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International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day this Saturday

By From page A4 | November 15, 2017

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is Nov. 18. This international observance is designed to raise awareness about suicide loss. The event also aims to help those affected by suicide find comfort and gain understanding as they share their stories of hope and healing.

“Suicide affects many people, whether directly or indirectly,” said Laura Walny, manager with the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency. “Many people have either lost a loved one or friend to suicide or know of someone who has been affected. Sharing our stories can be difficult, but can also remind us that we aren’t alone.”

In El Dorado County nearly 350 people committed suicide between the years 2005 and 2015. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, people who have experienced a suicide loss may react differently depending on the situation. Some common reactions and feelings may include:

  • Grief
  • Rejection and abandonment
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Blame and self-incrimination
  • Shame and embarrassment
  • Isolation
  • Depression and sadness
  • Yearning

“If you have been affected by suicide loss, it’s important to seek out support for yourself,” said Walny. “Talk with a trusted friend or family member or join a support group. Make an appointment with a trained counselor if you are having an especially hard time coping, losing sleep or feeling depressed.”

Resources are available to assist those affected by suicide loss. Information and support are available via the National Suicide Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or the Friendship Line at (800) 971-0016 or by texting 741-741. Friends for Survival is a national bereavement support program for those who have lost a friend or family member to suicide. Information about the organization and support groups in the region can be found on the Friends for Survival’s website at friendsforsurvival.org. Friends for Survival also has a suicide loss helpline at (800) 646-7322.

The AFSP’s website — afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/ — also offers numerous resources for people affected by suicide. The website features stories of those who have lost loved ones to suicide, and a list of Survivor Day events being held in California. On Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. AFSP’s website will also host a special 90-minute online program for those who aren’t able to attend a Survivor Day event in person.

The El Dorado County Behavioral Health Division regularly offers free trainings on suicide prevention, and operates a 24-hour mental health crisis line at (530) 622-3345 for residents experiencing a mental health crisis. In an emergency, call 911.

For general information about El Dorado County Behavioral Health’s services call (530) 621-6290 or visit edcgov.us/mentalhealth.

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