Chicago Foundation Responds to Nationwide Suicide Rate Increase with Local Survivor Day

Chicago, IL, November 16, 2008 --( The greater Chicago/Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP-IL) will hold its annual survivors’ conference in the wake of a recent study finding that national suicide rates have increased for the first time in a decade.

The greater Chicago/Illinois Survivors of Suicide Day will be held on Saturday, November 22, 2008 from 11AM to 4PM CT at the University of Chicago Gordon Center at 929 E. 57th Street, Chicago. Including a 90-minute webcast panel of experienced survivors and mental health professionals, lunch, and small group discussions, the Chicago event is part of AFSP’s 10th annual National Survivors of Suicide Day programming.

The Survivors of Suicide Day represents a growing movement toward educating the public about suicide and its aftermath and providing support to those who have been personally affected by it. "This day is both meaningful and helpful to the survivors that participate," AFSP Director of Survivor Initiatives Joanne Harpel said. "It is a day of remembrance that provides survivors with a unique avenue to connect with others who have survived this tragedy of suicide loss."

The rate of suicide in the United States is increasing for the first time in a decade, according to a new report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Injury Research and Policy. The increase in the overall suicide rate between 1999 and 2005 was due primarily to an increase in suicides among whites aged 40-64, with white middle-aged women experiencing the largest annual increase.

Over 30,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year. Considering the current financial crisis, the problem could get worse, and because survivors are so profoundly affected by each tragedy, efforts like the Survivors of Suicide Day are essential to Chicagoland residents’ mental health.

For those survivors of suicide loss who don't live near the conference or find it difficult to attend in person, the 90-minute webcast will also be available on the AFSP website from 12-1:30PM CT, with a live online chat immediately following the program.

About AFSP-IL: The greater Chicago/Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to serving the national AFSP mission: understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and reaching out to people with mood disorders and those impacted by suicide. For additional information on National Survivors of Suicide Day or to register for the event, please visit

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Alexandra Levit
(708) 927-8545