By Bubba Randall, AFSP Louisiana Board Chair and Healing Conversations Coordinator
What is Healing Conversations and how does it work?
Healing Conversations is a peer-to-peer program to help those who are faced with the loss of a loved one to suicide. Though any loss of a loved one is painful, the loss of a loved one by suicide brings so many questions and emotions. Because our volunteers have all experienced a suicide loss, they know the whirlwind of emotions a loss survivor might be feeling and can offer them a place to speak openly and ask questions of someone who truly understands. Our volunteers are knowledgeable about support groups for suicide loss survivors in their area as well as other helpful resources that maybe available to them. In the Loss and Healing section of our website (afsp.org/loss) there is a link to request a conversation. We offer three means of contact for your conversation, face to face, phone call, or video chat. When we receive a request for a healing conversation, we try to match the survivor with a volunteer who has expereinced a similar loss (i.e. spouse, child, sibling, etc.) A conversation will typically last an hour to an hour and a half. If you are in need of a Healing Conversation, you can find a conversation request form as well as information about other events on our website. www.afsp.org/loss
I have seen from experience that the Healing Conversation program fulfils our mission statement of saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. If you are at least a two-year survivor of a suicide loss and have a desire to assist someone to find hope to survive a suicide the loss of their loved one, then consider joining our team of volunteers. To request a volunteer application please contact the program coordinator at [email protected]
A support group can be a good place for long-term support of survivors of a suicide loss. It is a place to tell their story and to learn from the experiences of others. Unfortunately, not all areas of the state have support groups that are specific to suicide loss. Although AFSP does not facilitate any support groups we offer training classes in support group facilitation. If you are interested in becoming a facilitator please contact [email protected] .