Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2 month mark My own personal struggles

So its been 2 months since her death. Before she died, life was so different. My life seemed so happy and all together. Every little thing mattered and every detail planned out. I had it all family, friends, new career, wonderful life. All my shit was as about together as you could get in my world. What I have learned is that life will never be the same and that it can change without notice or reason. Life means something different now. Things will never go back to normal. Even I can be broken beyond repair. I have always been the "Rock" for so many people throughout my life. Since I have walked in the valley of death, I bring courage, strength and wisdom...or at least I thought I had lived through the worst. I have survived and lived through anything that someone could throw at me. I was the poster child for broken shit to no fault of my mother and shit that was so fucked up it happened in the movies...from being molested as a child, to losing my dad to suicide, to losing a step dad to suicide, to watching my mother emotionally die every day while she tried to save my brother from cancer while having to leave me behind to no fault of her own; to whoever would take me,  to blaming myself for my friends death from a car accident, to losing my grandma who was the last link I had to my dad, to feeling abandoned as a child, to having family who turned on you with lies and stories that ripped your heart out, to being raped by a friend, to mental eventually physically being abused by a boyfriend, to being poisoned and starved almost to death, to being picked on in high school, to getting into fights, to drugs and alcohol, eating disorders, eventually feeling so worthless that I tried to OD on medication. I was given Paxil to cope and balance my moods. I didn't feel as though I had the right to live when every one that I loved left me in one way or another. I felt that I was being left on Earth to be punished. I felt alone in the world. I didn't want to die, I just didn't know how to ask for help or what to do help with the pain that I was feeling. I didn't think that others understood what I was going through. I had experienced more heart ache than one person should ever bare. As soon as I took too much medication, I reached out to my mother for help. I knew that I didn't want to die, I just needed to know how to cope, find hope, how to live with the demons. Since that day, I have not tried to take my life. I have been in and out of counseling all my life. I reach out to take medication when the need arises. I am very self aware of my limitations.  It took time to find a good therapist and I had to fire a few along the way but was worth the effort. I have overcome every thing that has been thrown at me, I carry each scar. I am not unharmed by any means. The wounds that I have carried for the last 34 years of my life have been very deep, some so deep that I have never told anyone about most of them until now. Even as I share the demons that attacked me the first 30 years of my life, nothing prepared me for the demons, I fight now every day. If there is anyone who has lost every thing and fought to keep everything, I would consider myself the winner of that sucky fate. But even at its worst, I was able to find some sort of good out of the fiery depth of hell that I was walking in. But nothing in 34 years prepared me for this night July 30th, 2015

Nothing would have prepared me for this fate. Nothing I have been through gave me any coping skills or life lessons that I could fall back on when you lose your child. After 8 weeks, things are still feeling like its not real. Most of the time you can trick your mind into thinking that she is just at her dads house or she is just busy with home work, but as the days turn into weeks, that day dream turns back into the nightmare that is your new reality. This new reality sucks. You can only trick your mind for so long...I find myself fighting with the school district about bringing awareness to others. Schools want to teach our children everything but how to cope and help themselves when they have exhausted all there coping skills. We as parents hid death and suicide from our children as its its going to protect them.  I find myself trying to explain to people who want to pretend like this could not happen to them, my life was a good life and my daughter was a good child, while they sit there and ask me a million questions as to why? So many times over the last 8 weeks, I get asked if there were signs that I missed... Do you know how that sounds to a parent to a mother who lost her child? "What did you miss?" Please put yourself in my shoes. I didn't miss anything because we as a society failed her. We as a society tell kids to hid there issues and there problems. We don't give teachers the tools to help them other than the basic core curriculum.  We as a society can talk about Cancer, STD, Teen pregnancy, transgenders, same sex marriages, but we are afraid or ignorant to talk about suicide and mental health. If you are afraid to have the conversation with your children or you are not talking about it, then you are part of what was "missed." That doesn't feel very good when I put it like that does it. Well it doesn't feel good when someone asks me what I missed as a mother. Suicide doesn't pick the family. Sara didn't choose this to hurt me or her family. She didn't know how to reach out for help. There are not always going to be signs and symptoms so its your job as a parent to ask those questions. You think its uncomfortable to have them with your kids, imagine living with the regret that you never did. Imagine having to decide if your child's tissue can be donated to help others or will you bury them or cremate them? My reply was "What the fuck are you serious? No you cant touch a hair on her head." is what I remember screaming in my head...the reality is that no one is exempt from this choice but you can play a huge role in bringing awareness and having the conversations that need to be having in the home and in the schools. The reality is that suicide isn't decreasing. It's increase by 500% in the last few years. Since 2011, it's only becoming more and more of an option for teens 10-24 years old. The reality is that its time to make a change in our future generations before there are less of them around.  As I live and breathe, I challenge you to make a difference. I challenge you to have those hard conversations, again and again. Having them one time isn't like a check list of one and done. Mental health is an on-going check up and check in that needs to be done. I challenge you to share my story on your facebook and get people talking. If you really want to make a difference, read and share my blog.  I challenge you to reach out for help if you to are struggling. Do not be silent. You are not alone. There are more people suffering from mental illness then there are people who are not suffering. Look around your work, your home, one in four people suffer at some point in their life. 

