Loss and Bereavement

AFSP Loss and Bereavement Programs

AFSP reaches out to survivors of suicide loss with two goals in mind:  To offer the support that is so vital, particularly to the newly bereaved; and to provide opportunities for survivors to get involved, through a wide variety of educational, outreach, awareness, advocacy and fundraising programs.  

AFSP works closely with support group facilitators, first responders, clergy members, mental health professionals and others in the community, to help survivors cope with their loss, their pain, their questions and their journey of healing.

In addition, AFSP has taken the leading role in developing an agenda for research on survivors of suicide loss.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day


2014 Forms:


  • International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is a day of healing for those bereaved by suicide.  Held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, it was created by U.S. Senate resolution in 1999 through the efforts of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who lost his father to suicide.
  • Hundreds of healing conferences are organized locally in communities around the world to help survivors connect with each other and express and understand the powerful emotions they experience.
  • Each conference site shows a 90-minute healing broadcast, (provided for free by AFSP national) which features a question-and-answer panel of experienced survivors and mental health professionals.  Sites also plan their own local programs and activities around the broadcast, like breakout support groups and local speakers, all aimed at helping survivors heal.



  • DVD is provided free-of-charge to all conference sites.
  • Free on-line viewing on the AFSP website.

AFSP Survivor Outreach Program



  • In the aftermath of suicide, specially trained AFSP survivor volunteers meet in-person with newly-bereaved survivors and their families. This program is available only to established AFSP Chapters


AFSP Suicide Bereavement Support Group Trainings



The AFSP training program teaches participants to create and facilitate suicide bereavement support groups. The two-day program uses lecture, interactive discussion, and role-playing to prepare participants to run an effective support group We currently offer facilitation training programs aimed at helping adults and children and teens:

  • Facilitating Suicide Bereavement Support Groups for Adults:  This program teaches participants how to start and facilitate a support group for adults who have lost a loved one to suicide. The program is conducted by experts in the field of suicide bereavement, research, and treatment.
  • Facilitating Suicide Bereavement Support Groups for Children and Teens:  This program teaches participants how to start and facilitate a support group for children and teens age 5 to 18 who have lost a loved one to suicide. The program was developed in collaboration with the Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families and is conducted by experts in the field of childhood bereavement.

For those who are not able to attend an upcoming training that has been scheduled, AFSP offers a self-study manual and accompanying DVD which can be purchased online.


  • Chapter or walk funds can be used to pay for a Facilitator Training registration fee at a special reduced rate of $125.00. (Fee is normally $175.00.). In addition, communities can use local walk funds to host the training.
  • Guides for Local Partners Facilitator Training - ADULT:

** For further information about the program, please contact the Loss and Bereavement Department at survivingsuicideloss@afsp.org.


  • Registration fee $125.00 *
  • To host training: Approximately $10,000
  • DVD $50

* Fee includes: Dinner (Friday evening), Lunch (Saturday) and all training materials (manual, DVD, handouts). Transportation and hotel are not covered by the registration fee. Limited partial scholarships for the registration fee may be available; contact the Loss and Bereavement Department for information.

AFSP Lifekeeper Memory Quilt Program



  • AFSP’s Lifekeeper Memory Quilt Program was originally created by survivor of suicide loss Sandy Martin, who believed that a patchwork of poignant pictures, images and words would put a face on the tragedy of suicide and help the public better understand the loss of more than 36,000 mothers, fathers, children, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, and friends to suicide each year. 
  • Through the Lifekeeper Memory Quilt Program suicide survivors are encouraged to serve as quilt organizers in their communities and/or to donate quilt squares to remember their loved ones.


Cost: Varies - based on materials and supplies