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Humor Heals: A Kandid & Frank Chat on Depression & Suicide

This is a content trigger warning. On this episode, we will be discussing suicide and mental health issues like depression. Please, please make the best decision for your emotional and mental health when choosing whether or not to listen to this epis...


This is a content trigger warning. On this episode, we will be discussing suicide and mental health issues like depression. Please, please make the best decision for your emotional and mental health when choosing whether or not to listen to this episode. If you need resources or support, please call or text 988! Help is available 24/7 365!  Please take care of all parts of yourself. Thank you, and enjoy the show.

I was joined for this important discussion on depression and suicide by Suicide Prevention Speaker and Comedian, Frank King, aka "The Mental Health Comedian."

Frank has fought a lifetime battle with depression and chronic suicidality, and has turned that long, dark journey into eight, yes, eight TEDx talks and a wealth of insights on mental health!

The Stats:

The number and rates of suicides in the US has increased 4% from 2020 to 2021 after two consecutive years of decline in 2019.

  • In 2020 45,979  Americans died by suicide.
  • Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the US.
  • There is one suicide death in the US every 11.5 minutes.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans
  • There is one suicide death for every estimated 25 suicide attempts.
  • 11.7% of adults age 18 or over experience regular feelings of worry, nervousness, or anxiety
  • 4.8% of adults age 18 or over experience regular feelings of depression

Key Takeaways:

  • 8 out of 10 people who are suicidal are ambivalent, meaning they cannot make up their minds.
  • 9 out of 10 people give hints in the last week leading up to an attempt, which means the vast majority of people want to be saved. 
  • Suicide contagion or clusters, and it was defined as the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within a family peer group or through media that can result in increases in suicide and suicidal behaviors
  • "Chronic suicidal ideation" is rare and is defined as the option of suicide always being on the menu as a solution for problems large and small.

Top Warning Signs of depression:

  1. Eat too much, or can't eat
  2. sleep too much, or can't sleep.
  3. They have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, so they're often late for work or school, but they rally in the afternoon almost like a different person.
  4. They let their personal hygiene go.

Warning Signs Of Suicidal Ideation:

  1. They talk about death and dying a lot
  2. Death and Dying appears is a theme in their artwork of their music.
  3. Stock piling medication or buying a firearm.
  4. Getting their affairs in order, especially if they're giving away prize possessions
  5. They've been depressed forever and now they're happy for no reason.

What To Say to Loved One is in Crisis:

"Say I'm here for you and I mean it. I know you're not lazy or crazy or self absorbed. I know that depression's a mental illness. Here's the good news. With time and treatment, things will get better. I will take the time. I'll help you get the treatment!"

If they're an immediate danger to themselves or somebody else, you have to dial 911 and get them help!

If they're not an immediate danger to themselves, but they won't go seek help call 988, the new 3-digit Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the volunteer on the other end will help you the best they can to get the phone in the hand of the person who's in crisis. They will guide you about what to say and do.

Listen to the full episode for more ways to help a friend or loved one who may be experiencing depression and/or suicidal ideation and remember suicide is most often not about wanting to kill yourself but wanting to end the pain.

Frank's Motto:

"Where there is humor there is hope, where there is laughter there is life, nobody dies laughing."

Franks Contact Info:

http://www.TheMentalHealthComedian.com

http://www.instagram.com/mentalhealthcomedian

http://www.facebook.com/thementalhealthcomedian

https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankkingthemhcomedian

https://www.youtube.com/@frankking43

 

Intro Music: "Welcome to The Kandid Shop" by Anthony Nelson aka BUSS 

Outro Music: "Holiday Blues by Oya Thomas Copyright Spirit of Oya

 

 

 

Ase'

Kandidly Kristin

Transcript

Humor Heals w-Frank King Final

Kandidly Kristin: This is a content trigger warning. On this episode, we will be discussing suicide and mental health issues like depression. Please, please make the best decision for your emotional and mental health when choosing whether or not to listen to this episode. If you need resources or support, please call or text 988 help is available. 24/7, 365 please take care of all parts of yourself. Thank you, and enjoy the show.

