035: Elijah’s Journey and Other Approaches to Suicide Prevention with Efrem Epstein

034: Now I See with Mariagrazia Buttitta
November 1, 2017
036: LiFE of Hope with Deeatra Kajfosz
November 15, 2017

035: Elijah’s Journey and Other Approaches to Suicide Prevention with Efrem Epstein



Efrem Epstein is the founder of Elijah’s Journey, a 501c3 focused on Suicide Awareness/Prevention
in the Jewish community. He is also a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s
Faith Communities Task Force. www.ElijahsJourney.net

Click to tweet: Efrem Epstein shares his incredible journey on the i’Mpossible Project #podcast!

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Time Stamped Notes

  • 3.32 Josh serves on the advisory board of Efrem’s non-profit, Elijah’s Journey, a Jewish response
    to suicide awareness and prevention
  • 6.15 Josh and Efrem both serve on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Faith
    Based Task Force
  • 9.09 Efrem credits multiple difficulties and obstacles to his period of suicide ideation back in
    2006—it wasn’t just one thing.
  • 10.21 Efrem isn’t sure if he has “clinical depression” but back in 2006, he experienced symptoms
    very similar to (untreated) depression that also led to his period of suicide ideation
  • 12.01 After making it through his period of suicide ideation, Efrem began sharing his personal
    story of depression and suicide in safe places and also got involved as a volunteer with the
    American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • 12.41 In September 2009, at the U.N. headquarters in NYC, Efrem attended a World Suicide
    Prevention Day conference and it was there that he came up with what would eventually be
    called Elijah’s Journey.
  • 13.26 The name Elijah’s Journey comes from the Bible/Torah, 1st Kings Chapter 19, when the
    prophet Elijah expressed suicidality and God brought Elijah an angel who nursed him back to
    health
  • 21.24 Efrem counts family, friends, his faith community, and even strangers as his support
    system as he was coming out if his suicide ideation.
  • 22.44 About a year and a half ago, Efrem joined a community choir and counts his choir as something that has contributed greatly to his personal growth and his personal wellness
  • 24.40 Efrem believes that singing with people creates a powerful bond and connection
  • 25.45 Efrem tries not to worry about the past or future but tries to stay present and tries to use his past to inform his future, rather than rue or worry about what happened in the past
  • 31.30 Efrem believes that the field/industry needs better stories and messaging to encourage people to get help and to defeat stigma
  • 34.01 Efrem counts the dolphin as his spirit animal (despite being a Philadelphia Eagles fan), and he says he’s terrible at cooking and riding a bicycle, and would love Garth Brooks to play him if someone made a movie of Efrem’s life—find out more fun facts about Efrem in the Quick Fire Round

Key Points

  • It’s important that faith based communities embrace their members who are in crisis or
    suicidal. Embrace with love, kindness, and empathy rather than judgement or avoidance.
  • Sometimes when asking God or the universe for what we want, we sometimes get what
    we need instead (that can include a “no” or “wait” or radio-silence)
  • Support systems can look different for different people: music groups, church, fraternal
    organizations

Resources or Websites Mentioned

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If outside the U.S., here is a list of crisis lines around the world: www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres

Efrem is an author in The i’Mpossible Project: Volume 1—Reengaging with Life, Creating a New
You: www.iampossibleproject.com/one

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