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The Big "S"

Talking About A Hard Subject is Key to Prevention and Saving Lives

Article by JessicaRose Johnson & Heide Brandes

Photography by Provided

Originally published in OKC City Lifestyle

While for most of us, the holidays are a joyful time, for others it can be a period of painful reflection, sadness, loneliness, anxiety and depression.

And while suicide may be a scary and emotional word, the issue needs to be openly talked about—at this and any time of the year—says JessicaRose Johnson of Rosebud Consulting LLC, who on Nov. 15-16, will lead a two-day workshop in suicide intervention skills at Moore Norman Technology Center’s Straughn Center.

The Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training is hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project. Studies show that ASIST participants gain knowledge about suicide, skills to reach out and confidence to help save a life. 

“‘I’m not a therapist—what is it that I can do?’ I hear this a lot, and there are many things you can do to help save lives,” said JessicaRose.

How You Can Make a Difference

* TALK about suicide. Say out loud “Are you thinking about suicide?” Embrace the awkward feeling you have and get it out of your system. 

“Asking directly about suicide to someone who you feel may be thinking about suicide is the best thing you can do,” JessicaRose says. 

“You saying it first takes the pressure off the big scary ‘S’ word. It lets the person know they can talk to you. If asking about suicide can take some pressure of a person in crisis, I think we can all find it somewhere inside us to muster up the courage to say the word.”

* Keep things safe to keep those around you safe. Firearms are involved in almost 50% of suicides. 

“As a firearm owner myself, I know what it means to have something to keep you safe. Shouldn’t the item keeping us safe also be kept safe?” she said.

Many studies that show up to 50% of suicides occur within less than 10 minutes of the thought. Something such as a firearm lock or a medication lockbox could be just enough to pause the thoughts of a person in crisis. If you or anyone you know needs a FREE firearm lock, contact JessicaRose.

* Call the crisis line. Call and see what the process is like. That way, you know the process for when there is a crisis. Ask the crisis line worker what kind of supports or assistance they offer those who call in crisis. 

“Everything is a little scary the first time we do it, so calling when you are in a calm state of mind will help you and those around you if and when you need to call in the future,” said JessicaRose.

* Be honest with yourself.

“Listening to people’s hardest day of their life is not everyone’s jam, and I get that. I have taught many mandatory trainings in my life. Do your best to connect them to someone who is able to listen and talk with them,” JessicaRose said.

“Make a three-way phone call with the crisis line, or if in person, call the crisis line on speaker phone. Sometimes it’s just being the person to start the conversation for the person in crisis. Remember this is a scary time for them.”

* Take a training or attend a talk. Knowledge is power and can save lives. You never know who you will be able to help one day.

For more information, to sign up for JessicaRose’s newsletter, or to schedule a training or talk, please visit

  • JessicaRose Johnson

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