Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio. And today my guest is Suzi Freeman. Suzi is a passionate advocate for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. And today we’re going to be discussing how she helps people who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts, uh, overcome those issues.
So welcome to the show, Suzi. I’m really glad to have you here. Hey,
Suzi Freeman: thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here. And leading into Suicide Awareness Month, perfect
Scott DeLuzio: timing. Yeah. So we, you know, we have, um, you know, this episode, uh, that we’re going to be talking about, obviously the topic’s going to be, uh, you know, around the suicide topic.
Um, and it’s just a, uh, you know, warning for the listeners out there. Um, that is kind of the topic that we’re going to be talking about. If it’s something that might be a little bit too heavy for you, you’re not really ready for that. Um, you know, we’re. Yeah. Perfectly okay with you, uh, tuning out this episode and moving on to, uh, the next one that comes out in a, you know, a few days.
But, um, you know, hopefully you can stick around and listen to this. I think it will be really beneficial for you. [00:01:00] Um, before we get into all of that, uh, Suzi, um, for the audience who might not be familiar with you and your work, what Uh, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Suzi Freeman: Yeah. So I really started in 2017, mainly that is when my youngest, sorry, my oldest son went into the military.
He left college and went into the Navy. And when I started joining some of those groups, mom groups and stuff, I started seeing how Often these kids are attempting, thinking about talking, dying by suicide, just in the military community. And I was like, you’ve got to be kidding me. Like I, I was terrified for that over anything else for my son.
And this was 2017. My younger son also had just entered college with the intent of being a police officer, which he is now has been for over a year. So knowing these about the boys, I was like, Ooh. Mom’s got to be ready, right? You know, you try to be as best prepared as you can for parenting. Um, this was not something [00:02:00] I’d ever thought about.
And, um, so I really did. I just dug deep, got prepared. My initial focus was military police, but, uh, working through some of that, I realized a lot of my own struggles with ideation, how that was not normal. It was not a normal way to think, you know, death should not be an option by you in life. And with that, it really just kind of, I don’t know if you, you know, entrepreneur, you know how it leads you.
So it led me to the path of younger, being a teenager, all of those things, having that mindset, having the mentality, modality, resiliency built in will make you able to handle. Heading into boot camp, heading into the academy, heading into college, whatever you’re heading for, it gives you just a better upper hand.
So that’s where I’m at. I sit in the teen space. I mentor teens. I teach modalities, um, ways, mental health awareness, emotional awareness, and hoping [00:03:00] that they’ll never ever get to a suicidal ideation point. I am also certified in Phoenix, well, across the nation. To train and certify people in QPR. So, um, it’s suicide recognition and prevention training.
And I do that for teachers and others that are required to be certified. And I just highly encourage it for people who have families in general.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think the interesting thing that I found with. You and your background is, uh, you know, how you first became aware of this by, you know, entering some of these groups with your, your children, your own adult children who are in military, the police force, um, and how you kind of like took a step back and said, well, you know, maybe if we have some kids who are more resilient, this won’t be as big of an issue.
going forward, right? And so if we can get those kids, you know, while they’re, they’re, they’re still young, their minds are still being formed and shaped, you know, opinions and thoughts and all this kind of stuff are [00:04:00] going on in their young minds. If we can tackle that issue early on and help them become a little bit more resilient, then maybe we won’t have these.
These big numbers of people who are taking their own lives down the road. And I, that’s why I think this conversation is especially important, especially important because, um, you know, we, we really do need to, uh, address the issue early on and, and not be, um, you know, just addressing the symptoms as they pop up.
Um, but I want to talk a little bit more about that in just a minute, but we’re going to cut to another, to a quick commercial break here. So stay tuned. So Suzi. In the intro, you were talking a little bit about your personal story or your personal connection to, um, you know, the, the journey that got you to where you are right now.
And, you know, obviously, you know, your, your children kind of opened up that door by, you know, going into, you know, the military and the police force. Um, But you had your own, uh, you know, issues as [00:05:00] well that you discovered kind of, as you were going down this, this path, could you share with us a little bit of your experiences that led you to this mission and how your, your struggles, uh, kind of fueled this passion that you have now?
Suzi Freeman: Oh, for sure. So if I really broke it down real quick as to when I realized, um, well, I guess, first of all, my very first thought. Thought was my early twenties. I remember vividly I was driving somewhere. I just was in a bad, abusive relationship. I was pregnant with my first child. She’s almost 29 now, and I remember thinking, oh my gosh.
It just, it would just be so easy to drive off. the edge of this road, the cliff. And since you’re in Arizona with me, you may be familiar on the way to Flagstaff, Bloody Basin, the road. Yes. I saw it and I was like, wow, how ironic. Uh, you know, but, um, of course then all the other things, Oh my God, what if I do?
What if I don’t die? What if it kills the baby? What if it paralyzed, you know, all this stuff, all this stuff that started in my twenties, right? Very early twenties. [00:06:00] Um, just going through life, there would be stints where those thoughts would come. during hard moments, then there’s nothing. I never threw the 45, 46 years cause I’m 49 now.