"Sadly, the vast majority of suicides result from underlying, untreated, mistreated, or unsuccessfully treated mental challenge---often including major depression. The stigma/silence that surrounds any constructive discussion about mental challenge provides the first strike toward suicide. Few want to admit to having mental issues. Even fewer care to discuss them. The second strike is born by the shame, humiliation, and/or hopelessness felt by the person with thoughts of suicide---and the desperate need they often feel to keep such feelings and thoughts secret. The third and final strike occurs when the person is unable to see any path but suicide to relieve their mental torment.

   Suicide is not about choice-it is about lack of choice. One cannot make a choice if one is unable to comprehend that a spectrum of other choices exists. It is not the case that those that die from irrational suicide make a bad choice, the wrong choice---a tragic, final “choice”---they simply follow the ONLY path they are able to understand that will end the mental pain they feel. Of course, we, as survivors, see the multitude of rational choices that could have been made.

   Bottom line--most suicides do not result from a ‘choice’--they most often result from an illness process that robs the deceased of the ability to make a rational choice. The deceased did not ask for the illness, nor did they understand or choose the consequences. Our society does not blame people who die from cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, liver failure, or stroke for ‘choosing’ their deaths. It is long overdue that the burden of blame, shame and ‘choice’ is lifted from those that die by suicide. Most did not want to die; they simply needed to escape from pain. Their illness prevented any glimmer of a choice." Al, Remembering Warren

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What are you afraid of

I just wrote my U.S. Senators to urge their support for the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act - S.1893. I hope you will consider doing the same. Visit 
to learn more and to take action! YOU TOO CAN DO THIS!!!!!! Everyone needs to take action. Please share this post and get others to as well. Time is now everyone!!!

Dear Senator Blunt: 

I am writing to thank you for co-sponsoring S. 1893, the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2015, and to ask that you please urge your colleagues on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to approve the bill during a markup scheduled for Wednesday, September 30

I am pleased that this Act reauthorizes important federal youth suicide prevention programs for states and college campuses under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, as well as approves a new mental health awareness training initiative that will help schools and emergency personnel recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and suicide risk. 

Additionally, the Act encourages expansion of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) to all 50 states, which would ensure the availability of complete, accurate and timely information used to design effective suicide prevention strategies. 

As a constituent who cares deeply about mental health and suicide prevention, I am asking for your continued support to win passage of the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act in the United States Senate. 


Allie Doss 
17205 South Prospect Ave 
Belton, MO 64012-2855 

Dear Senator McCaskill: 

I am writing to ask you to please sign on as a co-sponsor of S. 1893, the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2015, and to urge your colleagues on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to approve the bill during a markup scheduled for Wednesday, September 30

I am pleased that this Act reauthorizes important federal youth suicide prevention programs for states and college campuses under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, as well as approves a new mental health awareness training initiative that will help schools and emergency personnel recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and suicide risk. 

Additionally, the Act encourages expansion of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) to all 50 states, which would ensure the availability of complete, accurate and timely information used to design effective suicide prevention strategies. 

As a constituent who cares deeply about suicide prevention and mental health, I am asking for your support to win passage of the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act in the United States Senate. 


