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How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention by Susan Rose Blauner

At the age of 14, Susan Rose Blauner never thought she'd live to be 21. Now 36, she is the author of "How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention." Born October 15, 1965 in Westchester County, New York, her family moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1979 where she graduated from high school in 1983. She earned a bachelor's degree in art from Bridgewater State College and graduated cum laude in 1988. Highly creative and inspired, Blauner's professional life has crisscrossed many avenues: visual merchandising, therapeutic recreation, graphic design, photojournalism, studio assistant, production manager for a weekly newspaper. Writing has always played a key life role for Blauner. It became a profession in 2000, when she signed on with the Jane Rotrosen Agency in Manhattan. How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention is Blauner's first book. She plans to write a good portion of her next book this spring, during a four-week artist's residency in Georgia. Suicide prevention is one of many areas Blauner hopes to explore through writing. In addition to her next non-fiction book, she has started several screenplays, one stage play and several novels. Among other things, she would like to write both a staged musical and a screenplay about suicide prevention, based on her own experience. The freedom she finds in writing blends perfectly with her endless supply of ideas and passions. Susan Rose Blauner is active in the suicide prevention field. She speaks at high schools, presents at conferences, and is a spokesperson for Out of the Darkness, the largest suicide prevention and awareness event in our country to date. Out of the Darkness, a 26-mile overnight fund-raiser walk produced by Pallotta TeamWorks will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). In addition to walking the walk, Blauner will speak at the closing rally on The Mall in Washington, D.C. To raise money for the event, Blauner produced a benefit concert this winter called "Shine a Light on Suicide," and raised $3,000. Blauner offers a much-needed voice to the solution of the suicide dilemma. According to Iris Bolton, executive director of the National Center for Suicide Prevention and Aftercare, "Susan Rose Blauner has written THE best suicide prevention manual for the suicidal thinker, attempter, layperson or professional. It is a classic of this generation. She has transformed her own pain into a legacy of life-saving possibilities." Bolton continues, "If How I Stayed Alive had been available to my 20-year-old suicidal son Mitch, he might be alive today." 10% of any royalty profit Blauner realizes from How I Stayed Alive will be donated to the National Hopeline Network Kristin Brooks Hope Center (1-800-SUICIDE). Blauner was interviewed by NYC filmmaker/journalist Dara Berger for a documentary film on suicide to be released this fall. Blauner has been accepted as a presenter by the American Association of Suicidology for their 2002 annual conference. Blauner has developed a communication workshop to be used in conjunction with her book. The workshop will be available at HarperAcademic.com. Blauner is developing a multimedia prevention program to bring to schools nationwide. She is a member of a Youth Task Force and has recently been appointed to a Youth Consultation Committee. In keeping with the Lifekeeper Memorial Quilt, "Faces of Suicide," Blauner is starting a Lifekeeper Quilt for Attempters of Suicide, "There Is Hope!" Attempters will make quilt squares for themselves as a commitment to staying alive. Blauner would like to produce a benefit CD "Shine a Light on Suicide" to raise money for suicide prevention/awareness. She is soliciting donations from various music professionals and will release the CD in late 2003/2004. A longterm goal for Sue is to start the Shine A Light on Suicide Foundation, through which financial aid will be given to individuals in need of quality psychiatric care. Blauner will use profits from her book as well as grant money, private/corporate donations and fund-raising events. Susan Rose Blauner survived eighteen years of suicide obsession, three suicide gestures, three psyche hospitalizations and ten-plus years of intense psychotherapy to reconfigure her brain and how it processes the world. She has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and major depression. A true Renaissance woman, she creates sanctuary in her life through art, music, people, nature, spirituality and inner vision, all supported by her boundless faith, determination and resilience. Sue lives on Cape Cod, where she draws strength from the nature around her. Susan Rose Blauner is alive, feeling everything -- difficult and easy -- living a life full of dreams come true.

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