AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION LAUNCHES NEW PROGRAM TO REACH OUT TO THE RECENTLY BEREAVED

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Program launch coincides with National Suicide Prevention Week, September 9 – 15th

September 12, 2012 (San Diego) – Every 15 minutes, someone in the United States dies by suicide. Every 16 minutes, someone is left behind to make sense of it. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s new Survivor Outreach Program provides those left behind after a death by suicide comfort and reassurance that there is help, and there is hope.

Research shows that during the course of our lifetime, more than 60 percent of us will know someone who dies by suicide and more than 20 percent of us will lose a family member. Every suicide death leaves behind family members and friends – “survivors” – to cope with the loss.

To help, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) created the Survivor Outreach Program, which sends specially trained volunteers, who are survivors themselves, to visit with those who are recently bereaved. Visits are made upon request only, and volunteers provide information about local resources, including support groups, healing conferences and helpful reading materials. The volunteers will also listen with compassion, share their own experiences, and offer reassurance that surviving a suicide loss is possible.

“When you lose a loved one to suicide, it can feel like no one really understands what you’re going through.  Survivors often feel like they are alone,” explains Jessica van der Stad, AFSP’s San Diego County Area Director. “AFSP’s trained Survivor Outreach Program volunteers have been there, so they can offer new survivors invaluable support, information and reassurance.”

Newly-bereaved survivors of suicide loss and their families who live in San Diego County can arrange a visit through the local Survivor Outreach Program, offered by the San Diego Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Those interested in scheduling a visit should visit www.afsp.org/outreachprogram or call 619-301-1613 for more information.

AFSP’s Survivor Outreach Program is made possible by contributions from the annual Out of the Darkness Community Walks campaign. The 2012 San Diego Out of the Darkness 5K Walk to Prevent Suicide will be held on Saturday, October 20th at Embarcadero Marina Park North. For more information, please visit www.outofthedarkness.org.

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.