GREENSBURG – The taboo topic of suicide is getting more attention lately and with that new wave of information, a sometimes forgotten group of people is being highlighted – the survivors left behind in the wake of suicide.
Suicide affects far more people than just the person who chose to take his or her own life. The survivors of suicide have many unanswered questions and feelings they don’t know how to handle. The survivors left behind to deal with the aftermath of their loved one’s death may feel depressed and alone, with little idea for where to turn.
Thanks to the organizers of the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk and local suicide survivors, there will be a support group starting to help deal with all the dismal and confusing feelings. Starting at 6:30 p.m. on April 17 at Aspen Health Campus, the first meeting of the suicide survivors support group will take place.
The support group is tentatively called Heartbeats or Heartbeats for Hope. That may change if those in attendance choose a different name. According to organizer Melanie Maxwell, there will be an abundance of empathy, compassion and support.
“They need to realize they are not alone,” Maxwell said.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), more than 30,000 Americans die from suicide each year. Published NIMH statistics also state that for every successful suicide, there are 11 attempted suicides. With the frequency of suicide deaths, one needn’t look too far to find someone whose life has been touched by suicide in one way or another.
Support groups provide a safe place for those whose lives have been affected by suicide to share their feelings and support one another. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and while groups may help, one should do what they are comfortable with and what is best for them.