3rd Annual Survivor of Suicide Day for 2019

Once again the Four County Suicide Prevention Coalition, in partnership with the Four County ADAMhs Board and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will sponsor the 3rd Annual International Survivor of Suicide Day for 2019.  This free event was developed in order to give survivors of suicide loss the opportunity to connect with other survivors, in an environment that promotes sharing, community and healing.  The day will include a screening of a short documentary film on surviving suicide loss, opportunities to connect with other survivors in small group discussions, the sharing of stories of loss and hope by three local speakers, a free meal and the opportunity to honor those loved ones lost to suicide.  Past events have been well received by those in attendance.

The event is traditionally held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in communities all over the world. This year’s local event will once again be held at St John’s Lutheran Church, on Saturday, November 23, 2019 beginning at 10:00am to 2:00pm.  St. John’s is located at 23120 US Highway 6, Stryker Ohio 43556, just south of Archbold, Ohio.  While the event is free of charge, registration is required.  Online registration is now open, and can be found by logging onto:


The event is open to anyone whose life has been impacted by the loss of a loved one to suicide, as well as friends and family members who support them. For more information on the Survivors Day Event, or resources available in Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties, contact Tonie Long at the Four County ADAMhs Board at 419-267-3355 ext 3, or Karen VonDeylen of Maumee Valley Guidance Center at 419-782-8856 ext 2138

2018 Survivor of Suicide Day

The second annual “Survivor of Suicide Day” will be held on Saturday November 17, 2018 from 10:00am to 2:00 pm. The event will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Church, just south of Archbold, Ohio. Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities, to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. In 2017, there were more than 350 Survivor Day events in 18 countries.

Please join us, as this is the only event taking place in our four county area. Last year’s event was a wonderful success, with more than 35 local survivors of suicide gathering together to honor their loved ones, and to speak out against the stigma of depression and suicide loss. This special day, is being co-sponsored by the Four County ADAMhs Board and the Four County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

This year activities will include:

  • Three local guest speakers who will share their experience of suicide loss and recovery.
  • A screening of the AFSP movie “A Daughter’s Journey“, followed by a guided discussion.
  • The opportunity to connect with other survivors and hear stories of healing and hope.
  • A closing ceremony to honor loved ones lost to suicide.
  • Lunch will also be provided at no cost.

Please register for the event online at: https://afsp.org/survivor_day/stryker-ohio/

For additional questions feel free to contact Tonie Long at 419-267-3355 ext 5, or by email at Tonie@fourcountyadamhs.com


Firearms Retailers Support Suicide Prevention

Since 1999 suicide deaths in the state of Ohio have risen by 36 percent. Locally the four county area has experienced an increase in the number of deaths, with 26 of our community members dying by suicide in 2017.  Mirroring the data at the national and state level, Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties continue to lose middle aged men between the ages of 35 and 64 years old. What’s striking about this fact is that while this age group makes up roughly 19 percent of the general population, they represent nearly 45 percent of all suicides.

Clearly middle aged males are over represented among those who die by suicide. The question is, why? There are many factors that can contribute to suicide among middle aged males. Untreated depression, the disruption of an intimate relationship, a significant health diagnosis, the loss of a job and access to firearms can all be precipitating factors. Among these factors, one of the most potent is access to firearms.  According to 2016 data from the Center for Disease Control, 53 percent of all U.S. suicide deaths are the result of a gun, with use of a firearm being the preferred method for males across all ages. It has been widely reported that women attempt suicide more often than men, but because males often choose firearms as the means, the result is more deadly.

The conversation surrounding guns and suicide is a challenging one. While it is important to mitigate the means for anyone at risk for self harm, a citizen’s right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  So how can we bridge this gap? Part of the solution may lie in a budding partnership between local firearms retailers, the gun sporting community, and the Four County Suicide Prevention Coalition (FCSPC).  Over the past year, the FCSPC has reached out to sporting clubs and firearms retailers, asking them to display and share information on gun safety related to suicide prevention.  The information encourages individuals in the community to remain aware of signs and symptoms of depression and suicide risk in themselves and their peers.  Firearm retailers are asked to share information on the subject developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, as well as CCW practice targets that include the local crisis and suicide prevention hotline.  As Tonie Long of the Four County ADAMhs Board and member of the FCSPC says, “The message is we’re not anti gun, we’re anti suicide. We are thrilled to be partnering with the firearms community, and hope that through this partnership we can encourage folks to start talking about suicide. We need to break the stigma that surrounds mental health issues like depression, so that we can get people the help that that can save lives.”

Baking for a Cause!

On Monday February 12, 2018, the Four County LOSS team held their monthly meeting.  Unlike typical gatherings, February’s meeting had a sweet surprise! The twenty LOSS team members in attendance spent part of their time packaging more than sixty-dozen home baked cookies. The cookies will be distributed to all county and municipal law enforcements departments in Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties. According to LOSS Team Coordinator, Tonie Long “The cookies are our way of thanking law enforcement for activating the Four County LOSS Team as part of the first response to suicide deaths in our communities. Without their support, we would not be able to reach those newly bereaved by suicide. Law enforcement’s  willingness to partner with the LOSS Team, allows our members to  provide the necessary care and support to families during a time of personal tragedy.”  All sixty dozen cookies, along with informational materials the LOSS Team and suicide prevention, are set to be delivered between February 13th through February 16th 2018.



