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Addressing Suicide Prevention

Sharing my story to inspire others

By Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos
addressing suicide

Suicide has surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the United States, especially for cancer patients and teens.1,2 What if we could change that?

Integrative medicine expert Deepak Chopra, MD and a collaboration of mental health experts and activists have launched the Never Alone Summit to bring awareness and solutions to this detrimental issue which plagues all ages, sexes and socioeconomic levels. 

One of the many events taking place included a Facebook Live presentation on May 9, the “I Am Never Alone Global Summit” featuring 24 speakers including Marianne Williamson, Bernie Siegel, MD and Dr. Chopra, and hosted by activist Gabriella Wright and director Michel Pascal.

The call from Reverend Dr. Temple Hayes inviting me to be a part of this virtual event left me with feelings of both purpose and doubt. Why do I deserve this honor? Perhaps because cancer patients often have suicidal thoughts, and I’m a three-time survivor. Could I…would I…dare to bare my soul on a worldwide live-streaming event? The idea of sharing my dream about monks who saved me from myself was both invigorating and frightening. “What if they think I’m crazy and need to be on meds, not on their event?” I thought, but, graciously said, “Yes! Thank you.”

During my segment, one question asked was, “What’s your unique solution to help people feel better mentally and spiritually in life?” As a dream expert, my answer was simple, “Connect with spiritual guidance through dreams, prayer and meditation.” 

I went on to share my story…

When diagnosed with a 9×11 cm breast cancer recurrence, my fear of slow death, needles and hospitals made me feel trapped and I considered suicide. Then something miraculous happened. After crying myself to sleep, I had a dream. Three Franciscan monks looked down at me. “I know why you’re here,” I said. “I’m dying. Warn God that I have some big bones to pick with Him.” 

“Don’t you remember?” one monk asked. “Remember what?” 

“Before your birth, you told us you wanted to live when miracles were ignored and science was worshiped to prove that sometimes science only goes so far, then comes God. We said we’d be with you. You’re not dying.” 

“What the heck was I smoking when I said that?!” 

They laughed and walked out of my dream. That was 20 years ago.

Our darkest hour can be a defining moment if we realize we are not alone and choose to use our difficulties to help others. 

Suicide is a perceived escape for people feeling trapped and the second cause of death in America for children and adults ages 10-34.3 If you are in crisis, please call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273.TALK (8255) or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos of Rancho Mirage is a survivor, author, dream expert, speaker, TV/radio host/producer, and has been featured on Dr. Oz and The Doctors. Her interview can be seen at www.KathleenOkeefeKanavos.com. For more information on the Chopra summit, visit www.NeverAloneSummit.live

Resources:
1) https://www.businessinsider.com/suicide-is-now-the-number-one-cause-of-injury-related-death-in-the-us-2012-9;
2) https://europepmc.org/article/med/6678086;
3) https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml 

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