Chakras & Chardonnay

Ep. 4: Suicide Prevention: Starting the Convo at Work | SavyB

May 31, 2023 Maria Mayes Season 1 Episode 4
Chakras & Chardonnay
Ep. 4: Suicide Prevention: Starting the Convo at Work | SavyB
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 4: 

Suicide Prevention: Starting the Convo at Work | SavyB

In this episode of Chakras & Chardonnay, Maria is joined by Julie McLean. Julie McLean is the founder of Start the Convo with a mission of ending mental health stigma and lowering suicide rates. Julie, a suicide survivor herself, is a mental health and suicide awareness advocate a suicide prevention speaker, a Tedx speaker, and trainer and coach helping organizational leaders get comfortable talking about and implementing measures to address suicide prevention in their organizations. Julie shares some actionable tips on what to look for, how to start the conversation on suicide in the workplace, and how to create a safe place in the office.

Julie also shares her love of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Maria shares some fun facts about Kiwi’s biggest wine export.

Stay tuned till the end when Maria guides you through a grounding relaxation practice to release fear.

To get in touch with Julie McLean: and email

To get in touch with Maria: and email Maria:

Featured Today on Chakras & Chardonnay: 

Kim Crawford Sav Blanc:

Cloud Watcher Sav Blanc:: :

Get the SavyB Lovin Salad Recipe:

Schedule a consultation to create a Quiet Room in your office: Schedule

Learn more about Maria and her work at Take5.Health and subscribe to receive tips and free Guided Meditations each Wednesday. Connect with Maria on social:

Maria Mayes: [00:00:00] 

In this episode, I have a conversation with Julie McLean, and I want to warn you in advance, it's a pretty heavy topic, but notice at the end we still end with a little lightness because the reality is life has the dark and the light, the good, the bad, and the ugly. So even though this is a subject that we don't usually like to talk about, it's a really important one, especially as we close out mental health awareness month.

Julie McLean was raised in a small town in New Jersey, and at the age of 16 she was ready to take her own life. Fast forward to today, after years of struggling with her own mental health and a subsequent attempt in 2019, that led to her husband saving her life. She is now a suicide awareness advocate. A suicide prevention speaker, a TEDx speaker, and a trainer and coach helping organizational leaders get comfortable talking about and implementing measures in the workplace to address suicide prevention.

So I'm super grateful for this conversation with Julie. I'm super grateful that she's so brave. Talk about taking your pain and making it your purpose. That's what Julie's doing, and I just also want to. Pause here and just, um, dedicate this episode to Shawn Winter, who we lost to suicide, um, very recently.

Hi, so I'm so excited to introduce Julie McLean. She is going to share with us a little bit about her journey and a well-being tip. So welcome, Julie. 

Julie Mclean: Thank you so much for having me. I really do appreciate it, Maria. Absolutely. 

Maria Mayes: So if you can just kind of share a little bit about your background, what you focus on in your story, that'd be beautiful.

Julie Mclean: Sure. Well, I am a mental health and suicide prevention advocate, as well as a suicide survivor. Uh, I think about suicide almost every day. And the first attempt I had at taking my own life was when I was only 16. And the last attempt was back in 2019, where my husband literally did save my life. So now I have learned that talking about mental health and mental illness and suicide is so important.

To be able to end that stigma that that's what I do now [00:01:00] is I go out and I talk to people. I talked to industry leaders and businesses and just the general public about suicide prevention and mental health and ending that stigma so that we can all get together collectively and start talking and saving lives because ultimately that's what's going to happen.

Maria Mayes: Absolutely. That is beautiful, Julie. And I just want to, I want us all to pause for a moment and just really honor your strength and your courage. Um, I felt that viscerally through my body. So I don't know if the listeners felt the same, but I just want to honor you and just the strength you have, the courage you have, and the, the gift you're giving us in order to share You know, pieces of your journey that are very difficult to share, you are liberating others to do the same.

And so thank you. I hope so. Thank you so much. 