LOSS Team volunteer, Billie Jo Horner

International Survivors of Suicide Event a Success

International Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. In 2016, there were over 350 Survivor Day events in 18 countries.  We were very happy to offer the first annual local International Survivor Day event here in the four county area.

On Saturday November 18, 2017 thirty-five area survivors of suicide loss gathered at St. John’s Lutheran Church, just south of Archbold, Ohio. The event included a screening of The Journey: A Story of Healing and Hope, as well as The Journey Revisited, in which six of the original Journey participants gather three years later to reflect on how their grief and healing journey is evolving. In addition to viewing the films, local survivors Teresa May and Sandra Manon shared their stories of loss and healing.  Participants also had the chance to connect with other survivors during guided discussion groups, as well as an opportunity to honor those lost to suicide.  Lunch was provided free of charge, with sponsorship of this first annual event provided by the Four County ADAMhs Board and the Four County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

One Step at a Time 5K a Success

On Saturday September 23, 2017, more that 400 are community members participated in the annual One Step at a Time 5K Run-Walk. The event, which began in memory of Scott Hammersmith, who was lost to suicide in 2006, was held again at the Defiance College athletic center. The weather was a perfect fall day, which encouraged  strong attendance for the race.  Activities included a hula hoop contest for the kids, music, as well as area  providers who shared information on local mental health resources and suicide prevention services. The athletic could choose to either run or walk the 5K course, along with a Memory Mile  which provided survivors the opportunity to honor the lives of their loved ones lost to suicide. Money raised through the annual 5K is used to support suicide prevention and awareness throughout Defiance County, Ohio.

(Maumee Valley Guidance Center staff  pictured left):
Laura Vanderhosrt, Bethany Shirkey, Mattea Gilbert, Taylor Hueston,
Erin Elting, Anne Mallet, Rachelle McDonald, Connie Planson, Erin Planson
(Quinn, Planson, Baby), Collen Planson, and Jeannie Wagner


New LOSS Volunteers Trained

Five new LOSS Team volunteers were trained on Friday, August 25, 2017, and will be part of the Four County suicide response efforts.  The new volunteers include Joyce Klear of Bryan, Richard Sheets of Defiance, Kathro Yoder of Defiance, Jan Lindsay of Archbold, and Karen VonDeylen of Malinta (pictured below).  Tonie Long of the Four County ADAMhs Board, trained the volunteers on the impact of suicide on families and communities, the history of the LOSS Team, and the Four County LOSS Team response protocol.  The day-long training included information on crime scene etiquette, which was provided by Sergeant Bryan Coger of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.

Pictured above: Joyce Klear, Sgt. Bryan Coger, Richard Sheets, Kathro Yoder, Jan Lindsay, Karen VonDeylen





LOSS Team Appreciation Event:

In place of the July 2017 LOSS Team meeting, LOSS Volunteers gathered for an opportunity to be recognized for their service to Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties.  LOSS volunteers are unique in their commitment to being an “Installation of Hope” in order to help those newly bereaved by suicide begin the journey toward recovery.  Les. McCaslin, ADAMhs Board CEO, said “The work being done by the Four County LOSS Team is having a very positive impact on families in our communities.”  Those in attendance enjoyed delicious food, warm fellowship, and wonderful music provided by The Bridge County Bluegrass Band.  Regular monthly team meetings will resume in August, 2017.

2017 National LOSS Conference

Four County LOSS Coordinator Tonie Long attended the 2017 National LOSS Conference on April 24th and 25th, 2017.  Tonie was joined by her husband, LOSS volunteer and survivor, Brad Long.  The theme for this year’s conference was “Strength in Numbers: Engaging the Community in Suicide Postvention”,  and was held in beautiful Phoenix Arizona. The conference was hosted by the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition, in collaboration with EMPACT- Suicide Prevention Center, a community based, non-profit behavioral health organization in Arizona.   The event was a unique opportunity to learn more about suicide postvention, and the Active Postvention Model known as LOSS.  LOSS team members, coordinators and survivors from all over the country were in attendance, with representation from several international teams as well.  Keynote speakers  Dr. Frank Campbell, Dr. William Feigelman, and Stewart Smith MA, LPC, presented information on suicide related trauma, grief, and recovery.  Information on growing and sustaining local LOSS teams was also presented.  Tonie Long described the conference as “A great opportunity to come together with people from all over the country to inspire new ideas, and to create new partnerships in the fight against suicide.” 

The National LOSS Conference will return to Phoenix in October, 2018.








LOSS Volunteer and Survivor, Brad Long pictured with LOSS Team members from Great Britain