Written By: Sarah Voss, LOSS Team Coordinator at The Kim Foundation and Integrative Therapist at Omaha Integrative Care
We are suicide survivors and supporters. We have collectively lost parents, children, nephews, nieces, cousins, friends, siblings, partners, grandparents, and clients to suicide. We have experienced suicide grief, a grief like no other. Now we strive to share ourselves as a source of hope to other bereaved suicide survivors.
Currently at 25 volunteers strong, the Metro Area Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Team is a supportive resource and compassionate voice for lives touched by mental illness and suicide. Our volunteers respond to suicide deaths reported by law enforcement, reaching out to the next of kin and others impacted by the loss. Our team is comprised of survivors and mental health clinicians and we are open to accepting additional volunteers. To apply, please complete the form here: https://www.thekimfoundation.org/metro-area-loss-team/.
LOSS is a national model that provides peer support as a postvention effort for suicide survivors. This evidence-based program has been shown to increase help seeking for the bereaved and reduce risk of future suicide attempts by loved ones grieving death by suicide.
The Metro Area LOSS Team was formed in June 2015. Upon notification of a suicide loss, the team typically reaches out via telephone and sends a folder to provide community resources by mail. Our team offers in-person callouts, but in response to COVID-19 have switched to provide Zoom visits.
To date in 2020, we have responded to 30 suicide deaths. This is the lowest number of losses by suicide in a 6-month period that we have seen since the team formed. We remain hopeful that this decrease is an indicator of increased help seeking and decreased stigma around mental illness, grief, and suicide. Our plans for the year included a survivor event this spring, however we have postponed and are looking to offer something in the fall if possible. If you are interested, please send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us in support of suicide survivors throughout the metro area. United we will build hope for more tomorrows.