Julie Mclean: Somebody's got [00:02:00] to start the conversation. So that's what I'm trying to do is I'm starting to start trying to start those conversations. 

Maria Mayes: Beautiful. So, Julie, you mentioned you, do work within a professional space in terms of, making sure there's an awareness of and maybe a prevention plan within workplaces.

Can you talk a little bit more about that? . 

Julie Mclean: Well, you know, suicide prevention has to be made a priority in the workplace. 80% of all suicides occur within the ages of 18 and 65. Mm-hmm. I know that's a big gap, but it has one thing in common and that age group are all able to work. They're all working individuals.

They're all. In there. So we spend so much time at work and from experience. I know that work is one of the worst places to try and talk about mental health. It's always hush hush [00:03:00] and people are so afraid. They don't want to get fired from their job because they have a mental health challenge. A lot of people don't realize that in the United States mental health is actually covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

So employers can't fire you for having a mental illness. They can't fire you for having mental health challenges. They have to make accommodations for you if you have any one of these. But the one thing that they really don't do is they really don't focus on the prevention of mental health, mental, not like you really can't prevent mental health, but they can work on mental health.

They can't prevent mental illness, but they can work on the mental health of their employees and they can focus on suicide prevention so that there's not such a huge loss in our lives. And it finds better work life balance. 

Maria Mayes: Absolutely. So, what would you recommend, Julie? Some of our [00:04:00] listeners are small business owners, um, and what would you recommend for the smaller business that you know, wants to create a safe space, wants to open up a communication?

Where do they start? What's one tip they can use? 

Julie Mclean: The first thing they need to do is really educate themselves. Know what to look for. Understand that somebody who seems like they're okay is not necessarily okay. Uh, I can, I... I can relate to that because the people that I've spoken to in my own personal circles had zero idea that I was struggling because I would put on a mask and I'd be, Hey, everybody has things going.

I'm okay. Everything's good. When in fact I was feeling like, Oh, I got to do this again. Yeah. So you have to really be in tune with people who are around you. If they seem really happy, go lucky one day and then a little bit out of it the next day, or they're [00:05:00] changing their habits, calling out sick more often, uh, not getting work done, feeling distracted, pay attention to those things because those are all signs that something's going on with that person.

Maybe they don't have that work life balance. Maybe they do have a mental health challenge or even a mental illness that. isn't being addressed. And so being able to recognize when people are struggling and on the verge of crisis, you don't want them to be on the verge of crisis. You want to be able to recognize that they're struggling and be open to talking to them and let people know that it is a safe place to talk and to express your feelings with no repercussions.

Maria Mayes: So I'm just going to kind of circle back through that. So it looks like the things that the, the business owner might want to look for are things like changes in [00:06:00] normal behavior, right? Swings up, swings down. Um, also you mentioned just being distracted or not able to stay focused within the task, right?

As well as then, absences, maybe, starting to miss days. And then, uh, you started to mention creating that safety of space for, uh, the individuals. How does a business owner do that? How can they, um, how can they create that safe space? What can they do to communicate that to their team, especially if they're kind of apprehensive of I don't even know where to start.

Julie Mclean: So if the space, the literal space is available, you can create a quiet room because sometimes, especially people with anxiety, just need to stop all that noise. So create a quiet room. A lot of employers, especially the big employers, have hotlines. Make sure that People know that that hotlines there [00:07:00] and when you're having team meetings or or company wide meetings, or even if you're a small business, just small little desk side chats, let people know that.

It is a safe space and you can come to, you know, designate a person, you know, if, if, if you have one person that you know is really empathetic, say to you, okay, go to this person, or, you know, if you need help, go to the safe space and press the button and somebody will come and, and sit with you if you need it or talk to you if you need it.

So there's so many things that can be done. In big companies and small companies to be able to help their employees, you know, get through those tough times. I'm always a big advocate of a quiet room. 

Maria Mayes: That's so amazing that you brought quiet room up. 

 I actually, that's part of what I help my [00:08:00] clients do is if I'm doing in person instruction.