So in 2020, yeah, 2020 is when I really was like, Whoa, this has got to give, um, you know, studying through. So I was very good at preparing my estate, having things lined up. for the children, having letters written for them in case, you know, I passed or this, get them this gift, give them this letter, you know, advice, whatever I can leave behind.
When my daughter, um, was pregnant, it was Mother’s Day, Everly was due that July. So July 21, cause she just turned, uh, that Mother’s Day was a little rough. Not everyone around, I don’t know, whatever was happening, not really sure on that, but I realized, oh, um. When I started thinking like, how am I going to write a letter to my daughter [00:07:00] for her as a mom, right?
Um, that was so difficult because you can’t, I didn’t know if she’d have a special needs kid. I didn’t know if my daughter would struggle. with, um, you know, postpartum depression, anything, you can’t babysit through a letter, right? I can’t be there to physically support her, right? So all of that, it’s like, there is nothing I could write, nothing, for any of my kids at this point.
Now, it’s, I have to physically be present. So literally realizing that, holy crap, this is not, this isn’t just a thought or a fleeting thing. This is like a full identity that I had owned. I owned this as a full option for my life, and it was a comfort to me. It was like, eh, if stuff gets hard, I don’t care, screw it, I have this as an option.
Now, keep in mind, I never had a plan. There’s never a certain point I could go and go, Oh my god, yep, I had a plan on Tuesday, it was gonna be this way, [00:08:00] this route. No. It just is one of those things, when you’re ideating so much, the danger in that is… knowing and making a plan and thinking that it’s okay to be thinking this way, that it’s normal, right?
That when something really devastating or hard happens, you can flip like that, like so fast where instantly, if the means is there, you possibly would take your life because statistically they say it’s only. You need 11 minutes. 68% of people that want to attempt suicide will do it within the first 10 minutes.
Give 11 minutes, it drops to 2% actually go through with it. That’s insane. That’s insane. So I can honestly say that has, at times, saved my life. Because I did not have a gun in the drawer. I did not have a gun in my closet, right? I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t like, grab it, go. So. That has saved my life. But knowing that [00:09:00] I had to literally strip my identity as a safety net was, it was, it was really hard.
It was very hard. Even though I had been doing work and knowing this wasn’t a way of thinking, I never got so deep that I thought I needed to almost like remove it as a, a part of me. Um, so that was huge. Very huge.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. And having that, like you said, as part of your identity as like, Oh, well, it’s just that easy.
And I can just do that. Um, like you said, it’s a super dangerous thing to have as part of your identity because, um, because the more you think it, the more you start to believe it. And the more you start to believe it, the more you Easily and more readily available. That thought comes, you know, even, even the, the minor minor things that come up, uh, might just be like, Oh, well, you know what, I’ll just, you know, go that route instead of dealing with whatever this issue is.
And that, you know, that’s [00:10:00] not a way to go either. Um, like you said, uh, that’s, that shouldn’t be the default mode that you’re going to. It shouldn’t be a mode period, but, um, you know, especially not the default first thought, you know, um, now. As, uh, you know, a military and a civilian police mom, uh, you have this perspective, I think, on high stress jobs that, that may be, um, you know, a little bit different than, than maybe some other people, because you, you are now looking at both of your kids and, you know, I know as a parent myself, um, you know, my, my kids are still, you know, young and they’re, you know, teens and preteen years, but, you know, you look at them still as if they’re, you You know, the little babies that they once were, right.
And so, um, so looking at them now as, you know, adults, um. You know, it’s almost like watching a baby with, you know, uh, you know, camo, you know, on and, and all that kind of stuff. It’s, it’s not, you know, from a parent’s perspective, it’s, it’s just different. Um, you know, how does your role as a mother in, in this, [00:11:00] uh, you know, kind of influence your, your commitment to what you’re doing now with suicide prevention and mental wellness and all that?
Suzi Freeman: Um, you know, it’s, well, it’s like triple fold of importance for me to, to be ready. And I continue to tell the boys, Hey, you know, I don’t, and I know my boys, it’s my, I have five kids. The, they’re my only, the boys, the two in the middle that are doing these careers. Um, I, I know that they. We are careful in what they tell me because I do worry some, um, a lot.
I worry a lot less than I used to, um, but I have to trust them. Like Kobe had said, my police officer’s son, he’s like, look, you moms need to understand that first of all, you raised us, so you know what we’re capable of and who we are as humans. Secondly, you have to trust that we took our training seriously and we take our job seriously.
And most importantly, we as a human. Don’t wanna die. So trust [00:12:00] mom that when I’m in the field, I am doing everything I can to not die or get hurt. So he said, you can control that and you to sit and worry any mom to sit and worry about what we’re doing in the field. serves zero purpose. Right. So I was like, holy crap.
Thanks for schooling me, child.
That literally lowered my anxiety a lot. So all I make sure I do is that I stay informed. I Learn new modalities in training because I’m master trained in neurolinguistics. So working in that subconscious, releasing, um, traumatic feelings and things like that, helping them reduce traumatic moments. If you can catch traumatic moments earlier when they happen, they don’t sit and build up like a I’m sure you’re familiar with like kids or even yourself, something can happen, happen, happen.
