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© 2019 by Paula Fontenelle



Understand Suicide is a space to talk openly about self-inflicted death with respect and no judgment. In each episode, I interview specialists, survivors, grievers, and individuals who have a story to tell in a variety of related themes: grief, mental health, warning signs, risk factors, youth, and most importantly, what can be done to prevent suicide.

If you have a story to share, please send me a message through the contact page and I will get in touch with you.

You can find my podcast in all major apps, just type the title "Understand Suicide" or my name "Paula Fontenelle."

Listen to my podcast
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Ep. 1 - My Story: In this episode, I tell the story of my father's suicide and how it changed my life.

Ep. 2 - Losing a daughter to suicide, interview Mindy: Mindy lost her daughter to suicide in 2017. She shares her grief process, what has helped her, rituals that keep her daughter present, and how her other kids have each dealt differently with the loss.

Ep. 3 - Religion and suicide, interview with Dr. Rand Michael: Dr. Rand Michael is a clergy person, a counselor, and was a professor for twenty-six years. In this interview, he talks about the importance of listening to someone's pain without judgment, regardless of one's religion or spiritual view on suicide.

Ep. 4 - Losing a husband to suicide, interview with Leslie Storm part 1: Leslie Storm knows suicide from both personal and professional viewpoints. After losing her husband to self-inflicted death, she became a grief counselor and a facilitator of suicide support groups in Portland, Oregon. She talks from the perspective of a survivor, highlighting the events that led to her husband's death to how friends and family reacted to it.

Ep. 5 - Grief counseling and support groups, Leslie Storm part 2: In this episode, Leslie Storm talks about grief counseling and support groups. She also shares the story of her own loss as a counselor, when one of her patients took her own life. 

Ep. 6 - Struggling with mental illness, interview with Doree D'Angelo: Doree talks about her life with mental illness and how it led her to suicide attempts. In the midst of her struggle, she found people who were understanding of her condition and willing to help. Doree brings a message of hope to those who are at risk for suicide.

Ep. 7 - My interview to Cynthia Boyd: In this interview, we covered quite a range of topics. Cynthia Boyd asked me about youth suicide: its causes, the impact of social media, and why it has been rising in the United States. We also talked about warning signs and what to do if you know someone at risk for suicide, especially how to listen to them.

Ep. 8 - Suicide in schools, interview with Marti Diaz Domm - Marti worked in the Oregon educational system for more than two decades. She describes how mental health issues are handled within the schools, the changes that need to be made so that educators are better prepared to deal with them, and she shares with us her own story involving a loss of a dear student by suicide.

Ep. 9 - Suicide warning signs: Knowing how to identify warning signs is the first step to save a life. In this episode, I give many examples of the verbal and non-verbal warning signs given by those who are contemplating self-inflicted death. After detailing them, I give suggestions on what can be done in case you believe a loved one is at risk for suicide, as well as the common mistakes that should be avoided so that such actions can lead to saving lives.

Ep. 10 - Helping suicidal people, interview with Khara Croswaite: Most of us have encountered a person who is contemplating suicide, but very few of us know that. In this interview, counselor Khara Croswaite Brindle talks about the common traits shared by those who are suicidal, how to approach them and build effective safety plans, and how suicidality shows up in the younger generations. Khara works in Denver, Colorado. 


Ep. 11 - Relationships and suicide, interview with Peter Lovenheim: Also, knowing you have someone to turn to in times of pain can be a healing experience. In this interview, the award-winning journalist Peter Lovenheim, author of "The Attachment Effect" talks about how early childhood bonds shape the way we relate to others. If you want to learn more about attachment theory, click here for resources.

Ep. 12 - Is it Grief or PTSD? Losing someone to suicide is a traumatic event, and trauma can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, but how can one know the difference? In this episode, therapist Casey VanHoutan explains how PTSD affects people, its symptoms, the various types of treatment available for patients, and how to address it without judgment in a society that tends to rush through trauma as a way to avoid pain.

Ep. 13 - The Us Military, PTSD and SuicideThere are many misconceptions regarding the US Military, PTSD, and suicide. In this episode, Timothy Wienecke - who was in the Air Force for five years and now works as a counselor - talks about the struggles surrounding the military community, how they deal with mental health, myths that need to be combatted, and how to support this population. 

Ep. 14 - Trauma and the body - We tend to believe that trauma is a "thing of the mind," but part of this experience is stored in the body. In this interview, I talked to author Danielle Rousseau, who teaches at Boston University and works as a counselor and a certified yoga teacher. She discusses the many ways in which trauma expresses itself in the body, how to treat it, and the benefits of adopting a holistic approach to trauma-informed care. Click here for more resources on yoga, including online classes.

Ep. 15 - He had given up - Steven Webb has lived a life of adversity. Some of the struggles he deals with on a daily basis would make most of us question the meaning of life, including being paralyzed from the neck down, having experienced a painful divorce, and bankruptcy. In this interview, we talk about the day he planned to take his life, and what made him change his mind. You can watch this interview HERE.

Ep. 16 - She lost her brother to suicide, then turned pain into healing othersMariangela Abeo attempted suicide at the age of 17. Her brother helped her then. Years later, he took his own life. In this interview, she shares what led her to a suicide attempt, the need we survivors have to break the silence surrounding this theme, and how her initiative has helped bring healing to those touched by voluntary death. You can watch this interview HERE.

Ep. 17 - Struggling with suicidal thoughts - Heidi Lindman has struggled with suicidal ideation since her teenage years, but she has found a compassionate way to deal with them. In this interview, we talk about when these thoughts first came up, their impact on her life, and how she has developed a relationship with them. You can watch this interview HERE.