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United Suicide Survivors International

We put the lived expertise of suicide attempt and loss survivors into action through leadership, collaboration and advocacy.

Upcoming Webinar

Our next webinar “Addressing Death with Dignity/Physician Assisted Suicide/Assisted Dying” presented by Ken Norton, LCSW, will be held on November, 20th at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT. Register Today!

Research Opportunity

Share your experience about your most recent suicide attempt to assist researchers in examining the interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences of suicide attempt survivors. If you are 18 years or older and identify as a suicide attempt survivor you can participate in this research study. For more information and to participate visit the survey site.

Join US

Group of diverse young people

Become an advocate.
Create change.

Your voice matters!

Join US to advance the leadership, collaboration and support of people personally impacted by suicide.  Where are you in the process?

 

Learn from US

United Survivors is hosting free monthly webinars. We invite you to join US for upcoming webinars or to watch ones that we’ve already offered.

Upcoming Webinar

Our next webinar “Addressing Death with Dignity/Physician Assisted Suicide/Assisted Dying” presented by Ken Norton, LCSW, will be held on November, 20th at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT. Register Today!

Past Webinars

“The Heart of A Suicide Intervention: the Research and Story of CAMS” presented by David Jobes, Ph.D.

“When the Professional is Personal: Lessons from Lived Experience of Suicidality & Helping the Suicidal Person” presented by Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW

“DOGS: A Medication without Side Effects” presented by Matthew Decker

“Dignity of Choice: Care and Compassion During Mental Health Crises” presented by Rudy Caseres

Too often individuals experiencing suicidal crisis are not provided with the care and compassion appropriate to their situation. Hospitalization is not always the most optimal solution. Due to conventional and long held beliefs this is most frequently seen as the only option. Survivors are being given more opportunity and to provide alternative actions in regards to crisis response. Using these personal experiences to guide support, people who are experiencing crisis can maintain dignity, choice and control over what happens to them.

“Male Wellness Post-Divorce” presented by Brett (Zach) Zachman, founder of BeMen

June is Men’s Health Month, and this webinar helps to bring mental well-being into the overall health conversation by giving men tools for resilience during and after the transition of divorce.

“The Missing Peace: Making Meaning of the Pain from the Past” presented by Cheryl Sharp

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs) shows a strong correlation between what has happened in childhood and the increase in suicide attempts later in life. While the correlation is strong, ACEs are not destiny.

This webinar explores how our past impacts our present as well as how we can learn to move beyond that pain. The potential paths to hope and healing create opportunities to make meaning of our pain and move towards a life out of the darkness.

“Suicide and Firearms: What Do We Know and What Can We Do?” presented by Clint and Joanie Malarchuk and Dr. Michael Anestis

A growing body of research shows the role of firearms in suicide and that a cultural shift towards suicide-specific safe gun ownership can reduce suicide deaths. Dr. Michael Anestis shares his research and findings in leveraging common ground in the pursuit of lower suicide rates. Clint Malarchuk, along with his wife Joanie, share his story of surviving his suicide attempt with a firearm and what steps can be taken at the individual and family level to reduce suicide with firearms.

We advise caution as you listen to this webinar and if you are in need of support we encourage you to reach out to the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or through the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741741.

“The Art and Science of Storytelling in Suicide Prevention” presented by Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas

When we are able to inspire others with our stories of recovery from suicidal despair or suicide grief, we give them hope. And hope is the antidote to suicide. This webinar provides an introduction on how to tell one’s story of suicide despair and/or suicide grief. We will cover a brief overview of the “art and science” of the process including why storytelling is important to the storyteller as well as the audience, safe and effective messaging, and the craft of creating a compelling and inspiring narrative.

“Youth Advocacy and Resiliency in the LGBTQ Communities: Insights from the Trevor Project”

Chris Bright of the Trevor Project presents on crisis intervention and suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Youth serving professionals will learn hands on techniques for supporting LGBTQ young people. This workshop combines research, case studies, best practice recommendations, and practical steps for reducing the risk of suicide and promoting resiliency in all young people with an emphasis on education and support for Trans/GNC young people.

“Cultivating your Unconquerable Spirit: Nurturing Personal Growth and Strength after a Suicide Attempt” presented by Shelby Rowe.

Shelby Rowe intertwines evidence-based suicide prevention best practices with her own experience. She walks us through her journey to recovery, shares the post traumatic growth that’s taken place, and shares her 6 steps to cultivating resiliency.

“Let Their Voices Be Heard: How Family and Friends of People Living Through Suicide Crises are Allies” presented by Annemarie Matulis and Marcia Epstein.