And [00:13:00] like a big event will happen. There’s a reaction. Sure. But then a whole bunch of little things keep. And then finally, one, something stupid, a stubbing a toe or whatever, and you lose your mind, right? And you’re like, it was not about the toe stub. It was about the buildup.
Scott DeLuzio: It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Suzi Freeman: there are ways you can go in and reduce that and help. I mean, there’s lots of things people can do instantly. You know, if something happens in the field, there are things, even the Navy SEALs use them, certain types of breath work, certain types of, you know, tapping and things to help the nervous system calm down.
That’s what I’m here for. That’s what I continue to rhyme, rhyme my boys about. I’m like, you don’t need to tell me the trauma or the experience or the situation. You can just say, I need help. I can help you. And that’s what I’m here for. They know it. I continue to remind them, um, of that. And that’s the best I can do.
It’s the best I can do is just be ready. [00:14:00]
Scott DeLuzio: I think the advice that your son gave you too in saying that, you know, you raised us, you did your best with raising us and you got to trust that your best is good enough. And that, that’s going to be what gets us through. And so, um, and, and you’re right, you know, they, they’re not.
You know, putting on the uniform every day, going in to work or, you know, going out on a patrol or going out on, you know, missions, uh, you know, in the military, whatever it is that they happen to be doing, they’re not going out thinking, you know, I’m just going to be careless and, you know, who cares, let’s see what happens, you know, whatever, um, they’re going out there with self preservation in mind as well.
They, they don’t want to, um, you know, cause any harm to themselves or the people around them or, or anything like that. And so, um, you have to sort of kind of let go and just kind of trust that their training will be effective, that their life experiences up until that point will, uh, you know, guide them in the right direction.
And, um, you know, on occasion, um, you [00:15:00] know, yeah, maybe, maybe they get. you know, injured or, or something like that, that, that could happen, but it’s not anything that you can control. You can’t be there and, you know, be their bulletproof vest for them. You know, you can’t do that. Yeah. You know, so, um, but you
Suzi Freeman: do, you do have to adjust.
Yeah. Another mom advice was do not buy a police scanner.
Scott DeLuzio: No, don’t do that, please. No, I am not
Suzi Freeman: interested. Um, I will, I did want to say one thing when you talked a minute ago about how you look at your kid with their like military and camel of being a baby, you know, baby, if you will, I am not going to lie.
My son’s very, um, Coby, the police officer. He’s very adamant about like not, not a lot of pictures. I have zero pictures of that boy in uniform, except when I pin, my badge, pinned his badge. Um, I don’t, I saw him once out, um, he met me for lunch and he was in his car and it was interesting because he, um, it was at a mall.
He patrols kind of that area. So I met him at a [00:16:00] mall restaurant there. And as I saw him drive, I’m not going to lie. I tell my friends this and the moms get it. They’re like, Oh my gosh. So I see him coming, I’m like, Oh, how exciting. Like I actually get to see him in uniform. No pictures though. I know that.
And as he drives by, I’m not going to lie to you. I swear, as he raised up and waved real quick, driving by, he was five. It was like, I made it. Cause he wanted to be a police officer since he’s tiny. So it was literally like, there’s my five year old and his dream. And he was just like,
Scott DeLuzio: it’s like, you know, waving.
Waving to mom on the first day of school as they’re driving away on the school bus, right? I was like, this is
Suzi Freeman: insane, but it’s, it’s so fun. It’s so fun, I think, for me. Like I just recently told someone, you never, you don’t reap the rewards of being a mom until they become adults and you see who they are as a human on their own.
And holy crap, there’s just the fact that they’re happy in their careers. [00:17:00] I think that really helps too. You know, they’re happy. They genuinely are like, I love my job and I am serving my purpose. And that’s what I’m here for. teaching. You got to just, you want them to serve their purpose.
Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. We’re going to cut to another quick commercial break here.
So stay tuned. So Suzi, we were talking earlier in this episode about childhood experiences and, um, you know, kind of getting to kids early and helping them become a little bit more resilient. And hopefully that helps, you know, in the long run, make it so that there’s less people who are contemplating.
you know, taking their own life and that type of thing. Um, and I know like the impact of childhood experiences, maybe it’s a bad, bad upbringing, you know, parents might be, you know, crappy parents or, you know, maybe just a abusive environment that they’re living in, in general. Um, the, the experiences that kids have, uh, have a big effect on mental health.
Um, how do you incorporate your own journey, you know, things that, you know, kind of [00:18:00] happened with you and, you know, your experiences, um, you know, healing from. from different traumas to, uh, into your approach for supporting other people, especially, you know, some of the youth that you, you work with. Yeah,
Suzi Freeman: so that’s kind of where segwaying into the teens happen is if we can teach these kids, it’s not even so much about teaching resilience because you can’t teach resilience as much as that’s more of a skill you learn from them.
Learning resilience, you know, getting put through stressful situations, but what you can teach are strong emotional and things like confidence, um, self awareness, social awareness, all of those sorts of things will come into play, you know, having values, knowing your purpose, all of that stuff and where you stand and.
