International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Author: Carla Stumpf Patton

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is on Saturday, November 23, 2019, 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 experiences of hope, support, and encouragement. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (or AFSP) supports hundreds of community events worldwide on this day. In 2018, 370 total events took place, including 32 international sites in 19 countries. Each event site is individualized and offers various programing; however all sites 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.

Suicide Prevention gathering on Capitol Hill

This can be a powerful day of healing for those impacted by suicide loss and many survivors who attend, 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. his 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 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 attend an event or learn more about the program. To learn more about the Survivor Day event, view previous documentaries, 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 suicide loss of a military service member, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is here to offer help at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277) or visit:  

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. 

Dr. Carla Stumpf Patton is TAPS Senior Director of Suicide Postvention Programs and surviving spouse of D.I. Sgt. Richard Stumpf, USMC.

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