Lincoln – International Survivors of Suicide Loss will be observed on November 21. The day is intended to help family and friends of those who have died by suicide come together to support and heal each other.
In Nebraska, those who have lost loved ones by suicide have access to specialized help: Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) teams, which consist of trained mental health professionals acting as volunteers to bring immediate support to survivors of suicide. Many have lived experience with loss by suicide.
LOSS Teams are activated by first response officials when a suicide occurs to provide resources, support, and hope to suicide survivors. The volunteers also provide follow-up contact with the survivors, and coordinate the utilization of services and support groups within the community. Survivors can also reach out to LOSS Teams directly, including those in:
- Blue River, (402) 806-5551
- Central Nebraska/Kearney, (308) 217-0359
- Chadron, (308) 225-3861
- Columbus Area, (402) 360-5004
- Four Corners, (402) 710-2161
- Lincoln/Lancaster County, (402)440-1633
- Norfolk Area, (402) 750-8148
- Omaha Metro Area, (402) 891-6911
- Southwest Nebraska, (308) 221-0143
“Survivors may be struggling with a variety of emotions, guilt, fear and shame, beyond the limits experienced in other types of deaths,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “Nebraska LOSS Teams provide a clear message of hope, so that survivors can move through their loss and grieving process.”
How Can You Help Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One to Suicide?
- Be willing to listen. Be an active listener and be a part of their healing process.
- Encourage them to find a support group. Support groups allow survivors to connect with other people who share the experience.
- Don’t expect survivors to “get over it.” Don’t set expectations about how the survivor “should be” reacting.
- Realize grief will sometimes feel overwhelming, and allow your friend or family member to process it in their own time.
- Avoid passing judgments, simplistic explanations of the suicide, and clichés. They can intensify grief for the survivor.
- Familiarize yourself with the wide spectrum of emotions that many survivors of suicide experience. Allow the person to experience all the hurt, sorrow and pain that he or she is feeling at the time.
- Be aware of holidays and anniversaries. Survivors may have a difficult time during special occasions like holidays and anniversaries because they emphasize the absence of the person who has died.
Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis?
- Nebraska Family Helpline, (888) 866-8660
- Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or o envíenos un mensaje de texto con “Hablanos” para español al 66746
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)