The Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition and Owensboro Suicide Survivors Bereavement Support Group will sponsor the “International Survivors of Suicide Day” on Saturday (Nov. 23) at the Youth House, 311 Bolivar St.
Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., and a light lunch will be served. A candlelight program will take place at noon, followed by a DVD produced by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The DVD features personal stories of people who lost a family member by suicide. Also, professionals in the health care field will speak about suicide and grief.
“After that, we’ll open it up for local discussion,” said Bob Robey, the support group’s facilitator and a coalition board member.
Robey said suicide is a “difficult loss to grieve.”
“There’s still a stigma and shame attached to suicide,” he said. “Survivors have a hard time talking about it. Normally, you want to talk about a loved one who died, but friends, family and workmates don’t know what to say, so survivors have to grieve almost in secrecy, although it is getting better.”
Robey said death by suicide is different than death by illness or accident.
“This involves complex emotions,” he said. “There’s anger and guilt multiplied tenfold.”
“We know depression and mental illness are key factors complicating suicide and even attempts at suicide. Survivors deal with a lot of ‘why’ questions, and you may never get those answers.
“But people can survive. It’s not something you can’t grow from and have somewhat of a normal life.”
Robey said Saturday’s event is helpful because people who attend don’t have to share their story, just watch the DVD and listen to those on the panel.
Robey said one of the healthiest ways to survive a loved one’s suicide is to remember “how they lived, not so much how they died.”
The event is free, and although no preregistration is required, space is limited and it’s recommended that anyone planning to attend should call Robey at 276-5531, or email [email protected]
The Youth House is located behind SS. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church.