Ep#25: Adoptee Suicide Awareness Series Pt 2: Interview with Nicole Sheppard
In the second episode of our Adoptee Suicide Awareness series, we talk to Nicole Sheppard, a Korean adoptee, long-time community advocate and leader, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) from the Twin Cities, Minnesota. This is a long episode, but a super important one: we not only talk about suicide but about adoptee mental health in general. Our conversation covers things like: common risk factors for adoptee suicide, how we can look out for each other and talk about suicide in helpful ways, the importance of learning to identify our feelings, set boundaries, and advocate for ourselves, and how community spaces and vulnerability can be a crucial pathway to connection and to healing.
Nicole was adopted to Minneapolis in 1978 at six months old and grew up with her older brother, also adopted from Korea. Korean culture camps played a formative role in Nicole's life, from kindergarten age through to high school, and during college when she returned as a camp counsellor. Nicole lived in Korea for 8 years in the 2000s, and during that time was actively involved in adoptee community development and advocacy, serving as Vice Secretary General of GOA'L for 6 years. Upon returning to the US, Nicole completed training to become a therapist. As a clinician, Nicole specializes in mindfulness and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for adolescents and adults. In addition to her clinical practice, Nicole is working on a Korean Adoptee Mental Health and Suicide Research Project, which was created in response to unaddressed suicide issues within the Korean adoptee community. Her wealth of experience engaging in, and supporting, the adoptee community in a variety of roles enriches and informs her current work.