Suicide is a difficult topic, but one that is important to discuss openly and with care. Most of us have been affected by suicide in some way, whether from losing a loved one to suicide or from suicidal ideation affecting us. How can we help people and prevent suicide? We spoke with comedian and suicide prevention activist Frank King about his own experiences with depression and chronic suicidal ideation. He shares valuable insight and offers ways that we can help people to continue to choose life.
Watch our podcast with Frank King to learn more about suicide prevention:
Frank King is a comedian, speaking and TEDx coach, and a suicide prevention speaker and trainer. As a comedian, he has appeared on A&E’s An Evening at the Improv, Showtime’s Comedy Club Network, and CNN’s Business Unusual. He’s also written for Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, and Dennis Miller, and has opened up for Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Jeff Foxworthy, and Ron White. In addition to comedy, Frank coaches others in speaking and to prepare to give TEDx Talks. He also helps in providing the tools to prevent suicide.
To start our podcast, Frank shares his background to becoming a comedian and, later, a suicide prevention speaker and trainer. He reveals his path, including the events that shaped his younger years to his own experiences when he nearly died by suicide. As he describes, suicide may seem like a morbid topic for a comedian to choose for his shows, but it’s also a safe space to do so. He often gets heartfelt reactions after discussing it in his stand-up comedy, and he’s able to help others with their own suicidal ideation and with how they help loved ones.
Frank has been depressed and suicidal in the past. On our podcast, he identifies how he has used those experiences in driving himself forward.
Why do people die by suicide? What are some of the things that put people at risk of suicide? Frank explains the mindset of people who are contemplating suicide, and why death can seem like the solution to all of their problems. There are various factors that can put people in danger of suicide, including mental illness and bad life situations. However, anyone can be affected, even if their life looks perfect from the outside.
Frank also shares some of the warning signs that someone is contemplating suicide. One common sign is when they start giving away or getting rid of their possessions. Another sign is if they suddenly seem much happier than usual, especially if their mood is typically down; this can imply that the prospect of suicide has lifted a weight from their shoulders. Franks explains more on our podcast.
How can we as individuals work to prevent suicide deaths? What can we do collectively? Frank offers some valuable tips on how we can help people who are at risk of suicide. First and foremost, we need to get comfortable with talking about it and directly asking our loved ones how they’re doing and whether they’re considering suicide. It’s also valuable to be proactive with them; don’t wait for them to reach out to you if you’re worried about them.
We end our conversation with another under-discussed but important topic: suicide postvention. What is that, and what should it look like? Franks goes into detail on this at the end of our episode.
Get help for yourself and others. Listen to our podcast with Frank for a starting point:
Frank also welcomes phone calls if you’re feeling suicidal or need someone to talk to. Call him at 858-405-5653.
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