County to have first Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event

A suicide loss survivor is a person living through the tragic aftermath of lossing a loved one to suicide, according to the  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

graphic reads "join us Saturday, november 20, 2021 on International Survivors of Suicide loss day"
(Photos from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).

Monroe County will have its first Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event on Nov. 20 at the Bedford Branch Library in Temperance from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is an event in which survivors of suicide loss come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience,” according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The event is free to attend and only for adults who’ve experienced loss from suicide.

“I think a lot of us as survivors feel like we have to hide our grief or tone it down for other people,” said Reid Depowski, President of Michigan Board for the AFSP. “This is a place to really show up and be authentic in how you feel and what you need at this point of your grief journey wherever someone is.”

The event is sponsored by AFSP’s Michigan Chapter.

“We will be showing a short film created by the AFSP featuring survivors and their stories of hope, opportunity to learn from fellow survivors and mental health professionals, and grief recovery activities,”stated the event’s website.

A panel including survivors of suicide loss and mental health professionals will discuss how they connect to the film, “The Journey,” after its showing, Depowski said.

“We will have some form of an art activity for people to be able to process their grief in a more physical expression,” Depowski said. “We’ll end the day with some breakout discussion.”

blue graphic that reads "healing takes time"Support staff will be there along with other resources and opportunities for referrals. 

Free breakfast and lunch will be served.

“All participants must show proof of vaccination or provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of the event start time,” Depowski said. “We strongly encourage all participants, vaccinated and unvaccinated, to wear masks. However, masks are not required.”

The event is co-organized by Depowski; Kaye-Lani Wilson, Executive Director of Gabby’s Ladder in Monroe; and Lisa Hughes, Adult Services Supervisor at Monroe County Community Mental Health. 

Survivors of Suicide Loss Day events are happening across the state, Depowski said. While it’s the county’s first, it won’t be the last.

“I have found tremendous healing in my own survivors of suicide loss events that I have attended,” Depowski said. “We will definitely plan to continue holding Monroe’s event too.”

Those interested can register at this link.