Gillette Law - April 2018

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APRIL 2018


What follows is a discussion on suicide and its prevention. If you have lost a loved one or attempted suicide yourself, this content may be distressing. If you are currently having suicidal thoughts or thoughts about hurting yourself, please seek help. Resources are listed at the bottom of this article. Difficult conversations are often the most important, especially when education can make all the difference. Understanding suicidal depression, how to recognize it, and how to talk about it can save a life. Just last year, three of my clients took their own lives, and several other clients made an attempt on their own life. It’s a tragically common occurrence in disability law. So often, physical trauma or illness is accompanied by depression, PTSD, anxiety, and general feelings of hopelessness, the symptoms of which can be hard to spot. Having gone through my own training for suicide prevention from the American Bar Association, I want to pass on what I’ve learned in hopes of stopping such tragedies. Though National Suicide Prevention Week falls in September, rates begin to spike in April. Just because the weather is warmer does not mean people in despair feel any better. For many, the decision to end their own life doesn’t come on a whim. Suicidal thoughts can gestate for months or even years before an attempt is made. It can be hard to recognize when these thoughts plague a loved one. They may not know how seriously to take these thoughts themselves or might not feel comfortable sharing them. Warning signs include the following: • A preoccupation with death, such as writing poems or stories about dying • Expressing self-loathing or feeling they are a burden • Withdrawing from others, isolating themselves from friends and family • Feeling hopeless • Self-destructive behavior, including substance abuse and reckless driving • Talking about suicide, even if it was “just a joke”

• Getting affairs in order, crafting a will, or saying goodbye to people as if for the last time • Sudden calm after a period of being depressed When you feel a loved one is considering suicide, it is important to talk about it. Some people fear that bringing up suicide might put the idea into their head or make it more likely to occur. In fact, the opposite is true; by not asking, you send the message that you don’t care about their well-being. The key in these conversations is to be direct and empathetic. Let them know that you see they are in pain and that you are here to help. Listen to them, show interest in what they have to say, and be supportive. Their feelings are not up for debate. You can’t lecture someone into feeling better. What you can do is talk about practical, positive steps they can take. For those considering suicide, it can be hard to see how much they are loved. This conversation can be a bright spark in the night, one that can kindle real change. Encourage them to seek counseling, engage in self- care, and to make a safety plan for when their despair feels unbearable. Let them know that there are resources to help them through this difficult time. Resources National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Ayuda En Español: 1-888-628-9454

Veterans Affairs: Veterans, service members, and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255, or chat

N e x t D o o r Bu

online to receive free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. –Brian Gillette

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We value our clients and friends and want you to come to us for any legal need you may have, no matter the type of case. If it is in an area we do not practice, we will refer you to a trusted colleague to take care of you as we would. If you refer someone to us, we promise to answer his or her questions and provide first-rate, attentive service. Thank you for your referrals and for continuing to place your trust in Gillette Law Group, PLLC!


At Gillette Law Group, we strive to do good inside and outside the courtroom. With the Legal Food Frenzy wrapping up this month, we’ve begun looking for another opportunity to help those in need right here in Williamsburg. We didn’t have to look much farther than the Williamsburg House of Mercy. Formerly known as the St. Bede Outreach Center, the Williamsburg House of Mercy offers beds, showers, and hot meals to folks in need. Located at 10 Harrison Avenue, the shelter is our town’s only complete care center for our homeless brothers and sisters. Beyond caring for people’s immediate needs for food and shelter, House of Mercy offers financial and housing assistance, medical care and mental health services, transportation, and access to computers and job applications. These supportive services provide the stability and opportunity struggling folks need to build a brighter future. To make these lifesaving programs possible, House of Mercy relies on the compassion of our community. Help Those Who Help Others

opportunities to lend a hand. They have need for client advocates, food pantry volunteers, housing office assistance, furniture movers, and much more. To inquire about volunteering, visit the Williamsburg House of Mercy website at or email Ellen Boyko at For those who lack the time or ability to volunteer, you can also donate to the House of Mercy securely online. Just visit Together, we can make our community a better place. Spread the word to your friends and family, and let’s work to give our fellow Virginians the support they need. Join us in giving time, talent, or treasure to this lifesaving facility.

