International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Author: Carla Stumpf-Patton

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is on Saturday, November 17, 2018 and is intended to be a day of healing throughout the world, where all those who are affected by suicide loss can connect around the lives of their loved ones and the experiences of hope, support and encouragement. On this day, survivors will gather around the world in small and large events in local communities.

Suicide Survivor Seminar, hug

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or AFSP, oversees hundreds of host locations worldwide, and viewers are also encourage to watch β€œThe Journey: A Story of Healing and Hope,”  the AFSP-produced documentary about the suicide loss experience. Each Survivor Day Event is individualized and offers various programing, however all event sites will feature an AFSP-produced documentary that offers encouragement around growth, resilience and connection. For those who are not near a host site or are unable (or not ready) to attend a local event in person, AFSP allows you to view previous Survivor Day documentaries.

This day of healing day can be very powerful to those affected by suicide loss and many survivors who attend or participate in such events find a deep connection with others who have had similar experiences, thus discovering 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 online program can help you feel connected to the suicide community by learning more about coping and healing through suicide loss. This day can offer new insights about how fellow survivors are helping to bring about change around how society treats those who have endured loss by suicide. These courageous efforts by 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 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, a loss survivor, introduced a resolution to designate the Saturday before Thanksgiving National Survivors of Suicide Day, β€œan 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, TAPS 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 Suicide Postvention Programs.