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Support for survivors of suicide

Support for survivors of suicide

By Nancy Price

In 2017, Johnson County’s suicide rate was 14.3 deaths per 100,000 individuals. Kathleen Ratcliff is working toward reducing those statistics by helping to form the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Johnson County. Ratcliff is a state suicide prevention coordinator for the Indiana Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council (ISPNAC).

The coalition, which began in May, recently hosted an event at the Franklin Branch of the Johnson County Public Library. The International Survivor of Suicide Loss Day is held at locations around the world, and this is the first year that Johnson County participated.

“The intent of the day is to help support survivors of suicide realize they are not alone,” Ratcliff said. “it’s meant to be right around the holidays to help individuals get through the holidays. It’s meant to be a day of healing and remember those who have died to suicide and remember and support those that are still here.”

For more information, questions or to donate to the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Johnson County, email Kathleen at kathleen@upstreamprevention.org.

What is your greatest virtue? I’m hardworking and persistent. If something needs to be done, I will work and problem solve until I finish it.

What upsets you? There are so many big problems to be addressed in the world that one person cannot solve them all. It takes all of us identifying what bothers us the most and work to address it. What upsets me is that I cannot solve all the things; it takes all of us solving the things that bother us, in order to make the impact we need to change the world.

What do you like best about Center Grove? We chose our house because of the community we felt, just when we were looking at the house. Parents and kids were outside playing, garage doors were open, it was a little neighborhood family and we love the “small town” feel of the area.

What’s your favorite Southside eatery? We love sleeping in on the weekends and catching a late breakfast at Yiayia’s House of Pancakes!

If you had to live anywhere else in the Metro Indianapolis area, where would it be? I sometimes wish we would have started our Indiana journey in downtown Indianapolis (in Mass Ave or Broad Ripple area), but now that we’ve lived in Johnson County, I don’t know that there is another metro area we’d want to move to!

If you could begin life over, what would you change? I believe that every decision we’ve made has molded us into who we are today – mistakes and all. There are multiple situations I didn’t handle with much grace, but I’ve learned from each of them, and each of them has made me who I am today.

If money were no issue, how would you spend it? I’d set up endowments for all my favorite nonprofits and causes, so they could have a safety net and a base of operating revenue in perpetuity. If I still had money, I’d then “retire” and become a professional volunteer and traveler!

What makes you happiest? Being in the company of people with whom I can relax, laugh and be in the moment without worrying about all the things that need to be done!

Pick three adjectives that best describe you. Responsible. Sarcastic. Nerd.

What is your favorite vacation spot? There are too many great spots to pick a favorite – I love traveling and visiting new ones every opportunity we get! However, we did just get back from St. Maarten, and it was gorgeous!

What do you do with idle time? I read – a lot! And take naps.

What would you change about our culture if you could? I wish everyone was more accepting of others and their differences. It’s what makes the culture ours; we each have the right to be our own person, and I wish that was universally celebrated and accepted.

How do you escape from reality? I read. It’s a great opportunity to take some time and enjoy another world.

What do you love most in life? I used to joke with my husband that my favorite person in the world was my niece. I now have four nieces and nephews, and I love them each to pieces! I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I’d like, so moments and memories with them are treasured!

What quality do you admire most in another person? The ability to be honest and admit mistakes or failures. It takes a strong person to admit when they’re wrong, but an even stronger person to share their mistakes with others so we can all learn from the experience.

What is your greatest extravagance? I haven’t put it into action yet, but I plan on getting a cleaning company to come through and help us keep up with the house in 2020.

What is your greatest fear? Drowning – if I can’t reliably touch the bottom of whatever body of water it is, I’m likely not in it!

What has been the happiest time of your life? I’ve had moments of personal and professional happiness and accomplishments, but I am a firm believer that happiness is enjoying the journey to get to those moments, not the individual moments themselves. I’ve not always been “happy,” but I think the ability to dig in and work towards those things you enjoy, understanding you have ups and downs along the way – that’s the key having the “happiest time of your life.”

Is there a special talent you really wish you had? If I can extrapolate this to having a superpower, I wish I could teleport places!

What do you most value in your friends? The deep friendships that allow you to relax and just be yourself, because we’ve all seen each other at our best and our worst and we still love us.

Which historical figure do you most admire? John Snow – not the Game of Thrones character, but the English physician, who helped track the cholera outbreak in London. He’s credited as being one of the founders of modern epidemiology, as he used reason and science to inspire fundamental changes that improved public health.

What tenet do you live by? The Veil of Ignorance social contract put forth by John Rawls (and others). Or simply, the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? Despite my biggest fear being drowning, I LOVE to scuba dive. It’s a lot less fearful to be in water where I can’t touch when you’ve got a tank of air on your back and the ability to breathe underwater – and it’s so beautiful!

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