And understanding negative relationships, toxic things, you know, all of that, being able to make those choices and know when something might trigger you or when something has, how [00:19:00] you can get some help to reduce it. Kind of like when I mentioned real quick about the dryer. You know, if an incident happens, we want ways.
That we can reduce it, that we can deal with it better and not let it just fester. I want these kids to be able to recognize, Whoa! And not that you want to throw the word trauma around loosely, but, Whoa! That was wildly impactful. What can I do to mitigate how that’s going to affect my nervous system and my body later?
Because when we ignore these things, that’s when you get to the built up pressures and the, the stressors that are much harder. When you’re older, and I think then, um, it leads to options of, you know, not being good enough, not this, not that. So it’s really about building that as a human, understanding you’re good, you’re purposed, you’re worth, you’re valuable.
Those are the things that are most important that get us to a good, resilient mindset.
Scott DeLuzio: Right. And I think there’s a saying [00:20:00] too, and I forget who said it, but, um, there there’s the whole mindset is, you know, if you judge. Everyone, by their ability to, let’s say, climb a tree, you know, a fish is going to think that they’re worthless, right?
And so when you, when you, uh, when you take that mindset and, and, and realize that, Hey, I’m not going to be good at everything. I’m not going to be perfect at everything that I try, but I’m going to be pretty good at, at whatever my purpose is. You know, I’m going to find what, this is my purpose and I’m, I’m, you know, dedicated.
I’m passionate about whatever that thing is for me. Um, but it’s. It’s kind of about a little bit of self discovery and figuring out what is that purpose. You know, in your kid’s case, you know, they, they found their purpose on, on the, uh, you know, in the military and the police, um, you know, doing those types of things, that’s their purpose and they’re happy.
And, you know, they’re, they’re going to be more focused when they’re invested in it. And they, they know that this is where they belong and [00:21:00] they’re going to do. a great job. I have no doubt about that. You know, when, when someone knows that, Hey, this is my calling, this is my purpose, you’re going to do, you’re going to do great things.
Right. And I think that’s part of it too, is learning how to discover that stuff about yourself.
Suzi Freeman: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Just having that mentality, because I was really shocked at how many kids, males and females can’t handle being away at bootcamp. And let’s be honest bootcamp nowadays, compared to say when.
My friends went through it in the nineties. So if these kids can’t handle bootcamp right now, I mean, so, and it’s a lot of, a lot of things went into play being a lonely and away from home, not understanding and knowing how to deal with that. That you don’t, an 18 year old boy does not, or girl does not need to be crying because she feels lonely because she can’t see mom to the point that it’s debilitating and gets her to [00:22:00] leave the career.
That’s, that’s insane to me. Um, there are lots of things that can be done to build up for that. And that’s kind of where I say it’s very important to get them younger. Plus I, you know, I didn’t mention to you, I have 12 year old twin girls. When I started this in 2017. They actually, that same year, ironically, within about five months of me getting certified initially in my suicide training, prevention training, that’s a key word, um, all the time, um, one of them came to me and said, mom, what suicide?
My, uh, friend, my best friend’s brother tried. He’s 15. That was fourth grade. Fourth grade. So it’s, it’s out there. It’s everywhere. They’re tracking kids as young as 10. So it’s really an education and awareness around things. And, you know, teaching the kids that not everything is traumatic. Not everything is warranting a massive, you know, [00:23:00] sometimes you just have to sit in the crap feeling.
And that’s what it is. It’s not, poor you, it’s, yeah, that sucks, but you got to deal with it.
Scott DeLuzio: Right? That’s the saying that we had in the military. Just embrace the suck. Sometimes it’s going to suck and you just got to, you got to deal with it. And, um, you know, sometimes you’re going to be. You know, out and it’s going to be pouring rain on you.
It’s going to be cold and it’s going to be miserable and whatever. Like, okay, deal with it. You can, you can bitch and moan about it all you want. It’s not going to change anything. Uh, it’s not going to, the clouds are going to be like, Oh gee, sorry. I’m not, let me just move it over here for you. You know, make you your life a little bit more comfortable.
Like that’s not going to happen. So like, okay, it’s, it’s a crappy situation that you’re in. Um, make the best of it. Do the best that you can to make it. you know, whatever you can get out of it and make it the best that you can. Now you, you mentioned earlier, uh, you know, people who, you know, even from a young age are, you know, having suicidal [00:24:00] thoughts and, you know, even maybe acting on some of those thoughts.
Um, what are some tips that you can give to people who might. either themselves be dealing with suicidal thoughts or maybe know somebody like a loved one who might be struggling with, with suicidal thoughts, ideation, um, you know, things like that. Um, you know, because, because I know a lot of times people might just be sitting there and saying, I just don’t know how to help this person.
I want to help, but I just don’t know what to do.
Suzi Freeman: Right. I think first answering the question is if you’re thinking about them yourself or you really know somebody that is, um, And this is something I teach kids too. I think it’s important to have what you call a mental health buddy. Pay attention to your friends, pay attention to people, ask the question, um, how are they feeling?
