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

 

 

 

 

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

LOSS Team Volunteers

There are 27 volunteers who are part of the Four County  LOSS Team.  All volunteers complete a full day LOSS training and undergo an application screening process to participate on the team.  The first organizational meeting was held May 11,2015.  The volunteers participate in ongoing monthly organizational meetings which provide information and support to further their ability to respond to a death by suicide.  The LOSS Team is ready to respond to calls from first responders on a completed suicide in Defiance, Fulton, Henry or Williams counties. Community members who are interested in participating with the L.O.S.S Team should contact Tonie Long at 419-267-3355 ext#5, or at Tonie@fourcountyadamhs.com.

LOSS presented at Stryker Rotary

 

Stryker Rotary

Suicide survivors need support following this traumatic experience. Four County ADAMhs Board has begun to aid with this support by providing a L.O.S.S. team in the four county area. Local Outreach to Survivors of Suicide or L.O.S.S. provides a team of trained volunteers to support those who are left behind. Pamela Pfium and BJ Horner spoke to the Stryker Rotary Club about the services provided as well as the importance of survivors getting help at their October 13th regular meeting. This type of support has been available for children for a number of years in our area, but help for adults is something that just began in May of this year. Statistics tell us that a suicide survivor is nine time more likely to become a victim of suicide. The survivor requires four and one half years to recover from this traumatic experience without help. The support provided by L.O.S.S. can reduce the recovery time to as little as 37 days. This area experienced 122 deaths by suicide in a seven year period from 2008 thru 2014. More than half of those deaths were adults age 40 thru 50, with 80% being men. A L.O.S.S. team is on call 24 hour per day to assist, working closely and directed by the law enforcement at the scene. The team consists of three or four trained volunteers, including at least one suicide survivor. In addition to the L.O.S.S. team at the scene, support groups also meet regularly to assist with the healing process. Pamela and BJ spoke to the club as a guest of Stryker Rotary Member Steve Planson. Pictured from left to right are Steve Planson, BJ Horner, and Pamela Pfium.