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Daily Inspiration: Meet Venessa Abram

Today we’d like to introduce you to Venessa Abram.

Hi Venessa, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Founder & Executive Director of SDP3, a 501c3 non-profit organization which advocates for suicide prevention and raises awareness on bullying and mental health. The organization was established following the tragic suicide of my brother, Sergeant First Class Randolph Davison in 2016. His passing took a traumatic and heavy toll on our family, especially myself. However, amidst the loss, uncertainty, trauma and emotional toll, I identified that there was a need for more intervention in the area of suicide prevention and the factors which contribute to it. As such, not long after his passing, SDP3 was founded and has since impacted tens of thousands across the world. By helping others heal by providing them with the support and resources needed, I have by extension experienced my own healing becoming a part of a cause greater than myself. This has resulted in national recognition across the USA, global recognition as far as the Caribbean and Africa and partnerships with key institutions which champion radical and significant change. SDP3 continues to provide its services both locally and online, reaching tens of thousands on our social media platforms and the numbers continue to grow.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
No, there were numerous obstacles along the way such as learning to cope and overcome my thoughts and emotions following the death of my brother. There was rediscovering my sense of purpose and vision. There were obstacles to founding SDP3 and getting help, support and sponsorship. There were some initial challenges relating to raising funds and securing grant funding.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Founded in 2018, Self-Discovery: Pain, Positioning & Purpose, Inc. (SDp3) is on a mission to eradicate suicide by creating awareness around mental health and wellness, suicide prevention and bullying through educational workshops that will stop the stigma attached to mental health and promote healing for all affected by COVID-19 in the Metropolitan Areas/Counties in Atlanta. Since inception, SDp3 has provided education, training, counseling, resources and/or referral services for over 35,000 people who were impacted or contemplating suicide. In 90% of cases, we have been able to deescalate client’s emotional crisis and coordinate resources and referrals for follow-up care. The remaining 10% were referred to partnering agencies for Inpatient and Intensive Outpatient Programs or Day Intensive Programs. While the statistics on suicide are troubling for every age group, SDp3 offers paths to intervention that encourages individuals, families, and communities to learn the warning signs and get help when help is needed for all age groups. SDp3 offers educational sessions to prevent suicide and foster recovery through evidence-based and trauma-informed resiliency workshops, prevention/postvention workshops, peer to peer connections, and a coordination of community-based resources and referrals. We will provide Suicide Prevention and Mindful Self-Compassion education to raise awareness that suicide is preventable, train community members with suicide prevention and intervention skills, and build capacity for mindfulness, self-compassion and trauma-sensitive interactions.

How do you define success?
SDp3 defines success as the organization’s ability to prevent suicide and foster recovery by offering evidence-based and trauma-informed resiliency seminars, prevention/postvention courses, peer-to-peer relationships, and coordinating community-based resources and referrals. The organization measures its success on a continuum that takes into account its daily commitment to advocacy and ongoing support of the marginalized group, which includes communities of color, untreated incarcerated individuals, the LGBTQIA population, and at-risk youth who are disproportionately affected by stigma, lack of representation, and indirect costs that discourage them from seeking treatment. Every waking hour and day that the organization’s staff and facilitators are able to share their lived experience contributes to our success.

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Image Credits:

Ricardo Moor Ms. Sharon Gary Dill Hackney

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