Alternatives to Suicide - NAMI-NYC

Alternatives to Suicide


Many of us have devoted our lives to the shared goal of reducing the loss of our community members and loved ones to suicide. We have felt grief when protocols designed to predict, diagnose or control behavior have continually failed to achieve the life-sustaining communities that we dream about. We have witnessed in frustration the steadily rising suicide rates despite huge financial investments in suicide prevention efforts. There is now an international movement building to re-envision the tools and intentions we bring to dialogue about suicide. Join Sera Davidow and Caroline Mazel-Carlton to explore “Alternatives to Suicide” and how lived wisdom and harm reduction can provide concrete paradigm shifts to create a more liveable world.

  • Participants will be introduced to the three key paradigm shifts of the “Alternatives to Suicide” approach and empirical data that support these shifts.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least two ways that the lived wisdom of suicidal people can be introduced to responses to crises.
  • Participants will be introduced to at least one tool to re-frame conversations around risk in a way that better acknowledges the root causes of suicide.

How to Join

This presentation is offered through Zoom. You must register with a valid email address. This is because all the information you need to join – link or phone number to call in – will be provided via email. You will find that information in your confirmation email when you register, and in reminders before the event. If you don’t have an email address, call our Helpline at 212-684-3264 – we can help.

Please note that unfortunately we are not able to offer education credits or certificates of completion or attendance for our public events.

About Our Speakers

Sera Davidow received her first psychiatric diagnosis as a teenager, accumulating a handful more by her early twenties. That, along with a lengthy history of self-injury and emotional distress, led to her first experience being held against her will in a psychiatric facility at the age of 22.

Sera’s employment journey first brought her to a position in the conventional mental health system, but she soon found her way to peer-to-peer support communities, advocacy and social justice efforts. She has been a part of the Wildflower Alliance (formerly the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community) since its visioning process, serving as Director since it became funded in 2007. Through this work, she has gained a range of experiences including starting up a peer respite (Afiya), opening community centers, and producing educational materials (including co-authoring handbooks on peer respites and developing peer roles, as well as co-authoring two book chapters on suicide). She has also developed a passion for filmmaking, beginning with ‘Beyond the Medical Model’ in 2013.

Caroline Mazel-Carlton is a suicide attempt survivor who, since moving out of a North Carolina psychiatric group home in 2009, has worked tirelessly to create change in the mental health system and has developed and re-defined peer roles in a number of settings in the public and private sector. She has facilitated “Alternatives to Suicide” groups for over a decade and it is her greatest passion to forge connections based in deep listening and human dignity with people who are struggling to live.

In her current position as Director of Training for the Wildflower Alliance she has supported the development of the ‘Alternatives to Suicide’ approach on four different continents and has worked to make these paradigm shifts accessible to individuals in non-peer roles. Caroline has been featured in diverse media outlets such as Oprah magazine, Foreign Policy, the New York Times and Daniel Bergner’s recent book “The Mind and the Moon”.

Recording here – Presentation View

Recording here – ASL view

Recording here – Spanish View