by Lisa Petersen
Director of Clinical Services, Stop Soldier Suicide
The harsh reality in suicide treatment is that the needle hasn’t moved as significantly as we would like. And there are some things we need to do in order to save more lives, faster.
It starts with what we consider conventional and what we don’t.
Most trauma treatments that are accessible and insurance-approved, are Evidence-Based Modalities (EBM). These approaches are an important part of the healing journey but do not encompass all that is needed, nor do they help every individual.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Every person’s trauma and healing journeys are unique. We have to consider the order and interaction of all modalities - including nontraditional ones.
In order to normalize whole-person healing, alternative treatment options must begin to exist in a more orthodox place. And with that, providers who use them must communicate their effectiveness to ultimately push for those to become accessible by insurance carriers.
Alternative treatments that have proven track records include functional nutrition and medicine, polyvagal treatment, herbalism, movement therapies, and understanding how to heal or reset energy frequencies in our body. All of these treatments are being utilized in some capacity and more and more we see clients seeking alternative methods when traditional approaches aren’t working fully.
The truth of the matter is that when we ignore holistic approaches - from diet, nutrition, movement, and more - we make an assumption that the journey to healing is linear, using one or a few methodologies to treat suicidal ideation and behavior. Actual healing looks less like one treatment, and more like coaching someone to healing.
Simply put, using one methodology is comparable to using touch-up paint in a house that needs a full renovation.
Alternative treatments are known to help others become more aware of their bodies and learn ways to protect and keep themselves well. All, conventional and unconventional, will assist in allowing people what they need to decrease suicide and operate as healthy whole beings.
Treatments are Normalized Through Data
And finally, if we, the practitioners, are to normalize nontraditional treatments we must gather data on said non-traditional approaches. Those of us in this space must start documenting best-in-class data-gathering techniques in order to communicate methodologies and effectiveness.
People can heal in ways they never imagined. I believe it because I’ve seen it. I’ve felt it. Healing is not a linear journey, and there are no one-size fits.