Chicago, IL, December 09, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Research shows that during the course of our lifetime, more than 60 percent of us will know someone who dies by suicide and more than 20 percent of us will lose a family member. Every suicide leaves behind family members and friends --“survivors”-- to cope with the loss.
To help, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has created and launched the Survivor Outreach Program, which involves sending AFSP-trained volunteers who have lost a loved one to suicide themselves to visit with those who are recently bereaved. Volunteers will provide information about local resources, including support groups, survivor conferences and suggested reading materials designed to help survivors heal. They will also listen, share their own experiences and offer reassurance that surviving suicide loss is possible. Visits are made upon request only.
“When you lose a loved one to suicide, it can feel like no one really understands what you’re going through. Survivors often feel like they are alone,” said Christine Mitchell, Illinois Area Director for AFSP. “AFSP’s trained volunteer survivors have been there, so they can offer invaluable support, information and reassurance.”
Currently, there are 23 trained volunteers in Illinois with plans to add more volunteers in the near future. Those interested in scheduling a visit should contact the Illinois office of AFSP at 847-695-6799.
AFSP is dedicated to helping survivors and has several other programs designed to support them including AFSP’s National Survivors of Suicide Day program held the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year. On November 22, 2008, the tenth annual Survivor Day program will be broadcast simultaneously to more than 100 conference sites across the country including many locations across Illinois. It will feature a panel discussion comprised of “veteran” survivors sharing their personal experiences after loss and mental health experts in the field of suicide bereavement. The program will also be available online and archived for an entire year at www.afsp.org. Visit the website for details on the local conference sites. Visit www.afsp.org/illinois for more information on programs and events throughout the state.
About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.