered from depression and was wheelchair-bound due to several medical conditions including polio, died by suicide. Melissa took her unique and sometimes difficult upbringing and turned it into a life goal. She earned a bachelor's degree in public speaking and a minor in family and health studies with a desire to build communities where people can forge connections to talk openly about mental health for the betterment of generations to come. Currently, she works passionately to help people with disabilities find jobs at the Dane County Job Center. However, she also attends individual therapy for continued self care is important and has attended a group for suicide loss survivors. Melissa personally has fought her own mental health battles, but she chooses to continue on for her two beautiful children originally for her fur "babies" after her 1st attempt to join her Mother at age 16. Melissa shares her story in hopes of inspiring others to get the support they need to live long and happy lives. We can end the stigma and change the way future generations care for the personal health.

 

Daisha Bischoff, a nineteen year old girl, brings her perspective on codependency and suicide among young adults. Her journey began as a child in a broken home with two parents in college. Her chaotic childhood combined with genetics set her up for an unhealthy mind and a lack of positive coping skills. At sixteen, she attempted to end her life and almost three years later, she couldn’t be happier to have survived. Through therapy and immeasurable support, she has found her purpose as the mother to two orphaned kittens, the “therapist” friend, and a beauty consultant with a passion for zit-popping. She hopes to attend an Esthiology program in the fall and eventually go to a four-year college for psychology. Her dream is to someday open her own counseling center--with cats and facials included--to help others just like her who need someone by their side helping them navigate through mental illness. Daisha’s goal is to shed more light on codependency and promote individual, group, and animal therapy as healthy ways to find support and positive recovery mechanisms.

 

Panel Moderator:

Terry (Bertha) McGuire, a former Milwaukee TV news reporter and anchor, lives with depression. After recently experiencing her deepest and darkest period of illness, she is combining what she learned from that descent, with her 30+ years of interviewing and writing experience to produce and co-host the Giving Voice to Depression podcast. Its weekly episodes are a production of Giving Voice to Mental Illness, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit she founded to fight the stigma of mental illness by humanizing its experience and normalizing its discussion. Terry shares her own personal story, as well as lessons from the hundreds of others she has interviewed on the subject. Silence promotes shame and discourages claiming our power and getting the help we need to manage depression. With humor and insight, Terry speaks of depression as one would any other illness. Because that’s what it is.