Hey, hey, podcast Nation, it's your girl, Kandidly, Kristin, and this is The Kandid Shop, your number one destination for Kandid conversations. Joining me for an important discussion on suicide and depression is suicide prevention speaker and comedian Frank King, aka the mental health comedian.

Frank has fought a lifetime battle with depression and chronic suicidality, and has turned that long dark journey into eight. Yes, eight TEDx talks and insights on mental health awareness. So welcome, welcome Frank to the Kandid Shop,

Frank King: And I should tell everybody who's listening that you may hear some ambient sounds.

I'm at the airport. I'm wearing noise canceling, a noise canceling headset, but it doesn't cancel all the noise. Kristen, if you wonder, what's that noise? Are they boarding planes? Is that his house? What's going on? , he is at the airport.

Kandidly Kristin: Guy's going to do what he does best. Some comedy, so yes, but right now, On a cruise ship, y'all, what a life.

I'm gonna be you when I grow up, Frank, but we gonna have a Kandid and frank chat today. I'm a stats. Yes, I'm a stats girl. So I just wanted to throw out a few stats. So the number and rates of suicides in the US has increased 4% from 2020 to 2021 after two consecutive years of decline in 2019.

In 2020 45,979 Americans died by suicide. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the us. There is one suicide death in the US every 11.5 minutes. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans, and there is one suicide death for every estimated 25 suicide attempts.

And I also wanted to throw in some stats about mental health. So 11.7% of adults age 18 or over experience regular feelings of worry, nervousness, or anxiety, and 4.8% of adults age 18 or over experience regular feelings of depression. So those stats are, Not to me because I, mental health and suicide and depression is my thing, so they don't surprise me.

But that is a lot of people dying by their own hand. So Frank, could you just really briefly talk to me and my listeners and tell us who Frank King is and how you came to do what you,

Frank King: Before we do that we should give them the good news and here's the good news. Eight out of 10 people who are suicidal are ambivalent, meaning they cannot make up their minds.

Nine can give hints in the last week leading up to an attempt, which means the vast majority of people want to be saved. The vast majority of people can be saved. You can make a difference, you can save a life and you can do by doing something as simple as what we're doing right here. And that is starting the conversation.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely for that. Cuz those were a lot of depressing stats. So yeah. So tell us who is Frank King.

Frank King: Ninth grade, I told a joke, no, sorry. Ninth grade. I was nine years old in fourth grade. Told my first joke, the kids laughed. The teacher was so hysterical. She had to excuse herself to go to the teacher lounge, and I decided at that moment I was gonna be a standup comedian.

12th grade, there was a talent show and I won. Of course, the competition wasn't that stiff. There were international folk dancers and an accordion player, so it really wasn't a difficult win. I told my mama, I'm gonna be a comedian, and she said, son, you're going to college first. I don't care what you do when you get done.

But you're going to go to college first. I don't care if you become a goat herder, you're gonna be a goat herder with a college degree. So I went to UNC Chapel Hill, got a couple of college degrees, and then, um, my high school sweetheart and I moved to San Diego. I worked for an insurance company, started working right there for insurance company.

They had an office in San Diego and they transferred us there. And there's a comedy story branch of the World famous Comedy Store on Sunset in LA. And when I did my first open mic night, that was the beginning of the end of my insurance career and the beginning of my comedy career. I'm on stage doing my first five minutes on April 1st, 1984.

April Fools day was appropriate, halfway through my set. I heard this inside my head, you're home. And I made a decision at that moment that I was going to do it for a living. I had no idea how. And here's the deal. I've threatened for many years to write a keynote call. What could you do if you didn't know No better?

Cause I had no idea how hard it was. But I said to my girlfriend, now, my wife of 35 years. Nice. In December of 85, I said, look, I'm going on the road to be a professional standup comedian. Would you like to come along? Figuring she'd go, oh heck no. She goes, yeah. So we gave, yeah, we gave up our jobs and our apartment and packed everything into my tiny dodge coat that we could fit.

