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Mental Illness & Suicide: Healing from the Loss of a Loved One

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Some might say, "cancer is a diagnosis; suicide is a choice." It's not that simple.
Air Date: 6/10/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Mary Jean Teachman
Mary-Jean-TeachmanMary Jean Teachman was born in Detroit, Michigan. She went to the University of Detroit where she studied pre-law and mathematics. She married and had two children, Arthur Forrest Tull II and Valarie Tull. She later divorced, was single for four years, married Mort D. Lieberman and was then widowed after 18 years of marriage. She found love again with Dr. Gerard W. Teachman and has been married for 23 years. She had a successful career for eight years as a runway and print model and appeared in Vogue magazine.

A longtime activist, she started and ran a successful campaign-RABAC: "Real Americans Buy American Cars” in the early 80’s. She distributed bumper stickers and gave interviews to the print and broad cast media. At one point, a representative from the Japanese government came to interview her because they felt threatened by this movement. Gradually the unions adopted the project, which developed into their “Buy American” campaign.

She was President of Groesbeck Investments for ten years and President of MIRA (Mental Illness Research Association) for three years and a board member for ten. In Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, she sits on the board of the John E. Upledger Foundation, an international healthcare resource center recognized worldwide. She was also president of the Juno Beach Chapter of the Florida Shore and Beach Association, a key player in the restoration of the beaches, and a major part of the restoration of the first beach renourishment in the early 1990s. She has been active in numerous charities, and has served as chairperson for many charitable events.

She and her husband reside in Juno Beach, Florida, and Asheville, North Carolina, with their cat, Jackson.
Mental Illness & Suicide: Healing from the Loss of a Loved One
Losing a loved one to a disease, such as cancer, is extremely difficult. But, in some ways, it might be more "understandable" to those who are grieving than if they'd lost a loved one to suicide.

Some might say, "cancer is a diagnosis; suicide is a choice."

It's not that simple.

Mary Jean Teachman's son was bipolar, but unfortunately was misdiagnosed. He got involved in drugs in high school, to try to deal with his condition.

After he was finally diagnosed correctly, he went to college and had a promising life ahead of him. Despite returning to the drug culture, he eventually got off of heroin and all other drugs and actually spoke to kids who were dealing with what he'd gone through.

Then, bipolar struck again. He became manic, then depressed. And then, Mary Jean's son took his own life with a firearm. 

She was devastated, as any parent would be. She was also at a loss as to how to come to terms with her son's absence, let alone how he left this world.

Eventually, after many, many years through Eastern philosophies and healing, Mary Jean found peace, joy, understanding, compassion and acceptance. Ultimately, she believes he went from a physical son to a spiritual son.

Listen in as Mary Jean joins Andrea and Lisa to share her own personal tragedy, how she found her way back from this horrific loss, and how you can learn to find peace as well.