Gigi Colombini - Clinical Social Worker

We recently had an opportunity to interview Gigi Colombini, a well-established Psychotherapist who has been working in the community as an expert in the field of suicide prevention.

"Once someone is released from a hospital, most of the time highly medicated, that's when my work begins."

Gigi spends much of her time meeting with people from all walks of life, both men and women, ages varying from early teenage to individuals in their 70's.

Gigi openly admits that there was a time in her own life she had wrestled with depression and suicidal thoughts. She has also lost close friends in her early life to suicide as well as family members.

The very passionate therapist offers up an insightful interview about depression and suicide in America.

Most suicidal people do not want to die. They are experiencing severe emotional pain and are desperate for the pain to go away. A suicidal person believes they have tried everything to stop the pain. However, the pain makes it difficult to think clearly, consider options or remember reasons to stay alive.

Seeking professional help is a big step towards beginning to ease the pain. Depression and anxiety are conditions that are highly treatable with therapy, and if needed, medication too. Suicide attempts are the sometimes-fatal end result of the diseases called depression and anxiety. No different than a stroke or heart attack being the sometimes fatal end result of heart disease.

The following are some risk factors that can indicate the need for professional help for depression and anxiety:

  1. Long term sadness
  2. Frequently crying
  3. Frequent anger outbursts
  4. Worrying or stressing over everything
  5. Sleeping problems (too much or can’t sleep)
  6. Poor appetite or overeating
  7. Drastic mood changes.
  8. Low energy or feeling tired all the time
  9. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  10. Panic attacks
  11. Irritability
  12. Restlessness
  13. Withdrawing themselves from activities and people they love

When you add several of those to the list below, a person is more at risk for suicide.

  1. Talking or joking about suicide
  2. Giving away things
  3. Drawing or writing about death
  4. Looking for or talking about ways to die
  5. Feeling as if they are a burden to others
  6. Feeling Hopeless
  7. A sudden improvement in mood for no apparent reason.

If you are concerned that someone you care for might be suicidal, it is extremely important that you ask them. Be direct. Ask "Are you thinking of killing yourself?"
"Are you thinking (or talking) about suicide?"

When we are direct in our communication a person feels safer talking about these really scary feelings. If we avoid using words like suicide, -the person could get the message that we really don’t want to talk about this. If someone trusts you enough to tell you they are feeling suicidal, they have given you a gift and possibly the opportunity to save their life.

Listen to their feelings, don’t minimize them, and don’t argue with them. Listen, then get them help. If you are afraid that your loved one will make an immediate attempt, call 911. Calling 800-273-TALK (8255) is a quick way to get information and help for someone who is having thoughts of suicide. Working with a counselor who is comfortable and familiar with suicide is an important part of moving from feeling hopeless with life’s situations, to finding hope.

We are thrilled to have Gigi on our team helping us with the film Death is not the Answer.