And we were on the road together for 2,629 nights in a row, 2,629 nights nonstop. No home. And we, I worked with Seinfeld and Dennis Miller and Kevin James and Adam Sandler and Ron White, Jeff Foxworthy and Rosie and Allen and Steve Harvey back when they were just comics on the road. It was an amazing time to be opened up for Lou Rawls. Two shows on at the hotel you'll never find  Know He has has Open up for Randy Travis One weekend, 5,000 people each night. Nice rush.

Kandidly Kristin: You used to be a writer for SN.

Frank King: No, I was a writer for, uh, the Tonight Show for 20 years for the Tonight Show.

Kandidly Kristin: So what was that like? Jay Leno was the permanent guest host for Johnny Carson, and Johnny would say it was staff on a Friday night “I'm taking next week off,” which meant Jay had four nights, Tuesday through Friday, he had to do a monologue each night. 18 jokes per monologue. That's a lot of comedy to write over the weekend. So he started hiring under contracts. Road comedians like me, submit topical jokes, stuff outta the n. And so I signed up and I was sending in 12 to 24 jokes Today.

I probably got one or two in each week. And then when he got the job from Johnny for real, he let most of the contract labor go, but he kept us on. Okay. And I rode that with him until he left for cnbc.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. All right. Listen, I'm a Tonight Show fan. My grandmother used to watch it. I've been at Tonight Show fan for a long time. So when did you,

Frank King: How old's your grandmother?

Kandidly Kristin: She would've been in her nineties if she was still living.

Frank King: Okay. I was gonna say, you said 65 and then I go, I could be your grandfather, .

Kandidly Kristin: Oh God. Don't make me laugh. So listen, Frank, how did you shift the narrative for yourself and in general around depression and suicide, and when did you begin to intersect? As a healing tool, a tool of awareness. How did that all come to be?

Frank King: I was on the road, I was doing standup and in actually go back in time when I was married to my first wife, I was married to my first wife in miserable. She's a wonderful woman, but we didn't belong together. We had nothing in common, but she let say opposite attract .

She was pregnant. I wasn't, and I was telling insurance, which I hated with a passion, and I was not going to open mic night because my first wife didn't like that. And that's when I had my first thoughts of suicide. I realized if I didn't, if I didn't start pursuing comedy, which is what I believed I was born to do, sooner rather than later, I was gonna kill myself. My second thought was I could divorce my wife, quit my job, try comedy. If it works, great. If it doesn't shoot, I can still kill myself. That's how I got into comedy. I had nothing to, that got me into comedy, and when I got into comedy, having seen. A lot of motivational speakers. When I worked in the insurance business, old school guys, Zig Zigler, Brian Tracy, Tony Alexander.

I thought to myself as I'm watching them, I could do that if I just had something to teach people. When the last recession hit 2007, two thousand eight thousand nine, corporate comedy business dropped off 80% overnight, and my wife and I lost everything we'd worked for in 25 years in a chapter seven bankruptcy.

Kandidly Kristin: Ok.

Frank King: And that's when I learned what the barrel of my gun tasted like. Oh wow. Spoiler alert, I did not pull the trigger. Yeah, a friend of mine came up after a keynote recently cuz he'd never heard me say I didn't pull the trigger. And he said this, Hey man, how come you didn't pull the trigger? I go, Hey man, could you try to sound slightly less disappointed?

Anyway, after that happened and when speaking came back, meeting planners and speakers grow, said to me, Frank, we love you, but can't pay you five grand anymore. Just jokes. You gotta teach the audience something, which I had secretly wanted to have something to teach the audience. I wanted to make a living and a difference, but I had no idea how.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Frank King: A friend of mine named Judy Carter, Judy Carter, wrote a book called “The Message of You Turn Your Life to a Money Making Speaking Career,” which is exactly what she'd done. She'd been a comic magician and then a comedian, and then a speaker, and she'd been doing it for years. And she wrote the book.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Frank King: So she said, Frank, let me send you a copy of the book. So I got the book thinking I got. About halfway through. Cause she walks you through the process of finding what she calls your heart story. Okay. Halfway through I realized, oh Lord, I do have something to teach. Because I looked at my family and their mental health status, more nuts in my family than in a squirrel turd.