And offering them my workplace relaxation videos is help them create a space and I love the terminology because I refer to it as a quiet room. Um, I just going a little bit back into my history, uh, in 2018 opened a wellness center downtown with my beautiful partner, Robin Schumacher, and we created a quiet room with the intention of allowing members to this wellness center to just step into it, close the door and literally just get quiet.

Julie Mclean: So there's plants in there and play some nice quiet music, just something to soothe the soul. 

Maria Mayes: It's so beautiful how the, the divine connection here on that, because, um, you know, for our listeners, we just met as part of this, um, we were thrown into a blind date, if you will, on a podcasting, event. And so it's so interesting how, those connections work, right?[00:09:00] 

I want to,, circle back to you. You mentioned, uh, dropping in a, or hitting the button one, you mentioned delegating someone or asking, find the leader within your team, right? That person who's a little more empathetic that it's kind of known that we all know who it is, right? Everybody radiates to that person.

I was that person for a long time in my career, right? So, um, So put that, put that person in charge of being kind of a leader in that space. And then also you'd mentioned hit a button. And so now we might not have an actual room where they can hit a button, but I'm just thinking for folks who leverage tools like Slack is a technology and messaging board that a lot of companies in the tech world use.

What about having a specific channel or a code word in there that someone can put in as. You know, this is our code word, meaning that I need help. So do you have recommendations like that? Are there, there are techniques to that? That was just the biggest thing. 

Julie Mclean: Yeah. I don't have any [00:10:00] recommendations for that, but if you create a culture of openness on mental health, then naturally people will start being open to talking and less, less stigmatized about.

Letting people know about their mental health. Um, It's so huge. A code word. I can even say that when I am in a crisis situation or I'm spiraling down, code words aren't going to help me because I get so far into myself that Can't physically say anything. Um, when I went through my last mental health crisis, I couldn't even answer questions.

It took 45 minutes for my therapist to actually get a yes out of my mouth so that she could help me. So finding a code word might be a little bit difficult, [00:11:00] but if somebody wants to. Yeah, yeah, I think that quiet room and like presses a button doesn't even have to say anything or leave the lights out in the quiet room.

And as soon as the lights go on, maybe, you know, not an alarm, but maybe a notification sent that, you know, somebody is in the quiet room, you know, yeah, like that. 

Maria Mayes: I'm so, , appreciative, Julie, of you pointing that out, because I think a lot of us can think, Oh, well, yeah, you could put this just like I said, put this in the slack channel and you're like, No, actually, when why I'm in the moment of crisis, that's not going to be sufficient.

Having that and I think it's, you know, I'm just thinking of these little electronic doorbells or alarms that you can get for inside businesses, having that inside the quiet room, like you say, where you can just hit a button. So if you know of recommendations on that, please let me know and we'll put that in the show links.

Julie Mclean: Especially with a button, it's something that You can, if you know you're really [00:12:00] having a challenge, you can just hit the button when you walk in, or if you just need quiet time, you don't have to hit the button. It's totally voluntary, and it's totally non verbally voluntary. Yeah, 

Maria Mayes: that non verbal piece is...

Julie Mclean: It's huge. It's absolutely huge. I can't tell you how many people said to me, well, why didn't you just tell me? Uh, I couldn't. 

Maria Mayes: Yeah. 

Julie Mclean: I couldn't get the words out. It's amazing what you don't know before you go into that.

Maria Mayes: I just want to pause and really, um, allow that to sink in for the audience.

So if one cannot get the words out, it's going to be really difficult to reach out for help, right? And so Julie's on here sharing that we need to create a safe space. In order to [00:13:00] allow folks to have access to a means to communicate without necessarily using verbal communication and this example you've provided of, you know, having a button.

Um, to basically alert folks while in a specific designated room and it doesn't have to be a huge room. I've created spaces in closets before for clients. So, um, it doesn't have to be a big real estate. We're talking about. Wow. It's beautiful. I think What I'd like to do since we're on pushed up on the edge of time is just, close with this.

