Survivors After Suicide
Surviving the suicide of someone close to you is one of the most traumatic experiences a person will ever endure. For a time it seems that the pain is unending. The Survivors After Suicide (SAS) program at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services has been helping survivors find their way since 1980.
The Survivors After Suicide program understands the special needs of those who have suffered this difficult kind of loss. The program was co-founded by a survivor after her twenty-three-year-old brother died by suicide. After searching alone for answers and relief from her pain, she found help by talking to others who shared similar experiences.
Losing someone to suicide can cause:
Our goal is to help survivors cope with the death of their loved one so they can move forward in their lives in a positive and productive way. Participants say the program offers a place where they are able to talk with others who understand because they, too, have lost someone to suicide. They can share experiences, ask questions, and disclose feelings that they are often unable to express elsewhere. Most important, participants find a place where there is no shame, no stigma and no isolation involved in being a survivor.
The primary feature of the Survivors After Suicide program is an eight-week support group:
- typically composed of six to ten survivors
- will meet once a week for one and a half hours, for eight consecutive weeks
- allows group members to develop safe, secure bonds with each other, thereby improving their healing process
- facilitated by a therapist with expertise in suicide bereavement
- co-facilitated by a survivor who has lost a loved one to suicide, went through the eight-week group program, and now volunteers his or her time to help others
Reading materials regarding surviving the loss of a loved one to suicide are handed out at the beginning of each of the eight sessions. This allows survivors to learn more about the grieving process in between group meetings.
Follow-up meetings offer ongoing support after the eight-week group. Those who complete the eight-week program may attend these monthly meetings for as long as they feel the need.
After completing a group, survivors are also sent a quarterly newsletter, free of charge. Issues of the newsletter may viewed here.
Groups are held in:
West Los Angeles (Culver City)
San Fernando Valley (Sherman Oaks)
South Bay (Redondo Beach)
San Gabriel Valley (San Gabriel)
For more information on the Survivors After Suicide bereavement support services, call: (310) 895-2326
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