Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Suicide Prevention Workshop


October 5, 2017

Dr. Darryl Tonemah at the Akwesasne Suicide Prevention Workshop on Friday, September 29, 2017.

On Friday September 29th, 2017, the Akwesasne Suicide Prevention Coalition presented Dr. Darryl Tonemah as guest speaker for their Suicide Prevention Workshop. Dr. Tonemah's workshop was made possible by a grant through the Mental Health Alcohol Chemical Dependency Program and Native Connections. The workshop was free and open to the community to attend.

Dr. Tonemah spoke on how trauma affects us biologically and socially. If you were to google Methylation and genetics, there is so much information on how trauma can change our DNA and the way it is made up. He also spoke on the role trauma plays in addictions and suicide, and what it looks like behaviorally in children through to adulthood.

The workshop is to help individuals identify, not just in others but in themselves, and to identify the sense of being overwhelmed. The "Sense of Overwhelm", which comes from trauma, is one of the leading causes to suicide.

Dr. Tonemah states, "Trauma is more than an event. It becomes a lifestyle of reaction, hyper-vigilance, anger and self-medication."

Experiencing trauma is capable of changing our DNA and the way our brains are wired. There is so much new research on the effects of trauma inside and out, meaning how the environment around us, and the DNA inside of us, can affect how we experience trauma. Everyone can benefit from having the tools to help heal themselves and their loved ones from any sort of trauma. When people think of trauma they think of something so catastrophic that even something like a separation isn't put into the same category. Our people need to start accepting that we have dealt with intergenerational trauma one way or another and it may still be occurring to this day. There is no way to heal from something until it is no longer taking place.

The workshop ended off on Dr. Tonemah asking, "What can we do as providers to help our kids, our patients, our family members not just deal with trauma and its effects, but how do we heal it? How do we develop internal tools that the body can address it without feeling overwhelmed?"

Dr. Tonemah suggested a list of books that could benefit everyone in the process of healing themselves or their loved ones. Some of the books recommended by Dr. Darryl Tonemah were, "The Body Keeps Score" and "Trauma Through a Child Eyes".

If you have the chance to read one of these books, or to take a workshop with Dr. Darryl Tonemah, with an open mind and open heart then possibly you will leave with a new perspective on life.


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