The conversation begins with Josh discussing how people want to avoid the topic of suicide like the plague. He lost both his paternal grandfather and then his father to suicide – and no one was allowed to talk about it in the house. He discusses the sense of shame that his father had about his grandfather’s suicide and how his father took his own life on the day his divorce from Josh’s mother was to be finalized.
In turn, as with other survivors, this increased the odds of Josh considering and completing suicide. Josh feels that knowledge of the facts would have helped him avoid his own eventual suicidal crisis.
Josh describes how he used work hard to avoid his problems, which resulted in a slow slide into clinical depression. This led to him considering suicide. His mother thankfully had the courage to ask him if he was considering suicide, and encouraged and helped him to find professional help.
Josh’s recovery process led him to the decision to speak out and help others get their stories out to the public, as part of a movement to prevent and recover from suicide.
After his father’s suicide, Josh created a one-man show entitled, “Kicking My Blue Genes In the Butt,” centering on his relationship with his father. He shares the impact that the interaction with the audience has had – not only on attendees of the show, but on himself. He now speaks between 35-40 times a year to survival groups, colleges and high schools, and juvenile detention centers.
In 2014, Josh launched The i’Mpossible Project, designed to encourage others to tell their stories.
He is also now working with venture capital firms and entrepreneurs on learning how to re-frame failure, along with his work with LOSSTeams and postvention.
Josh advises that coming out of the isolation by helping others can give purpose to one’s life. He describes the significance of each of us telling our story, and the fact that we don’t have to be a professional writer or actor to do so. Here are just a few of the projects that Josh has worked on to help reduce the stigma of suicide and help others in their healing processes:
- The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging with Life, Creating a New You
- Storytelling guidelines for more i’Mpossible stories
- The Gospel According to Josh
If you are feeling suicidal or need help for yourself or someone you know, please consult IASP’s Suicide Prevention Resources to find a crisis center anywhere in the world. In the US, call toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free suicide prevention service or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
Are you a survivor of suicide or a professional who works in the suicide prevention field? If you’d like share your story on our blog because you think it could help others or build connection and awareness, please feel free to contact Jennifer Rojas (our Blog Editor and General Manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org