top of page
  • Writer's pictureJessica Timmerman

J-O-S-H (Method to Reduce Suicide)

After you have experienced the painful departure of a loved one, you MUST consciously think will you roll with it or get rolled?

The thing is as survivors of suicide loss our loved one’s story is incredibly personalized and such distinctive intent should be paid to our special healing journeys.

If there were a one size fits all Band-Aid, we’d all sign the dotted line. For the loss survivors called to act, we must drum up our courage to honor those suffering the same feelings who can’t physically speak about the atrocities they are dealing with. My husband thinks I actively seek the saddest stories. I tell him suffering is part of our human design and maybe I’m just a nonjudgemental listener and the stories find me.

Suicide is not a new problem. 

A high school friend’s cousin with no way out after her sexual assault by a neighbor. A PGA golfer who hauntingly told the world his depths of despair. A Washington DC weather chopper pilot who was known in college as the life of the party bartender lost to his battle. And just last week a God loving, athletically gifted high school senior from a loving family succumbed to suicide on a celebratory graduation vacation. We’ve lost actors, chefs, and beauty pageant winners.

Suicide is rampant.

We can CHOOSE to get rolled (which would involve serious numbing and isolation; no thanks, been there done it and it’s another sort of hell) or we can roll with it (absorb the losses of others with honor and try to change the world for the inclusively better).

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.

But it is treated like a PROBLEM or nuisance. Our loved one’s pain may be gone but that energy (thanks Einstein) of suffering is transferred onto us. If we reframe ourselves as an authoritative community, we can learn a ton from others who have been marginalized. Communities left to struggle, without basic resources and are allowed to feel inferior or less than. If we look at suicide deaths as problematic, we lose the person and what they were uniquely grappling with.

Cause of death is one thread in a beautiful, quilted story…. Not the entire story.

This is 2024, LET’S GROW!! The secret keeping leads to dehumanization. Suicide is a death of contrast and hyperbole. How can someone like my brother, a guy defined by generosity CONCURRENTLY be the same guy causing so much hardship in his passing? I hypothesize (I don't have any stats to say proven) that there are four steps we could take that WILL SAVE LIVES. Not every life. BUT, if we expect people suffering clinical depression to take it an hour at a time, we have to start chipping away at this monstrous death total.

I call it the JOSH plan!

J…. JIFFY LUBE…. Name 3 people in your life you can call when you’re in the worst turmoil (i.e. imprisonment, fair, hell on earth) and re-evaluate every time you get your oil changed.

 *******These people exist in everyone's community. Let's take a high schooler for example. Teens flooded with hormones and not enough life perspective to know serious consequences. Life is about learning and making mistakes, whatever you think your parents will banish you for, there is someone out there that would happily pick you up, give you a tea before taking you home to talk to your parents together. Nothing in life is without redemption and it’s important to remember when you feel out of options, that your prescription needs changed not deleted. *********

O…. OBITUARIES…. We need to say SUICIDE in obituaries.

Talking of suicide does not increase its likelihood. TALKING OF SUICIDE DOES NOT INCREASE ITS LIKELIHOOD. When we don’t, people speculate and gossip, when we acknowledge it, we can move hug, pray, scream forward in hope. We remind people there is no guilt or shame in human experience. My name is Jess and my brother died by suicide. Said it. It was terrible, let’s keep going.

*******What is tested, is what gets taught. When we close the door on family matters, society suffers. After all, isn’t the silence the work of a manipulator or abuser?*******

S… STUDY…. We live in a three-dimensional world but what if the next dimension is connectedness? What if we all cared about every human a little more? Name it 5% more. What if when you only ate half your sandwich and you gave the other half to someone panhandling the corner?

Suicide is a community health issue and the more people trained (think neighborhood crime stoppers) the greater likelihood we can get an idealistic person to the appropriate service provider. We all need to love each other five percent more.

******Nick Howland has a program in NW Florida obtaining incredible reductions in Veteran suicide. I would challenge you to do his FREE online trainings and be a watchful eye in your community******


H…. HEALING…. Upstream prevention. Just as important as Math and English, kids need to learn age adjusted lessons regarding coping, abuse, addiction, interpersonal skills, and resiliency training. It is foolish to think nothing bad will ever happen to our youth. By ignoring the "hard subjects" and placating some false sense of “happy childhood” we are furthering their disadvantage for when adversity does strike. Kids today have grown up with the most technology, sometimes they think all answers must come from a textbook or Google.

The answer to how to get through hard things comes from us, the older generation that can talk openly about their successes and mistakes.

Emotion wheels are an effective tool when talking social-emotional health with your children. To take it a step further we should be advocating to our school boards and legislators that kids are the future and surround them with more mental health trainings.





(1)    Who are your 3? The friend, family member, or barista who will sit with you when you’ve lost all hope this quarter.

(2)    Sign up for Watch Stander Training Program and tell a friend about their proven results.

(3)    Look at your coping mechanisms and talk about what gets you through hard times with your kids.

(4) Program the Veterans Crisis Line number in your phone


bottom of page