Suicide Survivor Events Being Held To Help

November 15, 2016

BROOKVILLE/CLEARFIELD - Suicide rates in the United States have been increasing dramatically since 2006. According to the Centers for Disease Control there is one suicide every 12.8 minutes in the United States which equals over 101 completed suicides daily.

This leaves at least six friends or family members behind per death, and there are so many more not counted in that statistic.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, at hundreds of local gatherings on six continents, survivors of suicide loss gather together to remember their loved ones and offer each other support on Annual International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.

This event helps these individuals to feel a sense of community, to promote healing and to connect with others that have had similar experiences. It helps survivors to realize that they are not alone in their experience of grief.

There are two events in the area, according to Nancy Florio Community Relations Coordinator for the Penn Highlands Brookville Behavioral Health Services.

One will be at Penn Highlands Brookville and the other will be held at Penn Highlands Clearfield. Both are being held in conjunction with the Clearfield-Jefferson Suicide Prevention and Awareness Team.

At PH Brookville, it will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the PH Brookville Education Conference Center next to the hospital building.

Walk-ins are welcome but pre-registration will greatly help with planning. Pre-registration for the event can be done by emailing Florio, at [email protected] or by registering at

Check in will begin at 11:30 a.m. with lunch provided at noon. The program will start at 12:30 p.m. with guest speaker, Debbie Michuck, suicide survivor and chairperson of the Clearfield-Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team Survivor’s Committee.

At PH Clearfield, the program will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the hospital in the Third Floor Conference Room. This is accessed through the elevator down a hall on the left. The elevator in the lobby does not go to the third floor.

Lunch and snacks will be provided. The speaker at the Clearfield event is Theresa Gray, survivor.

To register for the Clearfield event, go to the website or directly to Patricia McCullough, chairperson, directly at [email protected]

At both
At both events, the 30 minute DVD from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be shown. This year’s DVD is entitled “Life Journeys: Reclaiming Life after Loss.” The DVD features the personal stories and insights of other suicide survivors and shows that through resilience and support that can achieve hope and understanding while celebrating the lives of those lost. This will be followed by a period of group discussion.

For more information go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website at -- look under the heading “Coping with Suicide.”

Why attend?
Survivors of suicide have endured one of the most horrific ordeals possible in the human experience, Florio said. The death of a loved one by suicide triggers a roller coaster ride of emotions that are unlike any other. Along with grieving the loss of a loved one, survivors of suicide often experience feelings of guilt, anger, resentment, failure, remorse, confusion and stigma.

These feelings may also cause survivors to feel isolated or alone in their grief. Losing a loved one to suicide is different than losing a loved one as the result of a disease or a tragic accident. With suicide the person has actually chosen death. People don’t know how to relate to death by suicide. They are at a loss for how to comfort a survivor.

Survivors of suicide often feel alone and reluctant to discuss their feelings or emotions about the death of their loved ones. They are often afraid that they will be condemned, judged or blamed for their loved one’s death by others for not trying to get that person help.

“We hope this program helps anyone who is a survivor,” Florio said. “We are here to help.”