Allie Doss 
17205 South Prospect Ave 
Belton, MO 64012-2855

Monday, September 28, 2015

TO SM South on 9/25/15-No one has replied

Let me add that no one has replied to this email as of today. 

to ToddJoeErinBurveejohannafredenb.
Dr. Dain,
While I may not have a living child at Shawnee Mission South, I am part of the community and I grew up in the Shawnee Mission school district.  I have very strong connections within the community who are also wanting to make a change and they are just wanting to help. We have an opportunity to really make a difference not only in south but in other schools. I don't expect change overnight but I also struggle with students and parents reaching out to me telling me that they feel like their voices are not being heard and that they're being silenced. I know that you have received emails to include teachers. Since Tuesday I have been contacted by twice as many parents and children as I was prior. I have asked other parents from schools if they received any notification of Tuesday nights forum as you stated you did  and not one can provide me with anything that they were notified that there is an open forum. I couldn't find it on any district page either.  Even your sign outside of South just said parents forum 7 PM. It is been brought to my attention that the students who wanted to bring awareness to suicide with the school paper called the patriot received less than supportive remarks and statements from you personally in the school to include punishment for writing about Sara and suicide. I've heard that multiple students have gone to the social workers this week asking for help. Parents were not notified and the children were sent back to class ill-equipped and unprepared to face the world. I've heard that teachers were not aware of the open forum nor were they aware that they were the eyes and ears on the school. The fact that social workers solely relied upon them to identify at risk students however have received no training in order to do so. The fact that the social workers stated  they only present to the freshman class is a concern. I have received emails and text messages from parents and students stating that they are being told no they cannot do classroom projects or assignments on suicide awareness and that parents are speaking up stating that they do not agree with silencing the children. While am aware of the balancing politics and policies that you are dancing around, your student body is speaking up and begging for change. Recently in local news we had a transgender become homecoming queen and look how that school supported the situation. You had two suicides within six weeks of each other and instead of banding together like the rest of the world is doing, it is clear that the message we are sending from South is to be silent be ashamed hold it in don't talk to anybody go back to class. I hope to God Sara did not receive that same treatment last year if she struggled from social workers.  My mission is to help students and parents become more educated and understand the risks the signs and to be prepared for what could happen to them. Sara was more than A statistic in that school. Now I'm not sure what is true and what is false but I'm leaning after the multiple stories that I've heard that most of what I'm saying is true at least some form of it. I have parents students and anonymous teachers reaching out daily feeling hopeless ill-equipped unsupported. This is not a threat, this is a realization that something needs to change. there's a school board meeting coming up I plan on attending that meeting and I will voice and bring my concerns and I've suggested to all parents as well to go to the meeting to voice their concerns to make a difference because they don't feel like they're getting the difference from you or from the social workers. My daughter is dead there is nothing that I can do to change that or save her. But we have the opportunity to save the others in the schools that are struggling that are reaching out. I know that they're reaching out to daily to somebody for help and feel as though they are getting lipservice and smiles. Bottom line is that we are facing an epidemic where children are thinking that suicide is a coping mechanism. The experts said it themselves. Dr. Dain as you can see the student body, parents, and people of the community are trying to help and make a difference.  I  trying to balance how to help. I'm telling you honestly the kids and parents are not going to back down. The expert said it Tuesday night over and over and over again you can't plant the idea of suicide in a child's head they also said suicide is not a contagion as I was so inappropriately told in a letter. However not allowing or helping a child cope and silencing them and making them feel ashamed about how they're feeling will impact a child's decisions in life. Please provide me with some feedback and what interactions have gone on since last week's lunch and learns so that I can show the school children and parents maybe that there is a different side to the story.

Allie Doss

As of today 9/28/2015, I have received no reply from any of the people included in the letter above. 

For all of those who want to speak up to share how they feel about the schools actions or lack there of, I have made it easy for you.  Here are a list of email addresses. Unless you reach out, nothing will change. 

Joe Gilhouse-Above Principle
Jim Hinson-Superintendent- They dont answer my emails :)
Deb Zila-Board of Education South-

If we don't take a stand, these kill will not get the help they need. Stand with me!!! Be vocal. Help make a difference 