And that is, one just again, Julie, just share maybe if you can recap. in, in a few words, why it's so important to have this in a workplace setting. 

Julie Mclean: We spend most of our time at work. Work is important to us. Even now in this digital age, we still can do things to [00:14:00] help each other. Being able to be a person that somebody can trust.

There's a lot of people that don't have anybody out there. Knowing that you can trust somebody, sometimes the best thing you can do for somebody is just sit there and be there. You don't have to talk to them. Knowing that when you're in a work environment, And all of a sudden your mind's going, and you can't stop it knowing that there's somebody there that can support you can get you through it, knowing that you're not going to lose your job over it, knowing that you're not going to get reprimanded over it.

That just takes a huge weight off of everybody's shoulders. So that in a nutshell, that's what it is, is just trying to be able to take that weight off of people who do struggle with their mental health or have mental illness. [00:15:00] And talk, just being able to have that open dialogue will prevent suicide.

Maria Mayes: Such a gift. Thank you so much, Julie, for sharing.

Julie Mclean: Thank you so much for having me.

Maria Mayes: How can folks get a hold of you? And then I have one more question for you. Sure. So they can go on my website, which is starttheconvo. net. So like starting the conversation, start the convo. net. My email is there. I have a Facebook and Instagram and a TikTok page.

I'm in the process of working on, um, I have LinkedIn as well. I have a whole bunch of suggestions on LinkedIn right now for companies on how they can create safe spaces. And I'm in the middle of making a YouTube. Channel 

all that in the show notes. So all those things available in the show. 

Julie Mclean: Everything that's available is on my website.

So start the convo. net. My email's even there if [00:16:00] you need to talk. And, and if you want to have me come into your company, I can have, I can come into your company as well and talk to you about things. Talk to your employees about being more opened about that. 

Maria Mayes: There you have Julie's a beautiful resource for us to take advantage of here.

Thank you for the offer, Julie. And we're going to end with one last question. And that is, what is your favorite type of wine to mindfully sip? 

Julie Mclean: A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I am a sucker for a nice Tangy grapefruit flavor and nowhere better than New Zealand and Kim Crawford is actually my favorite. So 

Maria Mayes: beautiful.

I enjoy Kim Crawford as well. So well, thanks again, Julie. And we'll talk soon. I'm sure. 

Julie Mclean: Fantastic. Thanks so much for having me, Maria. Thank you. Alrighty.

Maria Mayes:

 So that was a pretty deep conversation with Julie to the point where it might feel too light to jump into a conversation about wine, especially because many of us have lost people we love to suicide, and some of those people may have had struggles with alcohol. My intention behind this podcast is to always keep it real.


So this is the real; many of us have used wine or alcohol in general as a means to attempt to fill a gaping hole, to numb a stabbing pain, or to medicate a deep wound. If that's you, and you're still in the thick of it, I'm asking you in this moment to have grace for yourself. To come at yourself with compassion and please reach out to somebody, to anybody and let them know how you're feeling.


Ask for help. I know personally, I had to hit my own version of a rock bottom in order to step into a life without wine for a while, and then be able to transition into one, a relationship that was truly mindful. So it looks different for all of us because each of us are on our own journeys. That's the thing.


Their our journeys. So what I've learned is that there is liberation in embracing all of it. The good, the bad, the ugly, the light and the dark within each of us, because we all have both. It's all welcome here, and that is what allows me to jump from talking about something so dense to something much more delicate.


In this case, Julie's favorite wine, which I happen to be a fan of. Two, the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. So the Marlborough region of New Zealand is on the South island, but it's on the north part of the South island. So unfortunately, when I was over there about five years ago, I was much further south, so I didn't get a chance to get to Marlborough, but it didn't stop me from enjoying, uh, SavyB um, Marlborough is actually the largest wine growing region now in New Zealand, and they've got other varietals too, but it's Sav Blanc is the main show pony.


So from what I've read, the first Vines were brought over from Bordeaux to New Zealand by a Kiwi winemaker named Ross Spence in 1969. Um, and they made their way to Marlborough First Plannings in 1973, so super young. Um, and today it comprises the majority of New Zealand's overall production. I think it's more than 70% and more than 80% of its ex exports.


