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Moving forward for survivors of suicide

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Every year more than 44,000 people die by suicide. That leaves thousands of survivors behind to cope with the tragedy.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Saturday will mark International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, 12 noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Butler Rehab Center of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

“I need to be happy - my dad would want me to be happy,” states Sarah Ash. She is featured in a new national film called A Daughter's Journey.  She's describing her experience after losing her father.

The film will be screened Saturday at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.  Missy Stolfi is area director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of Western & Central New York, sponsoring the ‘Survivors Day’.

“This is an opportunity for people to really come out and feel supported and not feel they have to be quiet or ashamed or keep that in the darkness that they’ve experienced such a lost. It brings together folks who have all had all sorts of relationships with suicide loss,” Stolfi explained. 

Survivors Day allows those impacted by the loss to come together with others who have with similar losses. They can reflect together then discuss what comes next in dealing with their grief.

“Is that post-vention or the way we support people after they’ve been impacted by suicide is a big piece of prevention to help break that cycle.  We know that when you have a family history of mental illness, you have a family history of suicide – that does put the additional family members at increased risk,” Stolfi said. “Depression doesn’t care who you are. Depression is an illness like any other.”

Stolfi tells WBFO News you can always be on the lookout for potential warning signs.

“They may talk about things such as feeling overwhelmed, feeling people would be better off without them, they feel that they’re a burden, they feel that there’s not really a purpose for them. They may talk directly or joke about ending their life even,” Stolfi remarked.

You can always call the suicide prevention line for help for a loved one or yourself. Thoughts of suicide? Call: 800-273-8255 / Text: 741741.

“We want to encourage people to look out for each other and not be afraid to speak up,” Stolfi declared.

The ‘Survivor’ event will include a panel discussion and a candlelight remembrance for loved ones.

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