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2023 International Day for People Impacted by Suicide Loss

November 18, 2023

CASP Presents:

“The Power of Suicide Bereavement Support Groups”  

International Day for People Impacted by Suicide Loss (IDPISL) is Saturday, November 18, 2023. On this day, events will take place in Canada and around the world, whereby those impacted by suicide loss can gather to find fellowship, to remember loved ones, and to share stories of loss, healing, and hope.   

To recognize this year’s IDPISL, the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) will host an online event entitled, “The Power of Suicide Bereavement Support Groups” featuring a diverse panel of speakers who will share their experiences with suicide bereavement support groups. IDPISL will also mark the launch of a new resource, Suicide Bereavement Support Groups: Guide, which presents promising strategies and best practices for facilitating safe and effective suicide bereavement support groups for people impacted by suicide loss.   

Coordinated by CASP’s People Impacted by Suicide Working Group, this year’s IDPISL event will include a traditional Indigenous opening and closing, virtual smudging and time for reflection and community as we gather to observe this special day.   

Dr. Sakina Rizvi is a Scientist and Psychotherapist in the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg (ASR) Suicide and Depression Studies Program at St. Michael’s Hospital, and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Her research program aims to characterize the neurobiology of suicide, develop new psychotherapies for suicide risk, and conduct patient-engagement research to create community-based suicide prevention strategies. Dr. Rizvi is actively involved in outreach projects to provide mental health education to the community through the creative arts. She led the Storybook Project, a lived experience short story collection on the impact of suicide published in 2021 as “What it Takes to Make it Through: Stories of Suicide Loss and Resilience”.   

Rebecca L. Sanford, PhD, RCSW is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and Human Service at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. Rebecca’s research, clinical, and lived experiences inform her approach to practice and her research agenda. She provides individual and group interventions for traumatic bereavement, and she is involved in community outreach efforts to promote awareness of suicide and to support people impacted by suicide. Her research interests include the impact of exposure to suicide, the suicide bereavement trajectory, disenfranchised grief and ambiguous loss, and the development and dissemination of interventions for people who are bereaved or otherwise impacted by suicide. 

Jocelyne Ludgate is a person with lived experience of suicide loss, as well as an advocate for those impacted by suicide loss. Jocelyne is a past member of CMHA – PEI Division’s Suicide Prevention & Life Promotion Committee, where she supported the development of resources such as Supporting Children & Youth to Grieve After Suicide Loss: A Resource Kit and the Information Kit for Adults Impacted by Suicide Loss. She has been a keynote speaker at CMHA’s Women and Wellness Event and most recently became a member of CASP’s People Impacted by Suicide Working Group. Jocelyne’s passion for life promotion and advocating for people impacted by suicide loss propels her continued work to end stigma and improve education and awareness surrounding suicide. She has a special interest in the support of children, youth and young adults as they navigate through their journey of loss, grief and healing. Jocelyne enjoys a busy life in Prince Edward Island with her husband and two children. She is an active community volunteer and was recently acclaimed as the Public School Board Trustee for her school zone. 

Shawna Salwach lives in Kamloops B.C with her husband and 21-year-old daughter. In 2020, she and her family were deeply impacted by the suicide loss of her son, Nolan, at the age of 19. Navigating this complicated, complex new world has been full of challenges, but also includes learning and, more recently, hope. Almost one year into her grief journey, Shawna became a part of the Kamloops Suicide Loss Support Group. This group has been an essential tool in helping her to heal from trauma, share grief, and become re-connected with others.  Shawna has learned the importance of being able to safely tell her story, which helps her to grieve more authentically. Shawna is forever changed by the loss of her son and will always be a “work in progress”, but no longer feels alone on this journey. 

Mara Grunau is the Executive Director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention, a branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. She holds a Bachelor’s in Education and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration. In addition to her role at CSP, Mara is also the interim CEO at CMHA-Alberta Division. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for outstanding advocacy work in suicide prevention in Alberta and significant contributions to the development and implementation of the provincial action plan for youth suicide prevention. Mara is a passionate advocate for suicide prevention, working tirelessly to amplify the voices of people impacted by suicide. Through this work, she builds empathy and awareness of their experiences to better illuminate hope and the knowledge that suicide can be prevented.

Event Details:

Saturday November 18, 2023 via Zoom.

1:00pm-2:30pm, Eastern Standard Time (Toronto). To convert your time zone, go here.

10:00am PST / 11:00am MST / 12:00pm CST/ 1:00pm EST / 2:00pm AST / 2:30pm NST

This is a FREE virtual, online event via ZOOM being held in English. This event is live and will not be recorded nor distributed after the event.

Support for people with suicide loss

Registration is closed.