When a high profile figure dies by suicide such as actor Robin Williams, blogger Karyn Washington, creator of the ‘For Brown Girls’ blog, and X-factor finalist Simone Battle, it sparks discussions but then disappears again. For those affected by a personal loss it doesn’t disappear it becomes a part of their life. They become a part of a community on The Journey to heal all over the world.
There is a negative stigma around speaking about death by suicide. Some people may avoid those who have lost someone to suicide because they don’t know what to say. Survivors can feel isolated from the world. In families, it can be ignored as if it didn’t happen; the family secret. There can be guilt, blame, and even attacks on the person who took their life, using words like selfish or weak.
Unless you are affected by suicide loss you may not know November 22, 2014 is the 16th annual International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. The day was created by an Act of Congress in 1999 following passage of a resolution introduced by Senator Harry Reid. For survivors, it’s a day to gather with others to remember you are not grieving alone and to remember the life of the person you’ve lost. This year the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will hold over 275 events worldwide.
If you cannot attend one of these events, you can join Survivor Day Live at 1:00 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time in the United States) on November 22. This will be an AFSP-hosted 90-minute live program featuring a screening of The Journey documentary, a post-screening discussion with fellow suicide loss survivors and experts on coping with a suicide loss, and a Q&A with online viewers.
The Journey, the 2014 International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day film created by AFSP is a 30-minute documentary of Healing and Hope featuring AFSP Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Christine Moutier, and a diverse group of suicide loss survivors from a veteran whose son died by suicide after returning from military service in Afghanistan to a college student whose boyfriend took his life while in high school. A common theme in the film is to not try to heal alone. Survivors can try therapy, volunteering with AFSP, attending support groups, etc.
It’s an emotionally compelling and inspiring film that shows how each survivor is weathering the loss of a loved one, and how they are all finding their way back to a life rich in meaning-and even joy.
To read about a personal experience attending the screening / panel discussion in Washington, DC on November 17, 2014 visit: shininlight.com/TheJourney.