When I was initially being trained to be a Suicide Prevention Call Specialist, I found it difficult to not jump right into problem-solving with the Caller. My law school education and professional experience as an attorney immediately triggered a need to identify the underlying problem and solve it. I struggled with simply listening to the Caller’s challenges and not offering ideas to “fix” them.
I was fortunate to have an in-house expert help me with this. Dave suggested I watch a short youtube video (1 min 41 seconds) that was popular in 2013, called “It’s Not About the Nail”. It uses comedy and an outrageous demonstration to convey how “problem solvers” can be distracted by “fixable” problems, and as such, miss or ignore the pain and frustration of the person they are talking to.
I am not sharing this to make light of anyone struggling with mental health issues, but as a resource to “problem-solvers” like myself who find it hard to grasp that our problem-solving skills are not always helpful. If you choose to watch it, I hope you find it as eye-opening as I did.
Colleen Kelly Jobes
Former Suicide Prevention LifeLine Call Specialist