With over 11 million individuals having experienced suicidal thoughts, feelings, or attempts you can only imagine the number of caring family-friends who are also impacted. Learn more about available and needed self-care and educational resources for family-friends, in ongoing relationship, of people living with suicide thoughts and attempts; the benefits of including these family-friends in all aspects of suicide prevention; and ways to increase the involvement in the national suicide prevention community of these family-friends.

“Everyone Needs a Crisis Plan: Planning for the Worst while Thriving Forward” presented by Dr. Ursula Whiteside.

As suicide survivors become suicide prevention change agents and suicide grief support advocates, self-care is paramount. Preparing for the hard work of disclosing our stories, facing discrimination and prejudice and doing the on-going work of maintaining our wellness all requires a strong skill set. Sometimes, despite our best efforts in resilience, a mental health crisis can re-emerge. Thus, we need a crisis plan in place BEFORE the crisis strikes.

“Responding to Grief, Trauma, and Distress After a Suicide: A Look at the National Guidelines” presented by Franklin Cook and Joanne Harpel.

“The Art and Science of Storytelling” presented by Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas.

Learn why storytelling is important to the storyteller as well as the audience, safe and effective messaging, and the craft of creating a compelling and inspiring narrative. The webinar will be facilitated Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas – speaker, trainer, change agent, and the Board President of United Suicide Survivors International.

“Change for Change Agents” presented by Eduardo Vega.

United Suicide Survivors International welcomes Eduardo Vega to talk about “Change for Change Agents” and how to bring the voice of lived experience into their organizations and understand the mechanics of transformational change.

“Appreciative Inquiry of People with Lived Experience with Suicide (Loss, Attempts, Thoughts/Feelings, Allies)” by Sally Spencer-Thomas, Eduardo Vega, and Ursula Whiteside.

Learn more about United Suicide Survivors International and hear others input into our movement.

Lifecycle

Where are you in the Lifecycle?

transgender teen sitting on bench

I’m New

What do I need to know?

Many people who are recently bereaved by suicide or recently recovering from another suicidal experience in their lives, often find themselves in a place where they feel compelled to help others in some way, to make meaning out of their despair. If you are new to this area of suicide prevention and are someone who has recently lost a loved one or who has lived through your own suicide crisis, we are so glad you are here. When we find ourselves in these major transitions, it’s a good practice to slow things down a bit, and discern: am I ready for this?

african american woman smiling wearing brown scarf

I’m Ready

Help Get Me Started

Great! Roll up your sleeves. There is a lot of work to be done. Everyone can play a role. First, let’s do a little self-assessment on your talents, passions, and circle of influence. Where does your gladness meet the world’s sadness? Take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side list “What are my talents, skills, assets, and passions?” and on the other side list “What is most upsetting to me about suicide?” By linking up the two lists, you may have a better idea on how you are best suited to serve.

I’m frustrated

But not ready to give up

Burnout in the work of suicide prevention happens to the best of us. Many of us who stay involved over the long haul do what we do because we are compassionate, giving people. Sometimes, we are not always as good at self-care as we are at taking care of others. Others of us stay involved because we see the fruits of our persistence, and then the winds of change blow in the other direction, and the setbacks are crushing. We need you, so if you are up to it, here are some steps to take to renew the warrior. (If you are not up to it, that’s okay too. See next step in the Life Cycle: Retiring)

 

woman with grey hair smiling

I’m Retiring

How Do I Leave a Legacy?

You have completed what you came to do. Maybe it was a short-term goal that gives you great satisfaction. Maybe it was your life’s work. Now it’s time to celebrate and pass the baton. Learn some ways to transition out of the movement.

Get Help NOW

If you are hurting, afraid, or need someone to talk to we encourage you to reach out to one of the resources below. United Survivors values you and has lived through their own experiences with suicidal thoughts, attempts, and loss.

If you need immediate, emergency assistance in the United States call 9-1-1 to be connected with your local emergency response services.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with thoughts of suicide you can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This service is available 24/7.

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio en Español: 1-866-628-9454.

If you are more comfortable using text you can text  “United” to 741-741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor for free 24/7.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline operates a Crisis Chat in the United States.

LGBTQ Youth can call 1-866-488-7386 or visit The Trevor Project for alternative crisis services including chat and text or to explore resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity and more.

Outside United States

List of Help Sources from the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP)

Global digital health services including live crisis chat, SMS texting, email, peer support forums, social media, apps, videos, and more, in this global directory.