Donations and volunteer work keep the House of Mercy doors open. For those willing to volunteer, the care center provides plenty of

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Having a pet is a lot of responsibility. Your dog, cat, hamster, or whichever animal you prefer depends on you to take care of them, just as you may depend on them. The AHA argues that “the primary purpose of pet adoption or rescue should be to provide the animal a loving home and to enjoy the companionship.” Adopting a pet to create the initiative to start exercising is a great way to provide a pet with a loving home. If, however, you buy a dog and don’t take them out for walks, you won’t reap all of the benefits that they offer. Your pet can help you as long as you’re willing and able to take those steps. Owning a pet can be the

If you’re a pet owner, then you know the joys and pains of owning a furry little friend. Despite all the troubles that can come with owning a pet, nothing beats coming home after a tiring day and having your pet rushing out to greet you. Owning a pet is not only beneficial mentally, but physically, according to the American Heart Association. Having a pet can increase fitness levels, relieve stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and boost overall happiness and well-being. Not only can they help you physically, but they can provide social support, which can lead to healthier habits. Dog owners, for instance, have shown reduced cardiovascular risks. The AHA states that people who own a dog are more likely to engage in physical activity than those who don’t. A study of over 5,200 active- lifestyle adults showed that dog owners were 54 percent more likely to live active lives than those who didn’t. Exercise in general has been shown to increase both mental and physical health, which can boost confidence. Having a furry friend to encourage you to reach those goals can be even better for both you and your pet.

most rewarding, heartwarming, and beneficial gift for the both of you. Give a pet a good home and you’ll receive a loving partner and so much more!




CASHIER: “Would you like the milk in a bag, sir?”

Recipe from If you like chimichurri or salsa verde, you’re bound to love zhug. Zhug, originally from Yemen and now one of the “national sauces” of Israel, is a spicy, loose, herb-flecked sauce. Though bright and herbal from the cilantro, the sauce takes on a richness and depth from ground cumin and cardamom. It’s fantastic drizzled over a whole-grain bowl featuring quinoa and chickpeas, served with falafel, or spooned over grilled fish, shrimp, beef, pork, or chicken. Enjoy! Start to finish: 30 minutes. Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

DAD: “No, just leave it in the carton!”


8 small hot red peppers, stems removed

• 3 bunches cilantro (fresh coriander), washed and spun dry • 1 lime • 1/2 cup olive oil • 4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper


1. Using a food processor, blender, or meat grinder, shred the cilantro.

4. Add the red chilis and pulse until rendered into small red flecks in a sea of bright green. It’s okay if there are visible seeds. 5. Add the cardamom, cumin, salt, and pepper; blend until uniform.

2. Add the juice of 1 lime and olive oil; pulse into a green paste.

Maggie is Monica’s Catahoula leopard hound. She loves to herd geese!

3. Add the garlic and pulse until incorporated.

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INSIDE This Issue

Owning a Dog Can Help You Live Longer page 3 Zhug (Skhug) Recipe page 3 The Message Behind Kindness Rocks page 4

How to Recognize and Prevent Suicide page 1

We Welcome Your Referrals page 2 You Can Help the House of Mercy page 2



Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right? You wake up late, you can’t find your keys, the kids aren’t ready, and the day continues to unfold in a negative fog. Those difficult days are the reason Megan Murphy started the Kindness Rocks Project. After her parents passed away, she found comfort in finding heart-shaped rocks and sea glass on the beach. She realized that these small tokens might make other people feel better, too. Megan’s friend, one of the first to pick up a rock Megan had left behind, sent her an encouraging message after finding it: “If you did drop this rock, you made my day.” Since then, Megan has inspired others with randomly placed messages of kindness. She finds a rock, paints a kind message on it, and leaves it on the beach for others to find. And the idea has spread. As the project has grown, so have people’s stories about finding kindness rocks. When people find a kindness rock, they get a boost to their day, but they also feel inspired to pay the kindness forward.

adventure is in finding the rocks, so take the time to explore outside to find them. Maybe take the kids for a trek to a nearby park or beach.

Once you have your rocks, use nontoxic paint or spray paint to color them. Use bright colors so that others can spot them. After the paint has dried, use paint pens to write your messages on the rocks. These can be as simple as one word or as big as an inspiring quote or verse. After you’ve written your message, use a clear nontoxic sealant to protect your artwork so it will be there when others find it. Find an outdoor space to leave your rock — maybe even in the original spot you found it.

In a world that often seems dark, your message of kindness will serve as a beacon of hope for others.

“One moment can change a day, one day can change a life, and one life can change the world.” –Gautama Buddha

How to Make Your Own Kindness Rocks If you want to spread kindness, start with a few smooth 3- to 5-inch rocks. Part of the

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