Doreen Marshall, Ph.D, lost her fiancé, Chris, to suicide in September 1995. At just 23-years-old, he was a chef and a budding musician living in New Jersey. Doreen is an Associate Professor and Chair in the Counseling Dept at Argosy University, and maintains a private counseling practice in Atlanta. She is a member of AFSP’s Survivor Council and a trainer for AFSP’s Facilitating Suicide Bereavement Support Groups Training Program, has served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Suicidology and has been a member of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Georgia. Doreen also served as the Associate Director of The Link’s National Resource Center for Suicide Prevention and Aftercare.
Tony Mata’s daughter, Phylicia Toni Mata, completed suicide on August 11, 2000, three weeks after her 15th birthday. She was about to start her sophomore year at Health Careers High School in San Antonio, Texas. Tony is a self-employed courier who also works part time as a high school football official. After 12 years of active duty in the Army and 13 years in the National Guard, Tony now serves in the Retired Reserve Component of the Texas Army National Guard. He facilitates the San Antonio Survivors of Loved Ones Suicides (SOLOS) support group and has participated in over five AFSP Out of the Darkness Community Walks.
Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Memphis, where he also maintains a clinical practice. As a survivor of his father’s suicide the week before his 12th birthday, he has done extensive research and has written 25 books and hundreds of articles on death, grief, loss, and suicide intervention. Bob serves as editor of the professional journal, Death Studies, as well as Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society: Bridging Research and Practice, and served as president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. In recognition of his contributions to the field, he has received numerous awards and was elected Chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement. He gives frequent workshops for national and international audiences.
Kerry Payne lost her father, Myles Bean, to suicide in June 2001. Myles served in the Australian Army and tried his hand at many careers during his 60 years of life. Kerry remembers him as passionate about motor racing, fun-loving and high-spirited. Kerry is an Australian photographer, now based in New York, working on a long-term creative project to document survivors of suicide loss and their stories. Her hope is that the project will encourage open discussion to reduce secrecy and stigma and to spread awareness that survivors are not alone in their experiences. Kerry has photographed the AFSP Out of the Darkness Overnight Walks in 2009, 2010 and 2011. www.kerrypayne.net.
Faith Sullivan lost her 31-year-old son, Tony, to suicide in 2002. Tony was a registered nurse and manager of a pain clinic. He also served in the United States Navy for five years as a medic and a member of the Seabees underwater construction team. He loved the outdoors, his jeep, helping anyone in need, and his family’s favorite memory of him is his laughter. Faith is a psychotherapist with a private practice. She facilitates peer support groups for bereavement after suicide and general bereavement and she’s created an annual scholarship to help nursing students in Tony’s memory.
Alexis Wiffler’s dad, Randy Wiffler, died by suicide in August 2007 at age 46. Randy was an entrepreneur who owned his own business and loved classic cars, fireworks, travelling, and making his own wine. When Alexis was five years old, he created a label featuring her photo for one of his gold medal wines. Alexis, who was 13 when her father died, found comfort at a weekly bereavement support group for teens near her hometown of Rohnert Park, Calif. She now honors her dad’s memory by talking with other teens who are struggling with suicide loss. And because he loved fireworks so much, Alexis sets them off every year on his birthday and on the anniversary of his death.
Joanne Harpel became AFSP's first-ever Director of Survivor Initiatives in 2002 after having served on AFSP's National Board of Directors, and is now AFSP's Senior Director for Postvention. Joanne is a former attorney with experience in non-profit administration, and is responsible for the full range of AFSP’s survivor programs, including International Survivors of Suicide Day, the Survivor Outreach Program, the Survivor e-Network, and the Support Group Facilitator Training Program. She is a survivor of the 1993 suicide of her brother Stephen, who was a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Robert Gebbia has been AFSP's Executive Director since 1997. Prior to joining AFSP, he was with the United Way, and also worked as a Senior Health Planner for the New York City Department of Health. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from Hofstra University and an M.A. in Sociology from the New School for Social Research.