International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Author: Carla Stumpf-Patton

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is on Saturday, November 18, 2017 and is intended to be a day of healing throughout the world, where all those impacted by suicide loss can connect around the lives of their loved ones and the shared stories of hope, support, and encouragement.  The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or AFSP, oversees more than 350 host locations and will include a screening of The Journey: A Story of Healing and Hope, the AFSP-produced documentary about the suicide loss experience. For those who are not near a host site or are unable (or not ready) to attend a local event in person, AFSP offers another option to participate through a 90-minute online program on November 18, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. Eastern (3:30 p.m. Central, 2:30 p.m. Mountain, 1:30 p.m. Pacific).

Suicide Survivor Seminar, holding hands

The day can be very powerful to those impacted by suicide loss and many survivors who attend or participate in such events, find a connection with others who have had similar experiences and come to find they are not alone.  Finding a host site near you might allow you to meet other survivors in your community and learn about local resources.  Participating  in the on-line program can help you feel connected to the survivor community by learning about coping and healing through suicide loss. This day can also offer insights about how fellow loss survivors are helping to bring about change around how society treats those who have endured loss by suicide. The courageous efforts of survivors are also helping to save lives from suicide. 

Talking about suicide and being able to process the grief in a safe setting can be instrumental in the healing process. We encourage you to consider attending or at least to learn more about the program.  To learn more about the Survivor Day event, view the event trailer video, or find a host location near you, please visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

According to AFSP, the observance of this event "began in 1999 when Senator Harry Reid (also a loss survivor) introduced a resolution to designate the Saturday before Thanksgiving National Survivors of Suicide Day—an occasion for families and friends of people who died by suicide to join together for healing and support. That day was chosen because the holidays are often a difficult time for loss survivors. With the World Health Organization reporting approximately 800,000 people dying by suicide each year, it soon became clear there was a global need for this observance, which is now officially called International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day".  

If you  have endured the loss of a military service member to suicide, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is here to offer help at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277)  or visit: www.taps.org/suicide.  

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)  (Veterans Press 1), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. 

From the pen of...
Dr. Carla Stumpf-Patton, TAPS Director of Postvention Programs