How’s your mental health? If you notice they haven’t left the house in a while, go over there, make them take a walk. If it’s you feeling, you know, suicidal, it’s so important, and I know this from experience, to finally talk about it. Because mind you, in 2021, when it all [00:25:00] came out on me as well, I, my husband of 15 years and my best friend didn’t even know that I ever had these thoughts.
I was giving a speech and I was like, Hey, come, let me practice on you. And I just blurted through the speech and they both just sat there like, what? The minute I told them, um, my husband’s like, Oh my God, so many things make sense. So many things make sense and it was such a relief for me because now I could have the conversation and you would be surprised how many people, it’s not a weird thought to them.
It’s not. So just have that conversation. I hate to say normalize it because it’s not normal. We shouldn’t normalize it, but it should be an okay conversation because they need to be had. So I don’t care if it’s a stranger or if it’s a best friend, find somebody and have the conversation.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, and I think it’s normalizing that it’s okay to have the conversation, right?
Because, yeah, it shouldn’t be normal, like an everyday, you know, dinner [00:26:00] conversation that, Hey, by the way, this is my, you know, that, that’s not exactly, I think what the intent there is by that, but, uh, Having, like you said, a mental health buddy, someone that you know and trust that you can turn to and say, Hey, I’m having a rough time and these thoughts are creeping in my head and I, I need some help.
You know, can you, can you help me through this? You know, even, even just having someone there to listen to you, uh, could be enough to, to help you kind of get over whatever it is that you’re, you’re dealing with. But you know, even if that’s not, all that you need, that person can stay with you and give you, like you were saying earlier, give you that 11 minutes space, uh, between that, that thought and, you know, you know, hopefully, you know, keeping you away from, you know, dangerous, you know, guns and knives and pills and, you know, anything else that could be lethal.
Um, and, and maybe even getting you to a place where it’s safe, you know, make, Depending on what’s going on, maybe you need to get, you know, brought to a hospital or something, you know, [00:27:00] but, but bring you to a place that can help you. Um, you know, even if you’re feeling like yourself, you’re, I just don’t know what to do.
Well, there are people who know what to do and you can bring that person to those people. Um, you know, obviously you’re not gonna, you know, throw a bag over their head and throw them in the trunk and kidnap them, but you know, you, you know, get them to say, yeah, I did say obviously, but as I was saying that, I was like, you know what?
If. If it’s between that and, you know, going to their funeral next week, I mean, yeah, you’re going in the damn truck. I don’t care, you know?
Suzi Freeman: Yeah. When, uh, I think something that’s super important for people to know when you are going, let’s say it’s not you, it’s a friend or family member. When you are going to have that conversation, if you ask the question, you need to listen.
Like, do not interrupt them. Don’t compare your life story to their story. None of that. You need to listen to them. And It’s okay to say, Hey, I don’t understand what you’re going through, but I’m willing to listen and I am [00:28:00] here to help you figure it out. That’s honestly, that’s all they need. Somebody, what you have to understand is suicide isn’t the problem.
It is a perceived solution to a problem they have. So they just need a little bit of hope. It sounds cliche ish, but they just need to know that there is an end. Whether it’s you having conversation, you getting them help, they just need to know that. They, no suicidal person genuinely wants to die. They just don’t feel like there’s another choice.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I’ve even heard of the, these, uh, reports from people who have like taken a leap off of a bridge, um, you know, trying to end their life. And, um, and some of them actually do survive the fall. And, uh, when they, they talked to them afterwards, uh, so many of them. Realize like at that point of no return there, they’ve already left the bridge and they’re, you know, on their way down, they’re thinking to themselves, man, I wish I didn’t do that.
[00:29:00] And at that point it’s too late, you know, fortunately some of them did survive, but, and we’re able to kind of relay that. But, um, you know, Once when you hit that point of no return that usually there’s no coming back and you know, you’re you’re living with a Regret really and that’s not a place that you want to be We’re gonna take another quick break here to pay the bills here.
So stay tuned. Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On Suzy The stigma around mental health, uh, I think we, we kind of mentioned a little bit about, you know, normalizing the conversation and things like that earlier, but the stigma around mental health can be a barrier to some people going to even seeking help or even wanting to talk about it to anybody because, well, gee, I don’t want to seem like I’m crazy.
Maybe it’s the thought or, you know, I don’t want people to think negatively of me or whatever. Right. Um, how do you, um, Go about kind of breaking down this stigma, especially in communities like military or, or law [00:30:00] enforcement where maybe seeking assistance might even be perceived as a sign of weakness or, or even a, uh, you know, an issue with promotion, security clearances, that, that type of thing.
Suzi Freeman: Right. I know they say, Oh, it’s not like that anymore. And I think it probably really just depends on your job, but at the same time, let’s be real. If you have somebody who’s really ideating suicide, are you going to put them out on the front lines right now? I mean, probably not. So I think that there has to be some reality around that.
I do know that this day and age, there are so many resources that are untapped where people in fields like that, CEOs or, you know, military police, anyone in an area where they feel like their job could be in jeopardy, there are outside resources that are not traceable. So, um, If it’s really important, take some time and, and, you know, search that [00:31:00] out.
