By: Stephanie Quon
Going through grief takes a village. Unfortunately, essential community support isn’t always available to those grieving someone lost to suicide. The Crisis Centre of BC continues its work in building community for suicide loss survivors during this year’s International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day on Saturday, November 18th. The Centre, in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will be hosting an online event in which survivors of suicide loss come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experiences.
“When people are impacted by suicide, one of the main responses is isolation. This is because there is a component of stigma to suicide, and therefore, people often do not feel understood,” says Jessica Wolf, Bereavement Coordinator at the Crisis Centre. “Giving people an opportunity to meet with others with the same life experience offers a sense of belonging and sameness and a chance to build a community of people impacted by suicide loss.”
The event will consist of two parts: an educational piece and a space to share. The “Coming Back to Ourselves” presentation will explore orienting ourselves after loss and methods for finding gentleness for our communities and ourselves. The event will also give space for facilitated circles where participants can connect with others who have similar life experiences.
A goal of this event is to build community and social support for people who have experienced suicide loss. Community is important because it provides the feeling of not being alone and helps to normalize difficult feelings. At the event, participants are encouraged to talk openly and share with others what their grief is about, what has been helpful, and what has been challenging.
“We recognize that there can be hesitation with attending this type of event, as people may be raw in their grief and suicide loss can be traumatic,” says Wolf Ortiz. “We make sure we create a safe space and follow guidelines to ensure people feel safe, connected, and welcome as they are.” One of the ways the facilitators ensure this is by making participation voluntary; participants are invited to share as much or as little as they want.
This will be the third year that the Crisis Centre is hosting this event, and the event has received positive feedback in the past.
“Every event we host, we ask people what their takeaways are and invite people to share,” reflects Wolf Ortiz. “It’s really beautiful to see our chat fill up with comments mentioning things like community, compassion, and belonging.”
Join a compassionate community of individuals to find healing in community on November 18th, 2023 for International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. Registration is available here.
Please email email@example.com if you have any questions about the event.