Letter to SM South and the Expert Panel

to megan.youngerchrisjoegilhausjimhinsonaskthedistrict
Good afternoon,

As the mother of Sara Prideaux, I want to thank you both Megan and Chris for coming to SM South. I wish I had more emails address so that I could personally thank every one for being there.  Thank you both for coming last night to speak to the school.  What you all presented should be done in an assembly where all the kids can hear as well as the parents. It should be presented at the next PTA meeting.  It was very valuable information and just might have saved my daughter had I heard it 8 weeks ago.  I would appreciate having the information that you gave out in regards to apps and phone numbers for kids. I need to be able to give the kids resources since the school doesn't appear to be giving them what they are asking for. I have emails and texts stating this from kids and parents as well as you were able to hear some of that during the forum last night.  While I understand that using the "After Suicide" kit is great but that is just like teaching a child how to swim after they have drown. Doesn't really do a lot of good. I will not sit idle by while the principle dances around politics and policies and our children are left feeling hopeless and killing themselves. I also wanted to share with you that I fact it was worse than I had thought last night, at least 5 kids and parents came to me this morning upset that they weren't told about the meeting, the school was hush hush, that they felt unsupported by the administration or they were told the meeting was about things happening in the school not suicide. I feel bad that you spent hours of your time for what seemed like no effort by SM South. Its tragic that more people were not included. Dr Dain said that he invited every school in SM district yet no one came to support it. I find that hard to believe. I recorded most of the event including where Dr. Dain said that they children knew they had support yet the students spoke up and said they didn't.I recorded where the social workers said that they only spoke to the Freshman class once a year about where the counseling office was. WOW once a year, they tell one class where help is located, boy are they opening themselves up for issues. So for the last year of my daughter's life she had no one to help her since she wasn't a freshman. I also recorded when the many students spoke up telling them that they didn't feel supported and he danced around the issue. I recorded when the social workers told the group that the teachers are there eyes and ears and that they don't have time to spend meeting with the kids, yet the teachers have no formal training to handle this.  I know that you met with many people last night offering suggestions and support. I appreciate that. I know that some of the experts also provided the school with free options and ideas which I would also like to be looped into what those are. When we head to the public forum at the school board, I would like to ensure that I know what my options are. Thank you for taking the time to listen to me.
Allie Doss

My blog below 

Joe Gilhouse-Above Principle

Jim Hinson-Superintendent- They dont answer my emails :)
Deb Zila-Board of Education South-

Letter from South Social worker recd 5 days after our daughter passed. 9/3/15

Letter we recd Sept 3rd from the school-Lets just say that it didn't go over well at all. "Due to the fragile nature of some of our students who are struggling with a variety of needs we have been highly aware of the possibility of a suicide contagion" So you want to call my child a disease? The last thing you should ever tell a mother who lost her child. Pretty sure they should pay for the additional therapy I am undergoing because of this letter. Our letter asked them what they were going to do to help the current students and what options were there out there to honor our child. This letter sent me spiraling into a depth that put me under safety watch which I am currently still under. My daughter was not a disease she was amazing and beautiful and smart. NOT NEGATIVE OR BAD!

Dear James and Allie,
We extend our sympathy to you and your family for the loss of Sara. She was thought of very highly at South by her peers and staff, and is missed greatly.

As you are aware, the discussion of Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and resources are a delicate balance of identifying and meeting the unique needs of our students here in the building and connecting them with outside resources for ongoing supports. This first month since the loss of Sara we have been diligent as a staff to identify at-risk students, as well as reach out to Sara’s closest friends in order to provide support, resources, and to create a caring environment.

Due to the fragile nature of some of our students who are struggling with a variety of needs we have been highly aware of the possibility of a suicide contagion. Thus the reason why we have delayed whole-group announcements/services until today. At South there has been, and will continue to be, a continuum of supports in times of crises to students, which may include: crisis response planning, individual counseling, resource sharing, and whole group assemblies, to name just a few. Again, it’s a delicate balance of when and how to deliver these services. We have the opportunity in September to further the cause of Suicide Prevention and Awareness due to the national platform. Small group discussions, ongoing training with staff, individual counseling, and resource sharing, etc. will be available for students and staff to learn critical information regarding warning signs, how to respond to a friend who may be thinking of harming themselves, and where to go to reach services. We will also focus on caring for oneself and each other in times of stress and crises.

We recognize that there are many ways to further the cause of Suicide Prevention and Awareness and the links you provided are ones that have been considered in our planning. It is always our hope that South High School is a community that is open to dialogue and learning from difficult and painful experiences. It is out strong desire to create an environment that supports one another in a kind and caring way, whatever the individual needs may be.

Thank you for reaching out,

Johanna Fredenberg and Erin Burve

Joe Gilhouse-Above Principle
Jim Hinson-Superintendent- They dont answer my emails :)
Deb Zila-Board of Education South-

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Teachers, Parents, Teens, Anyone who wants to really help

Good resources for everyone to check out-Don't pretend like it won't happen in your family. Learn the signs and give your kids the tools to help themselves and their friends. What have you got to lose if you do? I've already lost the ultimate loss anyone could ever lose. Break the silence. End the stigma. Please read, share, and share with your children. 