And the fact that I came so close to killing myself and I live with two mental illnesses, I thought if I get some training in suicide prevention, I could keynote on that. I could make a difference. So I got the training now second. I've been a comedian for [25 years. Everybody in the conference booking business that I know knows me as a comedian, the funny guy, how do I rebrand?

And my wife said, famously, do a TEDx. And I said, famously, what's a TEDx? And she told me, and just by chance I got an email that week from a TEDx event in British Columbia saying, listen, we're taking applications, would you like to apply? So I did and I got it on my first. try and I went up on state at age 52 and nobody in my family knew. None of my friends knew. My wife didn't know that I was living with two mental illnesses because people with mental illness often are very good at covering up.

Kandidly Kristin: Yes.

Frank King: So I decided I would come out of the mental health closet on stage in the TEDx and I did. Yep. And the theme of the TEDx was start the conversation, break the silence, break the stigma..

So I was breaking my silence. I was coming out and saying, I have major depressive disorder and chronic suicidality. Okay. And a couple of other TEDx events, saw the video like my style, and contacted me and said, Hey, do you have any other mental health topics or different headaches topics? And I said, yeah.

So I got two more, and then that's three. And then the next 1, 2, 3, 4. I applied for the fourth one. I didn't have to audition. They liked the title and I did so much. The title was Suicide, the Secret, my Success, dead Man Talking, which is the story of how I got into comedy. They said, no, you don't have to audition, man.

We like the title You're on. And the fifth one was my favorite, which was Mental Health in the Orgasm. Treat Your Depression single handed. And you can imagine what it's all about and they love it. You don't have to audition, you just come on up. Yeah. It opens up like this. I love my iPhone, but I gotta tell you, it is my second favorite handheld device, And it was on from there. My only stand ovation!

Kandidly Kristin: Oh my God.

Frank King: First one, And I applied for and got, but they had contacted me to apply, so it's a half. My seventh one, I applied and got it, and my eighth one, the one I'm getting ready to do now. Okay. I have a huge presence on LinkedIn. I had a LinkedIn marketing company over a year ago.

In the last year, I've had 4.3 million views on my post. I come up high in the searches, so they said we, we saw your TEDx talks. You like the idea that you talk about. There are some positive aspects. Mental illness, they, what happened was I did a talk called the mental benefits, the, the evolutionary Advantages of mental Illness, because I kept bumping into people who had a mental challenge but had some other extraordinary ability, and I thought, this cannot be a coincidence.

I did some research and you get, if you look at the laundry list of politicians, athletes, movie stars, singers that have Kanye West. Okay, yeah. I'm not a big fan of Kanye, but. He is arguably one of the musical geniuses of his generation. Too bad, not also a PR genius, but he, but yeah, he lives with bipolar disorder, so yes, they like the fact that I talked about, so my eighth TEDx talk is called, I'm Not Broken, I was made this way.

And the premise is, I believe my depression and thoughts of suicide are simply the flip side of. Comedic ability, imagination, and creativity. It's the same brain, so it's gotta be part and parcel of the same thing. So that's what they really was. They said, nobody ever talks about the positive aspects of mental illness, except you. That's how I got the eighth one.

Kandidly Kristin: Let me ask you this, how do the people at large and in general, Take to your comedic stance on, I'm doing air quotes, such a serious topic as mental health and suicide. Have you found people open to it?

Frank King: Not only open to it, they booked me because of it. I got a call from a speakers bureau this week and the Montana Hospital Association wanted a suicide prevention speaker, and they thought a little comic relief would be great, and somebody goes, Hey, there's a mental health comedian.

So they contacted the speakers bureau and said, we want Frank King.

Kandidly Kristin: Nice.

