- Healing Conversations: Personal Support for Survivors of Suicide Loss
- Information for Healing Conversations coordinators (HCCs)
Information for Healing Conversations coordinators (HCCs)
Healing Conversations (HC) connects those who have lost a loved one to suicide with trained volunteers who are also suicide loss survivors. The HC Coordinator works closely with the Area Director and local board to manage, develop and grow this important program for their chapter.
Please feel free to share any thoughts, questions or ideas about Healing Conversations at any time with Shannon Donnick, Senior Manager for AFSP's Loss & Healing Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-363-3500 ext. 2035.
Each Healing Conversation team is assigned a generic "HCC" alias email address, which forwards to the Coordinator's personal email. A full list of coordinators can be found here.
If you are going on vacation and/or will be away from your email for any length of time, please be sure to reach out to Shannon to arrange a different forwarding contact for that time frame.
As for phone numbers, we encourage HC teams to create a Google Voice number. The forwarding process for Google Voice is very similar to the alias email process – the coordinator can select a generic phone number that then forwards to their cell number (or whatever number is best to be used as primary contact for any HC calls).
Both the alias email address & the Google Voice number help to protect the privacy of the coordinator (so that you do not find yourself in a position that requires the listing of personal contact info on a website) as well as ensures smooth transitions between new and old coordinators and/or HC team members.
Request Form This is the form that the loss survivors fills out so as to request a conversation...and/or this is the form that the Coordinator will need to complete on behalf of a loss survivor if the request came to them directly (perhaps by phone, etc.)
Volunteer Report This is the form the volunteer must complete within 24-48 hours following a conversation.
Evaluation Form This form allows the loss survivor to provide feedback about the conversation experience.
Application Form Please share this form with anyone you feel would be a good addition to your HC team (though please see the Recruitment section below re: restrictions and qualifications).
Resources to share with loss survivors
Self-Care Strategies for Resilience While not a substitute for professional care, there are plenty of simple activities anyone can do to reduce stress, encourage wellness, and restore a sense of well-being during difficult times.
Our International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day documentaries can be viewed on our website and may bring some comfort and hope to suicide loss survivors.
Children, Teens and Suicide Loss Learn about how young loss survivors understand and grieve a suicide death, and how best to provide support for them.
Hard copies of this booklet can be purchased in the AFSP store - please connect with your Area Director for all ordering needs.
Our online support group locator allows suicide loss survivors to search our database of support groups to find a meeting nearest their home.
Additionally, Alliance of Hope has online forums where loss survivors can meet – many people find them quite useful (especially if their community does not yet have an established support group and/or they are feeling too nervous to attend in person at this time).
Healing Conversations Postcard provides clear messaging about the program and its volunteers, perfect for providing concise information about the program. 6” x 4”.
Healing Conversations Wallet Card offers concise messaging about the program, with a call-to-action for further learning. 3.5” x 2”.
After a Suicide brochure provides comfort and the essential, practical guidance suicide loss survivors so desperately need in the first few days after their loss. It describes common emotional responses to this particular type of grief, information on what research tells us about suicide in a section entitled, “Understanding the Why,” and available resources to help them heal. 4” x 9”. (Also available in Spanish.)
Support for Survivors of Suicide Loss provides a brief but clear roundup of the different types of support offered to suicide loss survivors by AFSP’s Loss & Healing team. This flyer includes information on Survivor Day, the Memory Quilt program, support group listings, Healing Conversations, as well as educational trainings, and more. 8.5” x 11”. (Also available in Spanish.)
Hard copies of these and more can be purchased in the AFSP store – please connect with your Area Director for all ordering needs.
We hope that this Editable Recruitment Postcard will be helpful in connecting with potential volunteers for this program! As a reminder, all HC volunteers must be suicide loss survivors themselves, and at least 2 years removed from their loss. All must be over 18 as well.
Additionally, it is recommended that they have attended a support group at some point (to ensure that they've met other loss survivors and are aware of what it might be feel like to share stories of loss). Ideally, they might have some additional training (safeTALK, ASIST, etc.) and/or already be involved with AFSP in some way.
Please take the time to have a quick pre-screening conversation before sending the application form. Once the application is received by the national office, a phone interview will be scheduled for the potential volunteer with a member of our Loss & Healing Council. If approved, the volunteer will then receive a link to the training webinar.
Coordinator training materials
TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) offers weekly free educational webinars for bereavement professionals and individuals, both with a relationship with the military and civilians as well.
Through an alliance with the Hospice Foundation of America, TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing serves as a resource and training center, providing practical information on coping with loss, making it accessible to all who seek current strategies, effective tools, and best practices for supporting those who are grieving and those who serve the grieving.
They’ve posted a full calendar of webinars on a variety of topics helpful to those of us in the Healing Conversations as well! Please take a look (you can access their 'webinar archives' as well for anything you may have missed in the past) and please do share with your team for an additional layer of training!
The most effective and compassionate volunteers are the ones who remember to also pay attention to their own needs!
We value your time, compassion and dedication to AFSP & Healing Conversations, and the suicide loss survivor community as a whole, and we want to be sure you take care of yourself so that you can continue this important work.
A great way to be sure you are able to fully process and ground yourself following a conversation with a loss survivor is to create your own self-care routine and build the time right into your schedule. Not sure what a self-care plan is and/or how to create one for yourself? Here's a great article from Mindful Magazine that walks us through the process.