3. - the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center has resources on a more local basis

5. My3 app

6. Suicide Safe app - I would highly suggest that the MH Professionals in the school system take a look at this in terms of developing a safety plan with a student at risk for suicide. Might also be useful for school nurses. 


1. Sources of Strength - They are amazing people and are incredibly passionate about changing the culture within school settings to empower kids to help each other, help themselves, and ask for help when they exhaust their coping mechanisms. 

2. Yellow Ribbon - currently offer this to schools for FREE (If you are a parent or in PTA, this should be something you should try to get in your school, or pretend like suicide only effects other families)

3. ASIST - currently offer this for free as well. This would be primarily for educators, school mental health folks (counselors, social workers, psychologists), and staff.

Chris is amazing and passionate about making a difference. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Family that battled to save a son from depression

The day I died

The day I died…

The day I died there was no glowing light awaiting me on the other side
No calmness in my body to know I was moving away from this earth to a better place
Only pain in my chest that keeps getting bigger and bigger with every passing day

The day I died, no one wept for me
There was no funeral, no procession of cars to a grave site
It was just me, who was now alone

The day I died, my world will never be the same
It will forever be in my head and in the place where my heart once resided
That day will be relived over and over again until I can die once again.

The day I died, is the day you left this earth without me
They day you choose you had no other way out but this

That day will forever be the day I died too. 

Author-Jennifer Dilday 

If you wanted to support the kids at SM South who are trying to make a difference, Jason and I will be walking on October 3rd. We wont have the T-shirts that were designed for Sara by then, but you can wear purple. The kids are refusing to be silenced by the school. They are speaking up and trying to bring awareness even if it gets them in trouble. Last night I attended a meeting that was about suicide prevention and awareness. The Principle says that he invited all the schools in SM area including all the parents and students. He said that everyone was invited. Yet the school video screen that is located outside the building didn't say what the forum was about, only that there was a meeting at 7pm.  However I hear today that once again, the school failed to tell the kids what it was about and that it could help them. Shout out to the speakers who came. The speakers were amazing. It was very informative. I am so disappointed to hear from students that SM South is downplaying that they have lost 2 kids in 6 weeks and 4 in 2 years. I am disappointed that the kids feel like they have no where to go and that parents want to pretend like it can't effect them. Parents I suggest you start getting involved. We don't need them feeling hopeless or with lack of support. 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Out of the Darkness
Greater Kansas City Walk

Saturday October 3, 2015  -  Berkley Riverfront Park Kansas City, MO
Registration: 10am  -  Walk begins: 12pm  -  Walk ends: 2pm

Help support IGNiTE Club in the fight against suicide.

WALK with team IGNiTE:
  1. Go to or scan the QR code
  2. Click “Register Now”
  3. Search “SMS IGNiTE”
  4. Click “Teams” then “SMS IGNiTE”
  5. Click “Join our Team”

DONATE to team IGNiTE:
  1. Go to or scan the QR code
  2. Click “Donate to This Event”
  3. Search “SMS IGNiTE”
  4. Click the “Donate Now” button for any individual fundraiser of team IGNiTE

Applied Suicide Intervention Training (ASIST) 

ASIST logo
ASIST is a two day workshop for caregivers who want to feel more comfortable, confident and competent in helping to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Over one million caregivers have participated in this two-day, highly interactive, practical, practice-oriented workshop. Participants include but are not limited to clergy, school professionals, mental health professionals, law enforcement, etc. Participation in the full two days is required. Enjoy small group discussions and skills practice that are based upon adult learning principles. Experience powerful videos on suicide intervention. Feel challenged and safe. Learn suicide first aid.
For more information about ASIST, visit
Want to register? Contact Jenny Rodriguez to RSVP for future dates. 
Next ASIST training: November 16 and 17
For more information contact Megan Clark at 913-715-7880

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
Mental Health First Aid Logo
Mental Health First Aid USA is a live training program — like regular First Aid or CPR — designed to give people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to recognize and respond to the warning signs of specific illnesses. Mental Health First Aid teaches participants a five-step action plan, ALGEE, to support someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis:
Assess for risk of suicide or harm
Listen non-judgmentally
Give reassurance and information
Encourage appropriate professional help
Encourage self-help and other support strategies
See this brochure for more information.
Interested in a local training?  Contact Jenny Rodriguez to RSVP.