But I would never, never have that be a reason to keep you from getting the help you need, right? Because, I mean, um, obviously being alive today is better than not having that job tomorrow. So, um, I, but like I said, I really just think there’s a lot better job. It can, it can get better, but right now it’s much better in those areas with military police, other people acknowledging and accepting that there is a lot of things around mental
Scott DeLuzio: health.
Yeah. And I always look at it too, based on what you’re just saying there, like if take the worst case scenario, let’s say you’re a service member and you go to your chain of command and say, Hey, I got this mental health issue, or, you know, I’ve been, you know, having suicidal thoughts or whatever. And, um, And you go to your chain of command and they’re like, you know what we’re We’re booting you out, you know, you’re, you’re getting kicked out.
And that’s like the, I, to me, I think like probably the worst case scenario that people might think of. It’s [00:32:00] not something that happens as far as I know anyways. Um, at least not these days. Um, but, um, you know, let’s say that’s the worst case scenario. Um, and your unit’s going on a deployment and, you know, you, you want to be there with those, those guys to be there with them, um, but they’re going to kick you out and so you don’t want to go talk to anyone because they’re about to kick you out if.
If you go and talk to them, um, if you were to do something and actually take your own life, well, you’re not going on that deployment anyways. And so if you go and talk to someone, well, you may not go on that deployment, but you’ll still be alive. So like there’s. That side of things too, like you have to look at it that way.
Like you need to live to fight another day. Um, you know, maybe, maybe something bad like that happens, but you can always come back from that. You can’t come back from that permanent solution. Right. Sure.
Suzi Freeman: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, there’s, [00:33:00] there’s a million reasons why. And, and just so you know, and the audience knows, not all suicides or suicide attempts are because someone has a mental illness or because they’re wildly depressed or this or that.
Sometimes it’s like an acute suicidal, um, attempt where something just so devastating has happened. Maybe the, um, you know, breadwinner of the home has lost a very, um, important financial role in the house. And now that putting everything at jeopardy and stuff, there may not have been anything leading in that mental capacity up to that.
But now it’s just like, holy crap, there’s humiliation, there’s let down, there’s all these things that go through their mind. And they just, at that moment, feel completely worthless or useless or whatever it might be. And they feel like this is a better option, right? So it’s not always about mental health.
It’s really just about understanding that suicide just should never be an option. It’s the [00:34:00] only preventable death we have. It’s, and, and there’s no, it’s not prejudice. It’s not specific to a race, an age. It’s not, it’s, it’s here and it’s out there. And we need to do whatever we can for it. And like you said, there is no alternative worse than death.
Right. There’s none.
Scott DeLuzio: There’s none. Yeah. No, no, nothing is worse than that. Like losing your job. Okay. Yeah. That sucks. It’s probably going to have a hit financially. Uh, you know, like you said, humiliation, maybe you’re feeling let down. Um, you know, all of that kind of stuff probably is going to come up, but, um, you know, from.
So, doing this show, I’ve talked to hundreds and hundreds of people, many times, there are people out there who have like, I went through some awful, awful situations. But guess what? It brought me to something so much better than I could have even possibly imagined while I was in that situation that I thought was as good as it gets, you know?
And so [00:35:00] better things can come from bad situations. I’m not saying like it’s a magic cure, like go get yourself fired from your job. And you know, all of a sudden, this amazing job offer is going to be thrown in your lap, right? Like that’s not obviously what I’m saying, but, um, You know, good things can come from bad situations.
So, you know, like you don’t, you don’t need to just throw everything away just because of one bad circumstance or even two or three or, you know, dozens of bad circumstances. Good things can, can happen, but you have to also allow them to, you know, if you’re, if you’re constantly out, you know, uh, tying your own shoelaces together and saying, Oh gee, why am I falling?
Well, maybe, maybe partly you got to look at yourself and say, what are you doing? Right. And maybe need to fix something internally. But, um, You know, sometimes there’s, there’s just like opportunities out there that you just need to have your eyes open to. And you, maybe you just didn’t have your eyes open to them before.
Suzi Freeman: And understand that maybe you had to go through something for the [00:36:00] bigger purpose. Yeah. It might stink to think, Oh gosh, you know, I don’t know how religious people, whatever your beliefs are and stuff, it might be awful to think like. Well, why would God put kids into, you know, sex trafficking or something?
And then you get an amazing advocate out of it that changes the laws and changes the world on it, right? I mean, it may not have been the same if they hadn’t went through it. So just know that whatever you might be going through at the moment. There’s always a bigger lesson, whether it’s a lesson you can give your kid or a lesson for the next journey.
There’s always a bigger lesson in what you have. It might, again, embrace the suck, like you said, embrace it and figure out how you can put a positive spin on it. Just reframe that negative. Yeah.
Scott DeLuzio: No, I know that this show is mostly focused on military community veterans and people in that, that space. Right.
But I have to imagine that the impact of childhood experiences that we were talking a little bit about this [00:37:00] before, but the childhood experiences, the, um, the, the impact of those on mental health and, you know, their, their sense of purpose and wellbeing and, um, just their overall, um, you know, self confidence and things like that has an effect on us later on in life.
