International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, which falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in 2024, promotes community development and support for individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide. When someone dies by suicide, it affects those who knew and cared for them. For those people, tragedy and grief can be particularly difficult to handle. Today is all about showing support and love to those who have survived suicide.
When is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day
On International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, people who have experienced suicide loss come together to share their stories in an effort to connect, understand, and find hope. International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day will be observed this year on Saturday, November 19, 2024.
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day History
Different perspectives on suicide have evolved over time. Depending on the country and the religion of the society, it has been both endorsed and condemned. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are against it, while the Indian Brahmans are tolerant of it. In ancient Greece, those who were found guilty of crimes were permitted to commit suicide, making it acceptable under certain circumstances. Near the end of the Roman Empire, the guiding principles changed.
In an effort to reduce the suicide rate in medieval Western culture, canon law was followed by criminal law. However, although suicide rates stayed the same, the impact it had on society was modest. The criminal sanctions for attempting suicide were eliminated for European nations after the French Revolution in 1789, but it took England until 1961 to follow suit.
Between 1950 and 1980, there was little change in the suicide rate for adults in the United States, but there was a large rise in the suicide rate for younger people. had to broaden their understanding and the roles that drug and alcohol, mental illness, suicide clusters, and the availability of firearms affected society.
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day was established in 1999 as a result of a resolution proposed by US Senator Harry Reid. Reid lost his father to suicide in 1972, therefore he felt strongly about the issue. The holiday season can be challenging for survivors, so it was placed before Thanksgiving after being designated by Congress. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention supports Survivors Day activities worldwide each year and the peace it fosters.
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day Activities
Take part in a Survivors Day event
Events for Survivors Day is provided by UHS, allowing you to participate in messages of hope and healing. At some of these gatherings, films, and documentaries on surviving suicide after a shared loss are screened. They represent all of the challenging phases, such as denial, solitude, mourning, and the methods for overcoming pain. You can watch the program online at www.afsp.org/SurvivorDay if you can’t attend in person.
Put it on paper
When things are tough, using art to express yourself may be really helpful. To record your thoughts, grab a journal or your computer. You can do this by writing a poem, a short narrative, or just a simple journal entry. You can learn to understand your feelings and where they are coming from by expressing yourself. You may feel more in control of something when you transform something challenging into something true and lovely.
Join a local grieving support group
Giving your own story to a group of people can be intimidating, but support groups provide a safe environment for you to interact with other people who have been affected by suicide. As people struggle to cope with the difficulties of living with it, it serves as a place of understanding. You’ll gain from talking to and hearing from experts who can support you in overcoming your own obstacles.
• “Allow yourself to grieve. We all grieve in our own time in our own way.” -Sally-Ann Ganzer.
• “A person never truly gets ‘over’ a suicide loss. You get through it. Day by day. Sometimes it’s moment by moment.” -Holly Kohler.
• “Know it wasn’t your fault. Know someday you may take comfort in educating people about suicide.” -Sue Mahlburg.
• “Please reach out. Speak up. The worst thing you could do is to stay silent like I did for so many years.” -Kelsey Elizabeth Oney.
• “When I lost my brother to suicide, the most helpful thing for me was part of a support group. Through that support, I learned to honor my brother’s life and the wonderful person he was by sharing stories.” -Judie Zerilli.
• “Read books written by other survivors. Write.”- Shakeena Faith
• “Don’t become a statistic yourself. Get counseling and be open to psychiatry if you need it.” -Christine Anderson.
• “You will survive, and you will find purpose in the chaos. Moving on doesn’t mean letting go.” -Mary VanHaute.
• “So far, the best thing for me has been advocating during difficult times for prevention. It helps me to focus on the positive.” – Sherrie Gerdon.
Suicide Survivor Outcomes
As a suicide survivor, it can be very difficult to move on after the intentional death of a loved one. Unanswered questions, grief, and an unexpected loss can take a toll on survivors. Suicide survivors are at risk for complicated bereavement, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Grief counseling, suicide support groups, and suicide hotlines and organizations can all be great assets for suicide survivors. Seeking help to prevent unhealthy patterns and coping skills cannot only help with the grieving and prevent long-term complications, but it can also help the individual get into the community and to understand and raise awareness about suicide. Becoming a suicide prevention advocate can be a form of therapy in itself. The following are books on suicide written by survivors detailing how they have dealt with their tragic loss.
- Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief: Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., Chellehead Works, 2010.
- Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide: Christopher Lukas and Henry M. Seiden, Ph.D., Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007 (revised edition).
- Suicide of a Child: Adina Wrobleski, Centering Corp., 2002.
- Black Suicide: The Tragic Reality of America’s Deadliest Secret: Alton R. Kirk, Ph.D., Beckham Publications Group, 2009.
- Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss — A Guided Journey: Robert E. Lesoine and Marilynne Chopel, Parallax Press, 2013.