The importance of suicide awareness can not be exaggerated. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and it leaves loved ones with more questions than answers.
Joining us on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected is Catherine Smith. She is Miss Darlington, and she is a suicide prevention advocate.
Key Takeaways from Liz's chat with Catherine:
• Hear Catherine’s background, and about the Miss Darlington pageant
• Learn why she became a suicide prevention advocate
• Find out more about Miss Darlington’s work as an advocate
• Discover the new mental health tool of “988” in South Carolina
• Hear about “Saved By Strength"
All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.
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DISCLAIMER: THE CONSULTATIONS OR INTERACTIONS OFFERED ARE NOT MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY. THE CONSULTATION IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND NOT STRUCTURED IN A WAY TO PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING/PSYCHOTHERAPY/THERAPY/ DIAGNOSING OF ANY KIND. YOU UNDERSTAND THAT CALM COOL AND CONNECTED IS NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION AS YOUR TREATING MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR, PHYSICIAN, ATTORNEY, LEGAL COUNSEL, EMPLOYER, MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. We offer no guarantees or promise of results from event nor assume liability for any information provided.
[00:00:00] Now more than ever. We have an opportunity to be a positive force in the world to help heal the divide, to treat each other and ourselves with respect. Well, there's so many tools out there from meditation to physical training, proper nutrition therapy, and so many others. We all need a little help navigating all the options.
Join us as we share in-depth information, insights and thought provoking discussions that will help answer your questions about how to stay calm, cool, and connected. During these times. Welcome to calm, cooling, connected your guidebook to peace of mind.
Hello and welcome to calm. Cool and connected. I'm your host, Dr.
Elizabeth. The importance of suicide prevention is something that truly cannot be overstated. That indicates that there are approximately 130 suicides per day in the United States speaking suicide, the 12th leading cause of death in the U S suicide prevention is a cause that is very dear to our next guest, Catherine.
She's miss Darlington 2022. And this year she's [00:01:00] representing her community in miss South Carolina scholarship organization. While also being an advocate for the American foundation for suicide prevention. I gather.
Catherine: Hello. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you
Dr. Liz: for being here. I'm so sorry.
I completely butchered your title, please share with us your title and a
Catherine: little bit about your background. Yes, absolutely. So as you have said, my name is Catherine Smith. I am the representative of the miss South Carolina scholarship organization. It's part of the miss America organization was the number one scholarship provider for young women in the entire nation with providing.
$5 million in cash scholarships and in kind scholarships across the nation to many women like myself. I'm a representative of miss Darlington. So I represent the Darlington community and Darlington county here in South Carolina. And so I've had that privilege and honor since November of 2021, and I'm looking forward to moving forward into the miss South Carolina scholarship competition come June.
And that will be in. Oh,
Dr. Liz: okay. Very neat. Well, [00:02:00] congratulations. That is amazing and amazing to be part of such a inspirational organization. Doing great things. Can you share with us why suicide prevention is such a personal cause for you? You have your own experience with this, which makes it so important to you personally.
Tell us more about that.
Catherine: So, unfortunately it wasn't something that was of my choosing my best friend, unfortunately lost his life and succumb to his suicidal ideations three months shy of his 18th birthday, which was my senior year of high school. And it's something that completely and utterly blindsided me as his best friend.
I talked to him actually 24 hours prior to the incident of him losing his life. And it was something that I never even saw growing up or even the day before he is somebody that was. Overly filled with life and comical and happy. And unfortunately that wasn't the situation that was at hand when it came to him, he was struggled with type one diabetes.
Ever since a very young age, he had a pump that was connected to his side. And [00:03:00] so growing up, he did unfortunately have some bullying incidences, but he was somebody that just really schlepped it up. His nickname was giggles because his last name was Diggle's. And so we always just thought of him as a positive figure in a positive light.
For us. And so it was just so uncom, unbelievably, heartbreaking. He ended up succumbing to suicide ideations. And we found out that he was struggling with depression. And it's something that is a silent killer, as they would say, unfortunately, and it's something that just broke my heart. And for that exact reason is why I'm an advocate and why I work with so many different organizations, such like the American foundation for suicide prevention and Naomi, because there is no warning signs.
And when there is warning signs, it's a crucial. Point to be able to provide resources and a direct line to help for those individuals who they, unfortunately don't succumb to their difficulties with suicidal ideations. Yeah.
Dr. Liz: Yeah, absolutely. I'm so sorry for your loss. That is so devastating. And, and as you're saying, when there are no [00:04:00] warning signs, it's really a blindside for everybody.
In their lives and that can, you know, it's a very traumatic experience for everyone. Tell me about your work as an advocate. What type of things are you doing to spread the message of prevention and really getting involved in this.