Like something that happened when we were really young could, you know, still be affecting us and our personality and the way we think of ourselves in our thirties, forties and beyond. Um, If we have more mentally tough kids or, you know, tough kids, kids that know how to deal with the punches that get thrown to ’em.
Yeah. Um, do you think that they’re gonna be better off as they get older, especially those in the military or For sure. Mm-hmm. responder
Suzi Freeman: fields? Yeah. I say, um, moms and dads need to stop stepping in as much as they do. Yeah, honestly, I mean, I watched my girls last night. They’re just like fighting and girls, you know, 12 year old seventh graders just loot.
And I’m like, um, [00:38:00] let them work it out. As long as no one, you know, we have to stop stepping in and coddling and fixing it and calling the school principal and getting them out of detention. They need to experience even if it’s Maybe not warranted. I used to get some punishment sometimes and I’m like, are you kidding me?
I didn’t even do anything. Well, okay, that’s part of it. Yeah, I mean, okay, that stinks. So what’s one detention? So what? Yeah, really?
Scott DeLuzio: Like so you lose an hour in the afternoon. Like, okay, go deal with it. Right.
Suzi Freeman: You just tell your kid, well, then maybe you shouldn’t have a friend like that. Sorry, you got pulled in.
Choose your friends better. There’s always a lesson to be had.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I, I was talking to actually my, my parents, uh, just last night and my mom was talking to me and I forgot how this conversation even came up, but, um, she was talking to us about how, when she was a kid, she started kindergarten when she was like four years old and they lived in a, A city and she had to walk like, I don’t know, [00:39:00] put 10 city blocks to get to her school from her house or somewhere around there.
It was like, you know, eight to 10, somewhere around there. Um, but she walked by herself at four years old city street, busy streets that she had to cross, you know, at the crosswalks and all that kind of stuff. These days I look around, school lets out, and there’s a line of cars wrapped around the block waiting to pick up their kids.
Yeah. These kids are not left alone ever to go figure stuff out. It’s like, Oh, always the solution is just handed to them. Yeah. And so, yeah, like maybe just let your kids figure it out. Um, I don’t know, maybe, maybe, is that kind of like along the lines of what you’re talking about?
Suzi Freeman: I would, I would say, and I’m partially guilty.
Um, you know, my girls, again, 12, they get picked up, even though it’s literally a mile. I think right now we’re only doing it because it’s just so hot. Yeah. You
Scott DeLuzio: know, honestly, I do say that and you know, we were both here in Arizona. [00:40:00] The weather is ungodly hot here sometimes. And so, yeah, maybe, maybe that’s just a safe
Suzi Freeman: walk a mile when it’s 120 at three 30, you’re kind of like, I can go get them, but don’t get me wrong.
I feel like the, um, I feel like it’s our responsibility as parents to teach and educate our children. Like I have conversation. This was a conversation came up the other day with the girls. I was like, okay, we teach our kids. Avoid the, you know, somebody pulling up next to you with the white van, right?
That stigma. I thought it, it dawned on me to teach the girls like, hey, if an Amazon vehicle pulls up next to you and like a bunch of packages roll out and they’re like, hey, can you help me? Are you going to walk over there? Right. You, it’s up to us as parents to teach that. I want to call it awareness, resiliency, um, just more awareness, right?
If we can teach these things to our kids. They can be left alone. I mean, heck, look at the Danish. Their kids, I didn’t even [00:41:00] think they’d come inside and play. They like roam for miles. And, and in Germany, I was shocked. My good friend, she’s German. They’ll leave their babies in the carriage outside the grocery store and they go in and there’s just a package of all these baby carriages and no one’s really supervising the children because the mom runs in, but nobody steals them.
They don’t have kidnapping and stuff. So I’m not saying be loosey goosey, but The problem is if you want to coddle and care for them and give them all the rides and stuff, awesome. But do not forget to educate them on awareness because there will be a time when they are not. And 18 comes fast. College, when you send them away, comes fast.
And trust me parents, when you get up to college, those advisors, they’re not going to let you in the room to talk to them. Right. You think they will cause you’re mommy and you’re paying the bill and they’re going to literally look at you in the eye and say, we don’t care. Your kid’s an adult. Bye. And you’re not allowed in.[00:42:00]
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And, and they’re going to have to figure it out at that point. And that’s, that’s kind of like just being thrown in the deep end and. No swimming lessons. No, Hey, this was an introduction to water over your head. No, none of that. You’re just getting tossed in. And, and that’s, that’s not a great place to be learning it, you know, right, right in the middle of things, you know, things that are relatively.
You know, safe and, you know, walking back and forth to school, it’s probably relatively pretty safe. Um, yeah, sure. You can come up with, someone’s probably going to reach out and be like, Hey, but there’s this one case where somebody was walking to school and this happened, you can come up with that with any scenario, you know, but you know, a lot of these things are.
