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Healing from Suicide Loss: International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Published in Grief & Bereavement Services, For the Health of It Author: Lisa Bershok, MSW, LICSW, CentraCare Suicide Prevention Program Manager

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day brings those affected by suicide together for healing and support. Join other loss survivors for #SurvivorDay on Nov. 21. Find an event near you at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

In 1999, Senator Harry Reid, who lost his father to suicide, introduced a resolution to the United States Senate which led to the creation of International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. Also known as Survivor Day, the day was designated by the United States Congress as a day on which those affected by suicide can join together for healing and support. It was determined that Survivor Day would always fall on the Saturday before American Thanksgiving, as the holidays are often a difficult time for suicide loss survivors.

A survivor of suicide is a family member or friend of a person who died by suicide. Anyone who is close to someone who died by suicide, or feels affected by it, is a survivor. You do not have to be a family member to feel the impact of a suicide. For every person who dies by suicide, it is estimated that 100 people grieve their loss. Therefore, every year there are 5 million new loss survivors who experience the death of a person they cared about to suicide.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day allows survivors to find connection, understanding, and hope through shared experiences. Losing a loved one to suicide is a unique grief. A safe environment is provided for the attendees to share their experience in the presence of others who understand. The time is for sharing and remembrance, and the event is planned to allow loss survivors to be supportive of one another.

This year, due to COVID-19, CentraCare has partnered with the Minnesota Chapter of the AFSP to hold a virtual Survivor’s Day event. While how we connect will be different, the event will have the same format with the main activities being watching a loss survivor documentary and breaking into small discussion groups. Click here to register for the event.

For additional resources that you may find helpful as a suicide loss survivor or someone who supports a suicide loss survivor, please see below.

If you are interested in receiving a suicide loss bereavement packet from CentraCare’s Suicide Prevention program, please contact Lisa Bershok at 320-251-2700, ext. 23793. or

If you or someone you know, are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK).