International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day recognized in East Tennessee

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day has been a recognized since 1999
Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 10:43 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2023 at 10:57 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is recognized and honored in East Tennessee and around the entire United States.

“It’s really about, you know, supporting one another as survivors. We’re all in a unique position and as survivors of suicide loss,” said Paul Augustyniak with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “It’s on us partially to heal one another, but it’s also on us to tell our story and share our story with others so that they know they’re not alone.”

This year at Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville, those survivors who lost a loved one to suicide gathered to share stories and show their love and care towards others who have experienced the unthinkable.

“The primary thing that happens is the opportunity to find out that you’re not alone. You know that’s the most isolating thing about being a survivor of suicide. Is that your grief is different,” said Mary Nelle Osborne, a manager of recovery services with Peninsula Behavioral Health.

If you or a loved one has had thoughts of suicide, the contact careline puts you in touch with somebody to talk to and they will direct you towards resources in the community that can help. By dialing 988 you can immediately speak with someone.

In tough times, it can be hard to know who is there for you. Meeting others who have gone through similar experiences can help the healing process.

“Healing isn’t linear. And to be able to. Make one’s own path. I think it’s really, really important and the fact that there are resources here and there are other people here, it’s an opportunity for us to share,” said Augustyniak.

The day was first recognized in 1999 after Senator Harry Reid introduced the resolution. Suicide is a word that holds a lot of stigma behind it. Through conversations and help, suicide can be prevented.

“We need to take the shroud away from the word suicide. We need to remove the stigma. Because almost 49,000 people died of suicide last year in the United States,” Augustyniak said. “We know suicide is preventable. We know that we can help, but we need to be able to talk about it.”