Relatively safe. We do have to kind of let the kids figure things out on their own. And, um, and I think that will create tougher, um, kids who will be able to bounce back from some of these setbacks that they might, might experience, or at least have some street smarts. Uh, you know, like you said, Amazon [00:43:00] packages falling out of a van.
Like, no, I don’t, I don’t even care if they have puppies in the van that you’re, you’re, you know, like, no, you don’t go and help that person. Like that’s their, their issue. You’re not on the time. You’re not on the clock. That’s their, their problem, but what I
Suzi Freeman: do, it’s, it’s really teaching things like conflict resolution and stuff.
Let the girls duke it out. Granted, I’m not mean and like they’re in the throw and blows and stuff that’s not tolerated, but if they’re arguing and slamming doors and, you know, being pissed off girls, you do you later, we’re going to have a conversation when everyone’s.
Hey, how do you think you could have better responded or if one of them walks in a room and they’re like, it’s like, where, okay, how, where’s the benefit in that comment? What did you think was going to happen? Right? That’s bringing in that self awareness and teaching them conflict resolution, because those are the things we have to teach them if we want them to be better humans.
And that’s our job. We don’t want to raise assholes. That
Scott DeLuzio: that’s our job. [00:44:00] That’s true. Well, we’re going to cut to another quick commercial break here, so stay tuned. Well, Suzi, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on today, talking with you about, you know, all of these important issues, especially, you know, surrounding suicide awareness and, uh, you know, suicide prevention.
Um, where can people go to get in touch with you and find out more about what you do, uh, if they’re looking for some of the resources that you offer?
Suzi Freeman: Yeah. So best place is, um, on Instagram or my website, suzyfreeman. com and it’s spelled S U Z I for Suzy. And, um, keep in, you know, keep an eye on me right now.
I have September 1st since it is Suicide Prevention Month or Awareness Month. I’m launching for the whole month a huge campaign for fighting zero use suicide. So we have a little teen warrior boxes coming out. We’re going to be going into schools, um, sports groups and trying to train, um, over the next year, the goal is to train over 2000 students here in [00:45:00] Arizona.
So, um, you know, it’s great to have these conferences bringing awareness, but I think the thing that’s lacking is they’re not being properly trained. So, um, my goal is to get them trained. and get it done through utilizing my title. I have Miss Elite Arizona. My platform is Zero You Suicide. So that’s where I’m at.
And I would love for you to follow along, contribute to the campaign if you can, buy a box for a teen. Um, comes with some resources and all of that. I would love it. So yeah, JustSuziFreeman. com.
Scott DeLuzio: Oh, great. And I’ll have links to all of that in the show notes for the listeners who want to find out a little bit more and, uh, you know, help you out in your journey or, or even reach out for some support that you might be able to offer.
So, um, so we’ll have all of those links there for everyone who wants to take a look at that. Um, At this point in the show, um, I like to add some humor. Uh, I’ve been doing this for the last few episodes. I’ve been having some fun doing it. Um, typically I either tell a joke, sometimes they’re corny jokes, [00:46:00] sometimes they’re not the funniest jokes.
Sometimes they’re funnier in my head than, uh, they actually come out. Um, sometimes they show a video of people doing stupid things, whatever. But, um, but whatever, if it gets someone to laugh, I’m willing to make a fool out of myself. So, um, so I’m going to share a little joke here. gets a laugh out of some people.
Um, at least gets it, gets you to crack a smile, roll your eyes. I don’t care, whatever, as long as it’s brightens your day just a little bit. So it’s a military related joke. Um, one day during the Gulf war, an Iraqi general and his army were patrolling through, uh, kind of mountainous area and terrain. Um, you know, suddenly Over one of the hills, they hear a soldier, an American soldier.
And the soldier says, one American soldier can take out 10 Iraqi soldiers. And the Iraqi general smirks, and he sends 10 of his soldiers over the hill. Brief firefight takes place, and then everything goes quiet. And then the American soldier [00:47:00] yells out, one American soldier can take out a hundred Iraqi soldiers.
And the Iraqi general is impressed. So he laughs and sends a hundred soldiers over the hill to finish the job. A large battle is heard over the hill that lasts much longer than the previous one, but finally everything calms down. And then they hear a voice. One American soldier can take out a thousand Iraqi soldiers.
The Iraqi general is furious, sends a thousand of his soldiers over. Big long battle takes place. During the fight, a wounded Iraqi soldier comes crawling back over the hill towards the general. He goes, Sir, don’t send any more men. It’s a trap. There’s two of them.
It’s probably a long way to get to the end of a corny joke, but… Oh my gosh,
Suzi Freeman: doesn’t it make you wonder sometimes, like, who comes up with these things?
Scott DeLuzio: I don’t know. You know, sometimes, you know, I’m not, I’m not the, uh, the wittiest guy, so sometimes I gotta look up some of these jokes to fill up the queue of jokes here.
But, you know… It is what it is, but I kind of, I kind of [00:48:00] laughed a little when I read that one, so hopefully someone else does too. So, um, thank you again, Suzi, for taking the time to join me and everything, for everything that you’re doing, uh, with, with the work that you do.
Suzi Freeman: Thank you. I appreciate you for doing this.