Model Program for Survivors of Suicide

Worldwide there about one hundred million new survivors of suicide in any ten year period. In the United States there are several million new survivors in the same period, and about 500 groups that provide them support. SPI is training mental health professionals at qualified social service agencies in the New York Metropolitan Area in a comprehensive program of support for survivors of suicide. When it is fully underway, we hope to extend this Model Program for Survivors to other cities. We have also trained qualified personnel at the Beijing Suicide Prevention Center in China and the program is being implemented there. The Center will be training other groups in China to help survivors of suicide.













Suicide Bereavement 

Who are Survivors of Suicide?
Family and friends who have lost someone to suicide

Each death to suicide leaves behind 5-10 survivors

50-100 million people worldwide deeply affected by the suicide of  a close relative or friend over a ten year period

In U.S two to three million new survivors over a
  ten year period
Suicide Bereavement is Unique 
  Grief is not necessarily different in intensity from that of other bereavement

Nor does it necessarily last longer

Difference is in the nature of the experience
Unique Problems of Survivors of Suicide
•   Bewilderment - a need to understand that is never completely satisfied
•   Guilt - that the survivor should have been able to prevent the suicide
•   Anger - toward the person who took his or her life; a feeling that the survivor may consider unacceptable.
•   Shame - related to stigma society still attached to suicide
•   Isolation - feeling that others cannot understand their grief
Children as Survivors of Suicide
• Children who have lost a parent or sibling to suicide are particularly apt to be devastated
• They need support as much or more than adults.
• Particularly vulnerable to feelings of abandonment
  and guilt
• Surviving parents need help for their children’s sake as well as their own
Value of Support Groups 
• Connecting with other survivors
• Being able to talk openly about surviving a suicide with others who can understand
• Sharing grief with other survivors can help the
   healing process
• So can meeting survivors who have been able to go on
   with their lives
Support for Survivors
 •  Survivor support programs are helpful to many survivors

•  They are more so when they are led by individuals qualified to do so and when they    have an effective plan for helping those they serve

•   Majority are without either

•  SPI is implementing a model support program with effective plan for helping survivors

•   We are training mental health professionals in social service agencies in how to employ this model with survivors of suicide
Model Program
Individual help for survivors who need it.

Weekly support groups of 10 sessions for the recently bereaved.

Ongoing monthly support groups.

Special groups for children who have lost a parent or sibling to suicide.

Mental health professionals participate in all groups.
Suicide Prevention International (SPI) 
A not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing, implementing, and funding suicide prevention projects in the U.S. and worldwide
Remains closely involved with the projects it implements
SPI is also committed to helping survivors of suicide
Survivors of Suicide play an important role in helping SPI implement suicide prevention initiatives
Contacting Us 

If you want to volunteer to help SPI develop and implement its support programs for survivors of suicide, please email cdevoogd@spiorg.org.