So just a ton of soft block grapes. So behind the name, this is kind of a fun fact.  Sauvage is, uh, the root for sauvignon, and that is a French word for wild. And sauvignon, blanc is kind of wild, right? Really zesty, really punchy, really bright, kind of a, I know it's been called sometimes the anti Chardonnay, so maybe that's why I started to drink more soft blanc in my forties because in my twenties I drank too much Chardonnay as mentioned in a previous episode. Um, but let's talk about Kim Crawford, because that's the one that Julie recommended. So kind of a fun fact about Kim Crawford is one of the, um, theories behind how it became so popular for us Americans is that it was easy to pronounce.


So if you think about, the other marble region brands, the other Kiwi brands, a lot of 'em are Māori, names. And so if you're not familiar with Maori, that's the indigenous Polynesian people, of New Zealand. And so a lot of the names. Are, um, represented as brands and they're hard to pronounce. So I don't know if that's true or not, but I read that somewhere and I thought that was kind of funny.


The Crawfords actually sold, um, Kim and Erica, and Kim's actually a, a male, um, sold their brand in like 2003 and then it was sold again, I think. And so Constellation, I believe is still the owner, really huge brand, right? So, but the. , the owners actually created Love Block, which is another brand, and they now specialize in organic and sustainable viticulture.


And so that will be maybe a topic of a future episode. We'll do a review on one of those. But going back to Kim Crawford, the last bottle I had was really young, like a  22 I think, or 21. So what Julie mentioned is grapefruit, and that's definitely the case here.  The one that I had lots of grapefruit and grass on the nose, and then like a bright lemony punch on the pallet, and then that zippy uplift on the end, on the back of the tongue, kind of some of the traits that, uh, Sav Blanc is known for.


And so there's a lot to explore in the California market too. So we'll talk about that more in a future episode. But for now, if you haven't checked out a New Zealand Sav Blanc, check 'em out.  Another one I recommend, if you can find it, is Cloud Watcher. So, If you are in the western part of the us,  there's a, uh, outlet or a grocery, they're independently owned, but Grocery Outlet is the name of the store and you can find some amazing wines there.


And Cloud Watcher is one I found there for, I think it was under 10 bucks a bottle.  But that had a lot of like lemon and wet cement and just, it had some effervescence and it was just, it was so bright. So, One of the reasons I love Sauvignon Blanc is that it's a really bright burst in your mouth type of wine.


And what I love pairing with Sauvignon Blanc is actually a salad. So let's talk salad for a moment. You know how everybody kind of has their signature thing that they bring to the potluck? Like, okay, this person brings, you know, casserole, or maybe it's the garlic bread or whatever it is. I'm known to bring the salad.


So if, if we're gonna have some sort of family thing, you know, they can count on me to bring the salad. And that originated out of me just always needing to throw stuff together last minute and whatever I have in the fridge. So usually my salads are a combination of whatever veggies I've got in the fridge, whatever I've got in the garden.


And then I just throw together a salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar as a base. And so, I had to go back and actually write down the,  amounts of this because I'm so used to just throwing them in on the fly. So definitely pulling in some of that  sacral chakra, that creativity there. But the salad dressing is gonna bring out all the brightness and compliment the sav blanc.


Well, and there's so many other things you can pair with it. I mean, I had, I think that, uh, Kim Crawford that I had recently, I had, um, salmon and a salad, but I also had a. Sweet potato with ghee and cinnamon, and that was a really nice pairing too. So just get creative, have fun,  and just play off the bright notes of the wine is my recommendation for a soft block pairing.


So check out those show notes. The links to the wine will be there, that salad dressing and salad recipe will be there. And most importantly, Julie's contact information will be there. And I wanna just say, special shout out to any of my Kiwi friends if they're listening. And, , now I encourage you to stick with me as I guide you through a relaxation designed to really help you step into a place of grounded presence and just release any fear that you have.