Catherine: Yeah, absolutely. So the American foundation for suicide prevention, as well as MHA, mental health, America national Alliance of mental illness, there's some, a multitude of organizations that can provide additional resources to those that are in need.
However, specifically, here in South Carolina, we have. Phone number that's going to be becoming active come June. It's called 9, 8, 8. So obviously the international or the national number of 9 1, 1 for emergencies is available for those that are in critical need of assistance and immediate responders that will now be available in the number of 9, 8, 8 come June.
I'm here in the state of South Carolina. So individuals that are possibly struggling with their suicidal ideations or that one report, an individual that may be struggling or that are in fear of their own lives due to [00:05:00] ideations, such as. Those that unfortunately have succumb to the, that they can call me nine, eight, eight number and be directly associated with a representative, a call line.
That's here in the state of South Carolina. I believe that we'll be having call centers and Greenville. Based on. Hopefully we'll be having one here in Charleston. That's where I am currently is in Charleston county for school, but hopefully we'll be having one of them as well. So then that way, those that are in the state of South Carolina that are struggling with their suicide ideations or that just really need additional resources to help them overcome this challenge and overcome.
Their boundaries with suicidal ideations, that they can talk to a representative directly and then be associated with the proper localized resources, such as a psychiatry a behavioral center or just somebody that's there to talk to them down from their issues that there's accompanying to.
Dr. Liz: That's such a great idea to have it just so precise and so easy to remember because we have the crisis numbers and the national hotlines, [00:06:00] but.
You have to look up those numbers and when you are in that state sometimes that's not going to be your first thought. And so to have something so, so easy to remember. That's I mean, such a great idea. You also have a platform's saved by strength. Is that correct? Tell us a little bit about that. Tell us the mission
Catherine: behind that.
Absolutely saved by strength essentially is just. Focusing on our strengths within ourselves. When we think of suicide, it's a kind of a stigmatized topic. It's a difficult topic to have, but when we focus on the strengths within us, sometimes it's really hard when we're in a adversarial situation or we're trying to overcome challenges.
I know right now I'm in my midterms week at Charleston school of law as a one L and I'm going through such a terrible time, trying to focus on my academics and trying to manage my social life and just things at home that sometimes. Stuck. And we focus on those challenges. We focus on our flaws. So rather than focusing on the things that we have succumb to, we need to focus on the [00:07:00]things that has provided us strength.
Whether for me, that's my religion and my faith. It's my relationships that I have with my friends, but also identifying what things. Have made me a better person. So that's community service. That's sharing my message and telling my story. That's my strength. And ultimately at the end of the day, when we do art, when we are succumb to mental illnesses or these challenges that we have to try to overcome, identifying those strengths essentially can save us an, a deviate us away from the negative situations.
What mental illness sometimes provides us. And especially within the realm of suicidal ideas. Sure.
Dr. Liz: And that perspective shift is so powerful. It's so easy to focus on what isn't going well or the frustrations in our lives that your attendance, or in your case right now, the overwhelming stress, I mean, in terms with law school.
Absolutely. But when we can shift the perspective to what's going well and looking at life in terms of gratitude and, and our strengths that can certainly. Just create a whole different feel for how we view life and view the people around us. [00:08:00] And.
Catherine: Absolutely. I've always said, is that the epic story of tomorrow can't continue if it ends today.
And that's the model that I live by with my saved by strength, social impact initiative is because if we continue to strive and we continue to identify what those strengths are and move forward with that, we continue our story. We continue that epic proportion of what we can accomplish. Who we can affect because you never know what each day in and day out is going to represent for you or what your story or connection that you have with someone can make someone feel and ultimately change their lives.
So by succumbing to our challenges, and so coming to the suicidal ideations that sometimes people are presented with you're ending that story and your story. Desperately needs to continue because you really never know who you can affect later in life.
Dr. Liz: Absolutely. Where can our viewers find more information on you or can you social media website?
Where can you be
Catherine: found? Absolutely. So as a millennial, I am also on social media, so you can find me. The Graham Atmos Darlington 2022 or on email@example.com backslash Ms. [00:09:00]Darlington, but also just I would love to say as well, is that if you are in need of resources or someone to talk to, please, please, please reach out to the American foundation for suicide prevention.
There's a numerous resources that are provided by partner organizations and partner chapters that would love to not only create more assistance, but create a more positive culture. So then Together we can combat suicidal ideations
Dr. Liz: Yes. Thank you so much for that information. So important.
Thank you for being here, Catherine. I appreciate
Catherine: it. Absolutely. Thank you for having me and thank you all
Dr. Liz: for tuning into this episode of column cooling, connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcast so that others can discover our content as well.
Thank you again for joining us on this episode of calm, cooling, connected.