Suicide Survivor Stories
Wesley Jones and Salvi Cammarata are suicide prevention advocates, as well as suicide attempt survivors. In this session they will ask each other a few questions about their experiences with suicide to try and provide some insight on what it was like, and what they needed during that time of their life.
Wesley is a suicide attempt survivor who is passionate about the field of suicide. After attempting in 2016, Wesley launched the first support group for attempt survivors in western Canada. Wesley has volunteered for a handful of years with Living Hope, Edmonton’s Suicide Prevention Strategy on both the High-Risk and Steering committees. Wesley is also a part of the Peer Working Group, a group of peers looking to support peer work in the Edmonton area. He also co-chairs a suicide attempt survivor subcommittee under the PWG. Wesley also participates in the Roots of Hope roundtable in Stony Plain.
Wesley has done some public speaking around suicide, including presenting at last year’s Love Letter to Men. He has previously worked with youth in group homes, as a behavioural therapy assistant in schools, as a program assistant in an Indigenous mental health/addictions treatment facility, and as a board member in the non-profit sector. Wesley is currently happily employed by Imagine Institute for Learning as a program assistant.
Some recent accomplishments:
- Launching a drop-in, peer-led support group for attempt survivors under the PWG.
- Developing and piloting a course on skill development and personal growth for attempt survivors under the Wellness Network Recovery College.
Current projects include:
- Developing a course on theories of suicide
- A mini blog series on misconceptions around suicidal ideation
- Creating an experiential board game around living through trauma
- Writing a fiction novel based around suicide
- Developing a course on suicide for therapists and emergency room physicians
- Developing a course as an informal addendum to ASIST training
- Creating a preferred providers list for individuals struggling with suicide
- Writing a new theory on suicide
Wesley would be happy to connect with anyone passionate about suicide, and can be reached either through LinkedIn or by email at [email protected]
I have the privilege of facilitating suicide prevention training on behalf of Living Hope. This is very near and dear to my heart as I have lived in Edmonton my entire life. I also have a lived experience of managing bipolar disorder, two suicide attempts, many years of suicide ideation and self-stigmatization. I like to think of it more as a living experience.
My diagnosis came sometime after a major depressive episode and my first attempt. I was hospitalized for almost six weeks which included many electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments. My life obviously suffered shocks, both literally and figuratively. After my second attempt I was hospitalized again, went through five years of weekly group psychotherapy as an outpatient and frequent calibration of antipsychotic medications. During this time, I lost my marriage, a relationship with both my children, many friends, my career, my home, and my identity.Now after more than 22 years of soul searching and nearly ten years without an episode of mood cycling, I find myself an advocate for mental health, men’s health, and for suicide attempt survivors.
Today, I am blessed with having a very loving and supportive family who have encouraged me to reconnect with my children.I am currently involved with the Community Mental Health Action Plan and the Peer Working Group through the e4c Wellness Network, all while working for the Imagine Institute for Learning.
During the last four years I have been fortunate enough to provide QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention training and share my story in my attempt to give back to the community. I find this to be very cathartic as I continue with my journey. I cannot say that I am cured in any way or that I am certain I will never attempt again but I can say that I am presently thriving and, in my own personal way, demonstrating a living hope.
February 15, 2023