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Supporting Suicide Loss Survivors

Published in Behavioral Health Services, Mental Health, For the Health of It, Suicide Prevention 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. 18. 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, CentraCare will be holding our event in-person again from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 18, at CentraCare Plaza, 1900 CentraCare Circle, St. Cloud. Please register for the event at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

For additional resources that you may find helpful as a suicide loss survivor or someone who supports a suicide loss survivor, please see CentraCare’s Suicide Prevention information.

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.