With the recent news of the untimely death of singer Simone Battle, so close to that of Robin Williams, there has been a lot of focus on the lives of those who died as well as the loved ones left behind, the survivors of suicide, a term that could be applied to almost 5 million Americans.
What isn’t frequently discussed, though, is what takes place in the aftermath of the suicide, the challenges that those survivors have to contend with, the stigma they often face and the blame and derision that can accompany the death of a loved one to something society considers taboo.
For over 25 years, Samaritans has had the privilege of working with and providing support through our Safe Place programs to those whose lives have been touched by suicide, hundreds of men and women from every walk of life, age, race, culture, social, sexual and religious identity. And we are constantly reminded of the universality of suffering, that suicide knows no bounds.
We have also seen the indomitability of the human spirit, how people strive to overcome their grief and loss—and the anger, guilt, sadness and devastation that accompanies it—sometimes in spite of overwhelming odds, friends and family who do not understand what they are going through, caregivers and health providers that are not always adequately equipped and a society that has a habit of minimizing and even dismissing other people’s problems with phrases like: “It’s time to move on.” “Everybody experiences loss.” “It’s a beautiful day, why don’t you go for a walk.”
There is considerable work being done in support of survivors of suicide loss, some of it from government and non-profit suicide prevention organizations, others from clinical researchers and academics and still more by individuals who see a need or a gap in what is available and have attempted to fill it. But it is not gathered in one place and, often, you have to know where to look.
With that in mind, Samaritans is pleased to announce the launching of Beyond Surviving, www.samaritansbeyondsurviving.org a website dedicated to survivors of suicide loss and those who work with and care for them. The site features important and interesting information and resources for survivors from a cross-section of agencies, organizations, experts and individuals.
It also provides direct access to Samaritans NYC Guide for Survivors of Suicide Loss, with active links to clinical and medical research, health guides, postvention, resources for children and family members, readings, support groups, etc. And it features an Events & Activities Calendar that allows readers (once they sign-in) to see detailed information on the many survivor support groups being held throughout the Metro-NYC area.
This site and related projects have been made possible through the Changing the Conversation/Beyond Surviving grant we received from the New York State Office of Mental Health, which continues to support initiatives devoted to suicide awareness and prevention throughout our state.