Frank King: And so they booked me, not only because I'm a suicide prevention speaker and I have the lived experience with mental illness, right. But also that I have funny personal anecdotes. A guy called me the other day and he goes, “Frank, I'm sorry I called you late. I didn't mean to leave you hanging.” I said, “Would you like to rephrase that ? “

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. And you know what? Even while you're talking and I'm laughing, I'm thinking, oh, this is not funny, but it is. So how much of a role do you believe personally that mental health issues play in actual suicides or attempted suicides? Is it a big role, a small role, or is suicide something that stands alone irrespective of mental health issues?

Frank King: No, it is. It is. Most often, I think the number one cause of suicides at the heart of a suicide is depression, and the depressive phase of bipolar disorder is even more dangerous than garden variety depression.

Okay, now there are people who, what they call situationally, they get situationally depressed because of a bankruptcy or a divorce, or flung another college. And so there's no mental, there's no mental, no diagnosed mental illness involved. They just decide, I, I can't go on. Right? So there's a slice of it where it's simply situational and impulse, impulse driven, and they take their lives.

Kandidly Kristin: I was doing my research and stuff, trying to prep for this chat, and I came across a term that I had never heard before, and I'm not often stumped by words, suicide contagion, and it was defined as the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within a family peer group or through media that can result in increases in suicide and suicidal behaviors. I had never, ever heard that term.

Frank King: Yeah, they call 'em suicide clusters, and you often see it say in high school where one person, young person dies by suicide and then all of a sudden, two within three. In my family I was when my mother and I found my great-aunt and she died by suicide. And the story is, I'll tell you the story, but you need to warn the listeners.

It is horror movie. Horrible. Okay. If you're that close to an actual suicide, and when you hear the story, you'll think you couldn't have gotten much closer. The chances of you seriously considering taking your life later in your life go up. Wow. You're already hardwired for it and you're close to a suicide like that.

And sure enough, it was situational in that we filed bankruptcy in, in, in, maybe I told you, in suicidality, one of the three legs of the three legged stool of suicidality. Something called burdensomeness. The world would be better off without me. And I knew that I had a million dollar life insurance policy and that my wife, I could restore her financially, so she would be broken hearted, but she would certainly be financially better off.

I was worth more dead than alive. Okay. That's why I was considering taking my life. Yeah. And if, like I said, in a school or in a community, if someone dies by suicide, it's don't think that there's a correlation or causation.

Kandidly Kristin: Right.

Frank King: Maybe a correlation. Certainly a connection. If somebody does it. And if you're a young person, somebody doesn't get a great deal of attention.

There is some science that makes it easier, more attractive for the next young person to do that. So not all the jury's not in on all of that yet, but there is some connection somewhere.

Kandidly Kristin: So is there a genetic predisposition for suicide? Is it inherited or hereditary?

Frank King: You're listening to 'em.  Yes. In my family it's generational depression and suicide. And I've got a friend who's a therapist. She has a client where a suicide goes back five generations.

Kandidly Kristin: Wow.

Frank King: Now here's the thing. DNA is not necessarily destiny, right? Just because you have it in your DNA doesn't mean you're gonna die by suicide, just high cholesterol, just cause your folks passed on high cholesterol, you and maybe your folks have heart diseases. There are things you can do. Live a healthy lifestyle. Yeah. And take your medication. And so it's not necessarily, like I said, DNA is not necessarily destiny, whether it's physical or mental.

Kandidly Kristin: So I agree. I agree. So let me just pivot a little bit because we are, the holiday season is upon us, and I wanted to talk a little bit about holiday Blues and seasonal effective disorder and the increase in instances of depression and suicides during the holiday season.

Frank King: I've never seen a comprehensive study showing that there were, that suicides actually go up during the holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas. There may be a connection, and it may just be, as you said, seasonal effective disorder. The days are shorter and colder and darker, and I live in Oregon and right now in Oregon and November, the sun comes up at 7 am and goes down about 4: 0 7.

