Christmas can be a difficult time for some people for myriad reasons; we never really know what is going on behind a smile and some outward festive cheer and so it was that Angeline Collins Driver found herself on the Coffee at Eleven Show as the final guest of 2020 to talk about a very serious malaise in our society, suicide.

Truthfully, I wrestled with the timing around releasing this episode, given that it is ‘The Holidays’ but perhaps now is indeed the right time as we enter yet another lockdown as the strangest year in living memory comes to a close and a new one, showing as yet no signs of certainty, emerges on the horizon.

Angeline Collins Driver decided in 2020 it was time to tell her story, and finally do something about suicide and so founded Ohana ZERO Suicide.

She says, “Ohana means ‘family’ in Hawaiian. I loved the tagline from the Disney film Lilo & Stitch, “Family, where no one is left behind”. We all get into action when something [tragic] happens. So what about getting proactive so we can stop it before it happens and avoid the tsunami of grief?”

Angeline is convinced that action and responsibility has got to be taken by everyone in every community, in every county to stop this happening to any other family, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, colleague.

Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you take some time out over the Holidays and listen to Angeline tell her story and find out how you can be part of a movement that is effectively First Aid for Mental Health in 2021 and beyond. (Link to Ohana ZERO Suicide provided at the end)

Watch the Full Interview on YouTube:
Listen to the Full Interview on Spotify:

Or see below for a short introduction to this amazing woman and to find out what Angeline is taking from COVID…

Yours Truly: Ladies and gentlemen, you are more than welcome to this, episode 91, here on the set of The Coffee at 11 Show. Delighted to have you here and thank you for taking time out to join us. And, in particular, I’d like to welcome our very special guest this morning, Angeline Collins Driver, who’s Zooming all the way in from Donegal with an extremely important message for us all. Angeline, please say hello and cheers us with a coffee cup or mug.

Angeline Collins Driver: Hello, everybody!

Yours Truly: Lovely, lovely. Before I bring Angeline in, let me just tell you a little bit about this remarkable lady. Her business, or her organization, it’s not a business. It’s called Ohana ZERO Suicide. She says, “We are a team of ordinary individuals from all walks of life, of all ages, that are passionate about making a difference in the numbers of people who take their own life by providing training that empowers people to show they care, asking the appropriate questions in the appropriate language, and then making the call for the help required. We believe that taking action and being proactive is required to change behaviors, and by changing behaviors, we can change culture.” She says, “We have a core team of 16, formed in January 2020.” And she says she’s worked in the HSE since 1990 as a social care worker with adults with intellectual disabilities.

Founder of Ohana ZERO Suicide, and Ohana means “family” in Hawaiian. I love this. She says, I loved the tagline. I’m a Disney fan, too, by the way, Angeline. She says, I loved the tagline from the Disney film Lilo & Stitch. Family, where no one is left behind. Isn’t that just lovely? Family, where no one is left behind. And she says this really resonated with me. She says she’s been a suicide prevention volunteer with Cycle Against Suicide since 2014, and the stories of heartache and devastation she’s heard in the last few years has really convinced Angeline that action and responsibility has got to be taken by everyone in every community in every county to stop this happening to any other family, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, colleague.

We all get into action when something happens. This is really interesting. So what about getting proactive so we can stop it before it happens and avoid the tsunami of grief? And I just think that’s such a lovely question. That’s one we’re going to explore today. And she says this training that we are rolling out, which, by the way, was launched nationally yesterday, provides the tools to know what to say and what to do if you feel someone is in distress. It’s free, and it takes approximately 20 minutes, and it could help to save a life. Proud to say that I took the training very recently because of the intervention of Noelle McAlinden. Noelle, you’re very welcome. Lovely to have you here today. But it is a very special privilege to have the lady who kicked it all off, Angeline Collins Driver, with us today.

She asks that, she says … I asked the question, what is something people don’t know about you? And this is where it gets a bit serious. She says, “I was sexually abused as a child. I attempted suicide at 14 years. I had my 60th birthday in March – looking well on it – I have an Irish record for power lifting, dead lift. I love life, and I want people to persevere and to promote and live life passionately.”

Angeline Collins Driver, that is some introduction.

(To watch or listen to the full interview click one of the links above or below)

Yours Truly: I’m really looking forward to the next section, which we’re going to go to in just a moment. Apparently, some people say you’re part of the show. Apparently. And that is the Princess Shelley piece, right? Where she’s going to just tell us what’s been going on in the café while you and I were having the chat.

But before I go there, Angeline, if you don’t mind, one last question from me. I’m quite sure there’ll be people in the audience would like to ask a question, too, or comment. But if I may, COVID hit us all. Somebody said, “We’re all in the same boat.” And then somebody else corrected them and said, “We’re not all in the same boat. We’re all in the same storm. Some of us are in cruise liners, and others are in leaky rowboats.” Right? But COVID had hit us all. So what are you taking with you from COVID that you’re not letting go of, that you’re grateful for? Please.

Angeline Collins Driver: Yeah. I suppose the freedom that we had before COVID. Both my children are away, and I had looked forward every year to Thanksgiving, because that’s where I went. I went to America, and it was just fabulous, the whole New York thing, spending time with my son. And my brother actually lives in New York, as well. And Perth, we were actually just back from Perth. We had spent a month in Perth when COVID kicked in last year, so we had a christening of their, my little grandson was born, and their christening was in November, and I really feel everything is now. Just do it now. Don’t wait because you don’t know what’s down the line. And that’s what I’m taking out of COVID myself.

And I suppose, love the people that you are living with and close to because you could be [inaudible 00:04:54] to confinement with them, and if you don’t get on with them, well, then, you have to learn. You really have to learn how to adapt to people’s behaviors, and sometimes, you can get annoyed with people, the things that they do, but you really have to learn to live with people. And we’re all different. We’re not all going to get on all the time, but it’s being open and compassionate and empathetic, I suppose.

And also, one thing that Gandhi said was don’t underestimate yourself. Oh, how does it go? If you think that you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

Watch the Full Interview on YouTube:
Listen to the Full Interview on Spotify:

Connect with Angeline here: 

Check out Ohana ZERO Suicide here: 

Come back next week for another peek into the café and ‘The Coffee at Eleven Show” brought to you by WIG-WAM Global