International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day - November 20, 2022
Outline of Events:
- An educational presentation on Trauma and Suicide Loss by Alivia Maric Ph.D., R.Psych
- An expressive arts workshop with Heather Proust, BA, EXAT
- Facilitated grief circles
When: Saturday, November 20
Time: 12:00 - 2:00pm Pacific Time
This event is free. Click to register: https://isosld.afsp.org/vancouver-british-columbia/
Presented by the Crisis Centre of BC
YouTube Streamed Educational Video with Live Q&A
One Event Does Not Define a Life. Coping with Suicide Loss.
This event is complete, the full recording is here:: Youtube @ bcbh.live/JessicaWolf
Facilitator and author, Jessica Wolf Ortiz speaks to the specific challenges of a suicide loss and the experiences of those who are left behind. She helps us understand why this is considered a traumatic loss, some of the common feelings and thoughts of suicide survivors (those left behind) and how this one event does not define a life. After this 15 minute presentation, Jessica will be available for questions through our YouTube Live channel.
Jessica Wolf Ortiz is a registered clinical counsellor with the BC Clinical Counselling Association and has a Masters degree in Family Therapy. Suicide bereaved herself, Jessica has devoted part of her 20-year clinical work to grief therapy and, uniquely, suicide bereavement. She is a co-facilitator of the BCBH/BC Crisis Centre online suicide grief support groups.
Jessica is a TED Talk speaker, and the author of the book “Overcoming Suicide Bereavement: The Experience of Those that Stay” about the aftermath of suicide and the unique aspects of suicide bereavement. This book, currently available in Spanish, is in the process of being translated into English.
Suicide Grief Support Groups
Many survivors of suicide suffer not only the grief and loss of their loved one but could also be victim to the stigma our society attaches to a death by suicide. Suicide survivors should not suffer alone, nor in silence. The BC Bereavement Helpline has partnered with the BC Crisis Centre to offer Suicide Grief Support groups to help suicide survivors come together to heal in their unique loss. Being with others who have experienced a similar loss has proven to break isolation and create long-term networks of support.
Common symptoms of grief due to the death by suicide are the questions of “why?” Why did my loved one decide to do this? Other complications include guilt, “what could I have done differently that would have prevented this death?” By bringing everyone together in a support group, healing and companionship can begin.
Our grief support groups are led by experienced facilitators. We try very hard to ensure that at least one facilitator is a suicide survivor as they can connect and share in this similar, tragic loss. Our groups are not counselling model, but rather a format in which everyone can come together to connect and be supported with their similar grief experiences. Facilitators will provide space for education and discussion on suicide grief. In weeks 5 and 6 of the group we focus on the life of the person who has died as our goal is to ultimately connect the survivor with the life of their loved one, as opposed to the death.
Our 8 week suicide grief support groups provide:
- A safe, non-judgmental, compassionate environment with time for restorative sharing of stories and insights
- Essential grief and mourning survival tools to help survivors in their daily lives
- Practical support and information as well as valuable community connections
- A respectful space for honouring the life of the person who has died
Our grief support groups are currently being offered online and meet once a week for two hours and we ask that all members are able to commit to all 8 sessions. Maximum capacity is nine members. We hold approximately four suicide grief groups per year.
The BC Bereavement Helpline acknowledges the financial assistance from the Province of British Columbia and the following partners:
Josh Platzer Memorial Fund - Teen Suicide Awareness and Prevention, held at Vancouver Foundation
Upcoming Online Suicide Grief Support Groups:
January 18 - March 8, 2022
The BC Bereavement Helpline in partnership with the Crisis Centre of BC offer 8-week online Suicide Grief Support Groups to help suicide survivors come together to heal in their unique loss. Our next group is starting:
- Date: Tuesday afternoons January 18 - March 8, 2022
- Time: 12:30 - 2:30 pm PST
- Cost: $120 (subsidies are available)
- Where: via Zoom videoconferencing
- Facilitators: Jessica Wolf Ortiz, RCC and Debra Wolinsky, RCC
If you would like to join our support groups, we encourage you to connect with us ASAP as consideration to the groups are on a first come, first contacted basis and we usually have a wait list. An intake interview and pre-registration is required. For more information please call us 604-738-9950, toll free 1(877) 779-2223 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please call the Helpline and we can assist in finding you 1-1 counseling supports for your suicide grief.
Please see our Coping With Grief / Suicide Loss Section on our website for additional resources.
Surviving the Loss
Support Group Testimonials
"It was nice to talk with others going through similar experiences who could relate to what I’m going through."
"Thank you for providing this greatly needed service."
"I felt what I learned and the connections I made were so beneficial and would be helpful to others."
"I have realized how helpful and supportive it is to communicate with others who are experiencing a similar situation."
"It was beyond helpful [the support group], from start to finish. I could have never imagined finding such an amazing safe and supportive group."
"Both facilitators had experienced loss from suicide before, which was amazingly helpful. They let us talk freely and openly, without judgement, and they know what we’re going through. (*BCBH support groups strive to have at least one facilitator who has experienced similar losses. We are not always able to find two.)"
"It’s been something I look forward to and crave and has been an amazing gift to share in a space where people understand! Thank you."