So it's a short day, and there are people who move into the northwest. They cannot stand the winter because of the short days, and they move out the next year. Or they have to go down to Arizona for a week or two to to stock up on vitamin D. That's sun . Yeah, so it may not be the holidays so much, as loneliness.

It may be the seasonal, the short days, cold days. I love my, I lived in Southern California for 11 years. I've had my share of Sunshine. Sunshine depress. I have, I have reverse evil disorder. I love short, cold wet days.

Kandidly Kristin: Oh my. I live on the East coast, so we get all this. So right now it's similar. Sun's up at 6:30, it's setting at four. It's. I don't like it. I do notice my mood changes. I'm not depressed per se, but I miss the being able to sit outside when I get off work and so forth.

Frank King: But here's the thing, as someone who lives with depression, if the sun goes down at four o'clock, if I'm depressed that day and the sun goes down at four, I believe it is socially acceptable if it's dark to go to bed, no matter what hours.

Kandidly Kristin: That's how I feel. I'm like, it's dark. I should be sleeping. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So tell me how you feel about air quotes Rational Suicide or assisted suicide amongst people that are terminally ill. And in situations like that

Frank King: This is we live in Oregon and that's one of the reasons, death with dignity assisted suicide so that people can determine.

We were talking about this morning, my wife and I have a friend whose husband lived with cancer, eight years in remission, out in remission out, and it finally gotta the point where there was nothing left they could do for him. So he was allowed to design his cocktail. Now you have to get the clearance of a physician.

And a mental health professional to, and you have to be terminal. You have to genuinely be very much a short timer. The irony of that is people who have that authority over their own bodies tend to live longer and have a better quality of life. And people who don't have that option. Because? Because I believe Cause they're in control, they know they can end the pain anytime.

And so they live longer and better, ironically, in states where you have assisted suicide. Okay.

Kandidly Kristin: All right. And Oregon is one of those states?

Frank King: Yes. And if you had a relative decline, And go through the chemo and the radiation and the ups and the down pain and died slowly, I believe you would probably be in favor of, okay, this is crazy. Treat an animal that way. You'll put the animal down when it was in that much pain.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Frank, give my listeners some warning signs. If someone that they know or love, what can they look for in terms of suicidal ideations or, or are there signs red flags?

Frank King: Okay. Yes. Before we do that, let me, my chronic suicidal ideation is rare and what it means is for, for me and people in my tribe, the option of suicide's always on the menu as a solution for problems large and small.

And I tell the audience, when I say small, my car was gone a couple years ago. I had three thoughts unbid. One, get it fixed, two by a new one, and three, I could just kill myself. And it sounds absurd, I know, but almost every time I've spoken since 2014 and have told that story. There's been at least one person in the audience, sometimes more with chronic suicidal ideation, and invariably they do not know it has a name. They think they're just some kind of freak and all alone. Had a young woman come up after a college presentation and say, “thanks for your keynote.” I said, you're welcome. She said, “but I gotta tell you, it made me weep.” I said, “how did it make you weep?” She goes, “you know your story about the car. Get it fixed by a new one or kill yourself.”

I go, “Yeah.”  She goes, “I've been having those thoughts all my life. I didn't know they had a name. I thought I was some kind of freak and completely alone and when I heard you say that out loud, I realized for the first time in my life that I am not alone and I wept.”  So there may be somebody listening to this right now who has chronic suicidal ideation and they have just realized that A, it's a thing B, it has a name. See, they're not alone, that's the power of sharing your story.

Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely.

Frank King: Of other people, and that's one of the reasons I don't kill myself because I, I feel like George Bailey in the movie, it's a wonderful life. I've been shown what people's lives might have been like if I were not there, simply to reassure them that they're not alone.

And if I kill myself conceivably, I would take a lot of those people with me. So that's one of the reasons I hang around. So let's talk about depression. Three top signs to my mind are one to eat too much, or can't eat, sleep too much, or can't sleep. They have trouble getting outta bed in the morning, so they're often late for work or school, but they rally in the afternoon almost like a different person.

