Suicide survivors healing event planned
Suicide loss survivors of all ages will be able to share, connect and find hope at the Healing through Suicide Loss: Sparking Hope Through Connection event 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19 at Opportunity Presbyterian Church, 202 N Pines Rd., in the Spokane Valley.
Keynote speaker, Kimberly Starr, is a suicide loss survivor with Star-Bright Suicide Prevention Presentations.
The event includes HOPE Animal-Assisted comfort dog teams, childcare and age-appropriate grief activities.
There will be resource bags for all participants.
In 2021, the Spokane County Office of the Medical Examiner reported that 109 residents in Spokane County died by suicide and an average of 135 people were impacted by each death. Based on those figures, 14,715 people may have been impacted by suicides in Spokane County last year, said licensed mental health counselor Heidi Ehrlich.
"It is critical that our community makes significant strides in wrapping around our suicide loss survivors," she said. "In understanding that suicide loss is a type of traumatic grief, there is potential post-traumatic stress in addition to natural grief."
Often they are told to "get over" their grief so there is little opportunity to talk about their grief. As a result, about 65 percent of people who lose a loved one to suicide may make their own suicide attempt," Heidi said.
The gathering will highlight ways for the community to take action and to bring awareness and understanding on this issue.