Upcoming Survivors Day lets loved ones of those lost to suicide know they're not alone

(WZAW) -- Suicide claims more than 47,000 lives each year in the Unites States alone and is the nation’s tenth leading cause of death.

Courtesy: MGN

It's a growing crisis in our country, state and in local commuities of central and north central Wisconsin.

Dr. Doreen Marshall is the vice president of programs at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She said the impact of suicide is far-reaching, and it's important for loved ones of those in a mental health crisis to be supportive.

"The first step is to really just be aware that there are people around you who are likely struggling with their mental health and with suicide and to not be afraid to ask people about their emotional health, about how they're feeling, how their mood has been and certainly to ask directly about suicide," she said. "It lets people know you're someone they can talk to."

In 1999, Senator Harry Reid, who lost his father to suicide, introduced a resolution to the United States Senate which led to the creation of International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. Also known as Survivor Day, the day was designated by the United States Congress as a day on which those affected by suicide can join together for healing and support. It was determined that Survivor Day would always fall on the Saturday before the U.S Thanksgiving holiday, as the holiday season can often be a difficult time for suicide loss survivors.

"This year it's on the 23rd of November. To come together, to find connection, support and feel less alone in grieving suicide loss."

Antigo Public Library is holding a Survivor Day event at 12:15 p.m. on November 23.

Each year, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention supports hundreds of large and small Survivor Day events around the world, in which suicide loss survivors come together to find connection, understanding and hope through their shared experience. While each event is unique and offers various programming, all feature an AFSP-produced documentary that offers a message of growth, resilience and connection.

In 2018, 370 total events took place, including 32 international sites in 19 countries.