And the third one, this is as observably, visibly, they let their personal hygiene go. Either. They're pretty well put together, but this day their hair is dirty. Clothes aren't quite so clean. It may be because. They're having trouble getting outta bed in the morning, run a little wash, take a shower. The question always comes up: “What do you say to somebody who is depressed?” Here's what you don't say. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Turn the frown upside down. Have you tried fish oil ?

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Yeah.

Frank King: Here's what you do. Say I'm here for you and I mean it. I know you're not lazy or crazy or self absorbed. I know that depression's a mental illness. Here's the good news. With time and treatment, things will get better. I will take the time. I'll help you get the treatment. And here's the tough one. You have to ask them in no un certain terms, are you having thoughts of suicide? Just like that. Okay. There's an urban legend. You should never mention the “S” word in front of somebody who's depressed because it might give 'em the idea, which is absurd.

Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Cause they've got it already. .

Frank King: Yeah. Why did I think of that? As a matter of fact, mentioning in front of them will lower the chances of them dying by suicide. Ironically, now.

Kandidly Kristin: Really?

Frank King: Yep. Let's say they are, they admit they're depressed and they, they say they are suicidal. But first, what if they deny they're suicidal, but your intuition thinks, says they are, how would you know?

They talk about death and dying a lot. You catch 'em. Googling how to Die. Death and Dying appears is a theme in their artwork of their music. Um, they're acquiring the means. Stock piling medication or buying a firearm. They're getting their affairs in order, especially if they're giving away prize possessions.

Cause they wanna make sure the possessions go to the people they want them to go to when they're gone.

Kandidly Kristin: Got it.

Frank King: Here's a counterintuitive one that's really dangerous. They've been depressed forever and now they're happy for no reason. You can't figure out why but you're glad they're happy. They may be happy because. They've chosen time, place, and method, and they know the pain is coming to an end. See, suicide is most often not about wanting to kill yourself. I didn't wanna kill myself. I simply wanted to end the pain. But let's say they do say they're honest. I am having thoughts on suicide. What do you say? You say, do you have a plan?

If they have a plan, you say, what is your plan? And if it's detailed, time, place, and method, you need to do your best to get them to mental health facilities simply for evaluation. Okay, now there's one more step. Suppose they have a plan, but it's not really detailed. What would you do? And I've never read this anywhere.

I came up with this on my own. I would say to them, okay, look, let me, lemme ask you this. Are you gonna kill yourself? If they say no, I say, okay, tell me why not. Make them give voice to whatever's keeping here. Something is keeping, there could be kids, could be wife, could be pets, could be their religion, forbids it, whatever it is, you can use that to leverage to keep them here.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. And if somebody, Has a plan, time, place, method, all that in place, and you do all you can as the friend, the loved one, whatever, and they still go through with it. And all of your best efforts didn't work. What do you say to those people? I knew it was coming. I tried to stop it. What do you say?

Frank King: Well, 8, out of 10 people are ambivalent, meaning two out of 10 are not, nine out of 10 give hints meaning one out of 10 does not, so we can't save everybody. I didn't give hints. I didn't, I wasn't ambivalent. No, I would not have said anything to anybody. I was just gonna do it. Okay. So unfortunately we can't save everybody.

Good news is we can save the majority of people if you know what to look and listen for. And now your listeners know exactly what to listen for and how to start the conversation,

Kandidly Kristin: And all that's gonna be in the show notes. Okay? Every bit of it. Every point you should look for and listen to or look for or listen out for is gonna be in the show notes. So Frank. Now one last thing. Okay. If they're suicidal and they have a plan and they refuse to go see a mental health, Clinician for evaluation.

Frank King: Two things. If they're an immediate danger to themselves or somebody else, you have to dial 911 and get law enforcement involved, which means they're probably gonna get a three day involuntary detention.

They're gonna unfriend you on Facebook for that, but they'll still be alive. The second thing is if they're not an immediate danger to themselves, but they won't go seek help, my advice would be for you to dial 988, the new three digit suicide prevention lifeline and the volunteer on the other end will help you, help you the best they can to get the phone in the hand of the person who's in crisis.

