Adele Ryan McDowell
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Adele Ryan McDowell, PhD, is a practicing psychotherapist and crisis former hot-line responder with more than 30 years experience helping clients find hope and balance in the face of crisis, trauma, and grief. Dr. McDowell's newest book, Making Peace with Suicide: A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort (White Flowers Press, 2014), speaks to those who have lost a loved one to suicide, those considering suicide, and those who work with or counsel the bereaved and suicidal. Learn more at: and

Entries by Adele Ryan McDowell

The 7 Points On The Spectrum Of Suicide

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2017 | 10:16 AM

Every three seconds, on average, someone is attempting suicide, according to research out of India. The numbers of suicide attempts are exponentially higher than the number of completed suicides, which average every 13 seconds across the globe per the World Health Organization (WHO). Tragically, every minute of every day is...

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This Is What Grief Feels Like

(1) Comments | Posted April 10, 2017 | 11:25 AM

Loss hammered you incessantly. Grief hollowed you out until you were gasping for breath, empty and fully spent. Your heart was broken and battered into a heap of crumbled bits and pieces. And still, you stood.

Anguish carved you open in unexpected and totally disorienting ways. You lost your footing;...

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5 Ways To Deal With An Emotional Hangover

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2017 | 8:24 AM

Ever have one of those weeks when there is palpable, anger-inciting tension between you and a family member? Or you have had a crushing misunderstanding with one of your dearest friends? Or there is an incident at work that has had you mumbling obscenities under your breath and double-checking your...

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Grieving Your Animal Best Friend

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2017 | 6:18 AM

You feel gutted, alone and adrift. You have permanently lost your bestie. The one with the wet nose and playful ways. The one who snuggled on the couch, hogged a part of the bed or could send you into fits of giggles.

Some people look at you like you're...

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Dealing With Christmas Blues

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2016 | 5:30 AM

It is that time again; the winter solstice is around the corner. The word "solstice" is derived from the Latin for "sun standing still." This solstice, a pagan precursor to Christmas and other seasonal holy days, denotes the return of the light and a decline in the darkness.


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7 Things You Need To Know After A Loss From Suicide

(1) Comments | Posted September 22, 2016 | 12:10 PM

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For loved ones left behind, suicide is not painless. It leaves you holding your heart in your hand, vibrating with emotion and reeling with questions. The ground has given way and you are free-falling through space. Here are seven things you need to...

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13 Everyday Ways To Help Prevent Suicide

(1) Comments | Posted September 9, 2016 | 3:43 PM

Saturday is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide must surely be out of the closet by now. It happens. It happens every 40 seconds, on average, around the globe per the World Health Organization.

Even more startling are the numbers of those who have attempted suicide. The National Suicide Research Foundation...

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Understanding Teen Suicide Helps Make Sense Of The Heartbreak

(4) Comments | Posted September 7, 2016 | 7:48 PM

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Suicide is heartbreaking. And suicide is especially crushing when a teenager has made the lethal choice to end their life. What happened? As the adults in their lives, we cannot fathom how things went so bad so fast. We feel so...

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You Can Survive The Torture Of Big Grief

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2016 | 9:01 AM

We are hard-wired for connection and when a meaningful connection is severed -- be it someone who has held a special place in our personal firmament of love and affection or someone who has betrayed and abandoned us -- we feel devastating loss.

Loss of this magnitude births grief...

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World Needs Late Elie Wiesel's Wisdom Now More Than Ever

(6) Comments | Posted July 5, 2016 | 12:32 PM

At this critical time in history, it is more important than ever for us to pause and remember the courageous Elie Wiesel, tireless defender of peace and advocate for the persecuted, repressed and disenfranchised. Wiesel, age 87, died this weekend at his home in New York City. We will mourn...

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Dealing With The Death Of A Young Person

(4) Comments | Posted June 27, 2016 | 12:14 PM

Death is never easy. And the death of a young person is especially heartbreaking and traumatic. There was so much future and so much possibility that is now forever gone. There will be no more birthdays, graduations or wedding days. This young life, full of potential and promise, has ended...

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What Can We Do After Orlando?

(10) Comments | Posted June 15, 2016 | 9:51 AM

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A man grieves at a make shift memorial for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, June 13, 2016.

49 dead, 53 injured. Traumatized survivors. Doubled-over loved ones. A city, a state, a nation reeling in disbelief and horror. The worst...

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The Connection Between Suicide And Childhood Sexual Abuse

(1) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 9:40 AM

Circling the international news is the story of the assisted suicide of a young Dutch woman due to long-term childhood sexual abuse. This woman in her 20's asked for -- and was granted -- euthanasia by lethal injection.

She requested an end to her life due to...

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Shattered Hearts: Explaining Suicide To Children

(5) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 4:39 AM


Suicide is frequently a sudden, surprising and shocking death that leaves family members reeling in disbelief and heartache. Suicide is akin to lobbing an explosive into the middle of the family. There is enormous collateral damage.

For children, the death of a parent is a traumatic...

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How To Help Your Grieving Child

(1) Comments | Posted February 17, 2016 | 4:30 AM


There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your child sob inconsolably following the death of a loved one. For children, grief impacts the stability of their world. Life changes radically.

If a sibling is lost, the child may feel guilty for being the surviving one...

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5 Ways To Be Happier In Our Upside-Down World

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2016 | 9:57 AM

Can you remember when you last felt happy, really happy? Would you like to feel steadier in a healthy, mind-body way that does not involve pharmaceuticals? Is straddling a teeter-totter the last time you consciously considered balance in your life?

Today's topsy-turvy world has us all running madly in every...

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Our Loved Ones Are Gone But Never Lost

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2016 | 11:07 AM

Years ago, I worked with a 16-year-old girl -- let's call her Cassie -- who was grieving the loss of her youngest brother in a family car accident.

Early one Monday morning, their minivan had been hit hard, hard enough to flip over. Cassie recalls that at the time...

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When You Are The Survivor Of Suicide

(95) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 9:53 AM

Suicide is not an easy conversation. Period. It is weighted with the feelings of real or perceived judgment and taboo.

Survivors search for answers and clues about the thoughts and feelings behind their loved one's choice to irrevocably end it all. How could this be? Why did this happen?...

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Messages From the Other Side

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 11:40 AM

Once upon a time, a woman, let's call her Shirley, lost her husband to the ravages of cancer. It had been a long and arduous battle. Shirley was completely depleted on every level.

After the funeral service, everyone returned to the house. The coffee pot was plugged in; neighbors...

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Making Sense of a Psychologist's Suicide

(2) Comments | Posted September 27, 2015 | 8:57 AM

The word came that a friend and colleague, a clinical psychologist, had died by suicide. She had suffered a hammering of profound losses and fell into a deep hole of depression. She had placed herself in good professional hands, was hospitalized for two weeks, and released with medications and a...

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