“Suicide survivor program set for Nov. 22”
By Rich Suwanski Messenger-Inquirer
The International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is set for Nov. 22 with a program called “The Journey” from noon to 2 p.m. at SS. Joseph & Paul Youth House. 311 Bolivar St.
The program is free with registration starting at 11:30 a.m.
The program, which includes a light lunch, is intended for people who have lost family members or friends to suicide.
“It’s for anyone who has an interest in understanding suicide and preventing it in our community,” said Mike Flaherty, chairman of the Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the local coalition support the program, which includes a film and discussion.
“This helps people be more understanding and compassionate of those who have this special kind of grief,” Flaherty said. “Suicide is one of the most difficult deaths to reconcile for people left behind.
“For instance, people tend to be very supportive of individuals who have a family member die of more natural causes, but because of the continued and unwarranted stigma of death by suicide, people shy away from those who lost a loved one in that manner.”
Flaherty said people may avoid a person affected by suicide because they don’t know what to say or how to act.
“People have a real difficulty understanding suicide and don’t know how to respond,” he said. “The manner of death isn’t what should drive compassion for people, but it does come into play. It’s a tragic death, and that’s what people need to understand.
“People who have lost someone in that manner need as much or more support than those who have lost someone by natural causes.”
Flaherty said there are a lot of people who have been affected by suicide who could benefit from the program.
“For every death by suicide, there are scores of persons affected by it,” he said. “The stigma of suicide makes survivors reach out for support. There may be unfounded shame and guilt, but they have to realize that the person who died by suicide had a mental illness, depression or maybe bipolar disorder, and a lot of times that’s combined with substance abuse.”
Rich Suwanski, 270-691-7315, or [email protected]
To Learn More
For more information, contact Linda Hagan, the facilitator of the local Survivors of Suicide group and the Survivor’s Day program, at [email protected] Or go online to www.orspc.org.