They will guide you about what to say and do.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay. As a last effort, I tell you, I appreciate your approach to this topic. I appreciate you for being here and doing what you do, and I'd like for you to give your last thoughts to your last advice, your last offering to my listeners right now.

Frank King: When I speak, I try to empower the audience, make them the hero in the piece. So I finish up by saying, you can make a difference. You can save a life and you can do it by doing something as simple as what we're doing right here. And that is starting a conversation. If you know how, and now you know how.

Kandidly Kristin: Now, you know how you hear that, guys. You all know how, or at least you got some tools. If somebody, if you, if it's you, if somebody you love, you have some real tools to work with in your toolbox. So, yep. Frank, Frank, Frank, I appreciate you so much for sharing this time. You're in the airport doing a podcast episode. Thank you. So I appreciate you. I am again, so glad that you are still here with us and doing the things that you do and sharing your stories, your humor, your laughter with the world. I appreciate you, more than you know!.

Frank King: You wanna know the real reason, the number one reason I'm still here, my mom and dad wanted children desperately. My mother had trouble getting pregnant, but my mom got pregnant. She carried it to term and shortly after birth it passed away.

A year later, she got pregnant again, carried it to term, and shortly after birth it passed away. Somewhere. Somehow she found the courage to try a third time, and then a fourth time. I was born the 3rd time my sister the fourth, so my feeling is, she was so brave and worked so hard to bring me here that I gotta be at least as brave and work at least as hard to stay until my appointed time.

Kandidly Kristin: Amen. That I don't even know how better to to close this episode except to say this.

To whomever is hearing the sounds of our voices. If you're out there and you're in crisis, please call or text the Suicide Crisis Lifeline - 988. Someone is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

And if you don't wanna talk, you can live chat on the website. 988 it is vitally important that everybody remembers that for themselves or for their friends. And Frank's contact info as well as links and all the information we discussed during this chat is going to be in the show notes with clickable links so you can navigate and go and reach out to Frank or reach 988 or just get more information. It's all gonna be in the show note. Frank, I appreciate you. I really do. I wish you the best trip ever and the best show ever on your cruise. I really do. I can't thank you enough for spending this time with me and my listeners. Now guys don't forget, you have to go to the Kandid shop website, www.thekandidshop.com. Kandid with a K. Listen to some episodes, drop a review, sign up for the mailing list, share. Share with your friends about this show cause we're awesome.

Frank King: Hey Kristin, le me close it like a comedian.

Kandidly Kristin: Okay.

Frank King: Hope you enjoyed this podcast. Please rate, review, and subscribe and tell your friends. If you didn't enjoy this podcast, we hope you have no friends.

Kandidly Kristin: Thank you. I might have to use that, I might steal that from you, Frank, thank you so much. Safe travels to you. Happy Thanksgiving and. I hope to see you in one another TEDx, and it'll be nine this time.

Frank King: Yes. The only person on the planet who has eight Ted Talks besides me is Bill Gates. So good company

Kandidly Kristin: You're in good company, great minds think alike, all right guys, until we meet again, I want you all to do what, keep it safe, keep it healthy, and keep it Kandid.

Frank King The Mental Health Comedian Profile Photo

Frank King The Mental Health Comedian

Suicide Prevention Speaker and Comedian

Frank King, Suicide Prevention Speaker, a writer for The Tonight Show for 20 years, and a full-time standup comedian for 37 years.
He’s fought a lifetime battle with Depression and Chronic Suicidality, turning that long dark journey into 8 TEDx Talks and insights on Mental Health Awareness (only one other person on the planet has 8 TEDx Talks…Bill Gates).
Depression and suicide run in his family. He’s thought about killing himself more times than he can count. He’s come close enough to dying by suicide that he can tell you what the barrel of his gun tastes like…
He uses his life lessons to start the conversation giving people permission to give voice to their feelings and experiences.
He believes that where there is humor there is hope, where there is laughter there is life, nobody dies laughing.