Back to Zoom for the weekly meeting, and we learned about how we can help friends and loved ones dealing with thoughts of suicide.
Notes from the Nov. 17 meeting of
The Rotary Club of Clover Park
Recorded by Tom McClellan
 
This week’s meeting moved to Zoom because Covid cases are rising worldwide and in our community.  It was ably led by President-Elect Becky Newton, with President Teresa Nye out sick.  
 
Jeannie Hill led us off with 3 separate inspirational thoughts:
1. Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
- - - Martin Luther
 
2. Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy. - - - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
 
3. I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the final, game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
- - - Michael Jordan
 
Sunshine Report
Karen George reported that Bill Harrison is recuperating and doing well after almost choking last week, and getting a 4-day stay in the hospital.  Karen sends her thanks to the West Pierce Fire and Rescue units Engine 31 and Medic 31 for their timely and professional response. 
 
A late note from Friday, Nov. 19, is that Teresa Nye also had a brief hospital visit and is responding well to treatment.  Husband Chris is a little bit worse, but also at home recuperating. 
 
Future Programs
Nov. 22   Special Monday meeting, Pack Thanksgiving Baskets at Carr’s
Dec. 1     Sue Potter, Nourish Pierce County
Dec. 8     Available. Anyone have a good idea?  Contact Tom McClellan
 
For that Nov. 22 meeting, come at 12 Noon on Monday and order lunch from the Carr’s menu, then we’ll work to pack Thanksgiving baskets for needy families at Custer Elementary School.
 
Announcements
Our club was recognized by Shelterbox as a Bronze HERO Club, helping serve families around the world when disaster arrives.  We have put Shelterbox in our budget every year for several years now.
 
 
Joyce Oubré is just back from a trip to Maui (which our finemaster will address at a later time), and Joyce is catching up on the Christmas gift program we are working on through West Pierce Cares.  Several shoppers have signed up.  There will be a Christmas gift wrapping party on the afternoon of Dec. 15 at Carr’s, details to be forthcoming.
 
New members proposed
Membership Director Gretchen Allen read the name of Hailey Wheeler as a prospective new member.  The membership committee has already reviewed her proposal to membership by David Cotant, and passed it onto the club membership for any final comment.  If no adverse comments are received, she will be invited to membership.  If anyone has any issues to raise regarding her suitability to become a Rotarian, now is the time to raise them to club leadership, and the board will consider those comments.  This is the new member procedure described in our club’s bylaws. 
 
There are 3 additional prospective new members being reviewed by the committee, so look for more announcements of this sort very soon.  And the membership challenge is still ongoing.  Have you nominated someone yet?  A proposal form is on the web site. 
 
Club Elections
The Nominating Committee has met and proposed the following slate of officers and directors to take office on July 1, 2022:
 
President               Becky Newton
President Elect      Sue Potter
Vice President       Mike Killen
Past President       Teresa Nye
Secretary               Tom McClellan
Treasurer               Judi Maier
Sergeant-at-Arms  Dave Cotant
 
Directors                    
Position                     Director                  Term Expiration
Club Administration   Karen George         June 2023
Service Projects        Alan Billingsley      June 2023
Public Image             Hallie McCurdy       June 2024
Fundraising               Joyce Oubre           June 2024
Rotary Foundation    Georgene Mellom   June 2025
Membership              Gretchen Allen       June 2025
 
There being no additional nominations, the nomination process was closed and the club voted, a quorum being present. 
 
Fun And Fines
Finemaster Ed Trobaugh started by recognizing Past President Heidi Wachter, of the eponymous IOU.  Heidi has proposed replacing her eponymousity, “The Wachter”, with a new term which attributes to Teresa Nye’s persistent lack of funds.  Heidi has proposed calling it a “Nye Owe You”.  After a period of deliberation, Ed has decided to exert his sole authority on such matters and has adopted the new term. 
 
Ed reminded November birthday and anniversary holders to make their celebratory contributions.
 
Ed transitioned to recognizing Tho Kraus, who was recently promoted to the position of Deputy City Manager, working directly underneath former Army Ranger and current City Manager John Caulfield, who is a member of that other Rotary Club.  When asked how she feels about the promotion and new position, Tho replied, “I’m just here, I have no opinions.” 
 
Tom McClellan spoke up later in the meeting, feeling slighted for having his recent trip to California and purchase of a new Ford truck upon his return home.  Tom offered up a $100 fine. 
 
This Week’s Program
Dr. Nichole Ayers is the Clinic Director at The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Valley Cities, located in Lakewood where she oversees all clinical operations while following evidence-based practice guidelines. She brings more than ten years of experience to the clinic, with a special focus on the treatment of trauma/complex trauma, trauma-informed care, military social work, maternal mental health and clinical risk management.
 
Her topic on this day was a heavy one, about the facts and myths surrounding suicides.  This is an important topic for her, since her best friend years ago committed suicide. 
 
There are several misconceptions about suicides:
 
“Talking about it will encourage someone to go through with suicide.”  Actually, talking reduces the stigma, and opens the door to other options. 
 
“Suicide only impacts people with mental health conditions.”  Actually 54% have no prior mental health condition.
 
“A suicidal person will remain that way.”  Most people experiencing suicidal ideation are going through a very short term crisis situation related to a specific event.
 
Many people act on impulse, and alcohol magnifies the impulsive response.  There is almost always evidence of planning and preparatory behavior.  This can take the form of stockpiling pills, acquiring firearms, giving away property. 
 
Nichole noted that anyone talking about suicide is usually in search of help for a difficult life situation.  Thoughts of suicide should always be taken seriously. 
 
In the U.S. the suicide rate is 13.3 per 100,000 people.  Among veterans, it is 35.6 per 100k people.
 
There are 3 major factors which researchers have identified:
1. A sense of burdensomeness, toward family or others.  Health problems and financial difficulties are examples.
2. Thwarted belongingness.  Isolation and negative interactions,
3. Acquired ability.  Knowing how to do it, and manifesting increased ability to tolerate pain.  This is part of why suicides are more common among veterans.
 
Other risk factors include:
Having made a prior attempt.
History of mental health or substance abuse problems.
Chronic pain.
A family history of mental health issues or suicide.
Family violence.
Access to lethal means.
Barriers to health care.
Exposure to others’ suicides.
Recent release from incarceration.
Social isolation.
 
Suicides can be prevented.  Talking helps.  So does professional intervention. 
 
 
Suicidal crises are time limited.  The method depends on the availability of lethal means (e.g. guns, drugs).  The Covid pandemic has pushed up suicide and domestic violence rates, because of amplifying many of those risk factors
 
Help is available via many different suicide crisis lines.  Most have the ability to communicate by voice or text. 
 
 
And Finally…
Making predictions is hard, especially about the future.  With “remote learning” being used extensively during the Covid pandemic, this prediction from a couple of decades ago did not turn out very well.