Loss &

Care and Comfort for Survivors of Suicide Loss

Those who have lost a loved one to suicide must contend not only with the pain of that grief, but with the questions that so often surround it. AFSP was founded in an effort to answer some of the fundamental questions that arise when someone takes their own life. “Why did they take their life?” “Is there anything I could have done?” “How can I best understand and process what has happened?”

Suicide affects millions each year, and thanks to our donors and volunteers – many of whom are loss survivors themselves – AFSP’s Loss & Healing team provides the care, comfort and understanding those who have lost someone to suicide need as they find a way forward. Through programs like Healing Conversations and International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, AFSP lets them know they are not alone, and sets them on a path toward healing.

Paul Augustyniak Volunteer Spotlight

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, also known as “Survivor Day,” is a day that has become synonymous with hope, healing, and connection for survivors of suicide loss around the world. Since 1999, AFSP has supported hundreds of Survivor Day events across the globe, held each year on the Saturday before American Thanksgiving.

At these informative and caring events, participants come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience. While each event is unique, all feature an AFSP-produced documentary which offers a message of growth, resilience, and connection. For some, Survivor Day may be the first time they realize support is available, or that healing is possible. For others, Survivor Day is an annual opportunity to mark the occasion of their loss, and light the way forward for newer loss survivors.

This year, AFSP chapters hosted 221 total Survivor Day in-person and virtual events, with 5,500+ attendees.

In addition to local events held on November 20, AFSP also hosted a national Facebook Live program, as well as “Día de Esperanza (Day of Hope)” on November 19, a program specifically geared toward the Latinx community.

According to a survey conducted among this year’s Survivor Day participants:

  • 97% would recommend the program to others
  • 8 out of 10 reported feeling connected to others because of attending Survivor Day
  • 6 out of 10 said they plan to take time for themselves and practice self-care as a result of attending Survivor Day


Facebook Live viewers


Día de Esperanza viewers


international sites in 20 different countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Sweden, Kenya, South Africa and India

Having a Healing Conversation

Healing Conversations, AFSP's peer-to-peer support program, welcomes survivors of suicide loss as they are, wherever they are in their grief, for a meaningful moment of connection with trained volunteers who have themselves lost a loved one to suicide.

Different than a support group, Healing Conversations is a one-time in-person or virtual visit that connects those who have lost a partner, family member, friend, co-worker, or anyone else to suicide with someone who understands from personal experience what that person may be going through.

Our 600+ Healing Conversations volunteers offer care and resources, and represent all ages, cultures, sexual and gender identities, faith backgrounds, and ethnicities. The program strives to create a strong match between loss survivor and volunteer, alleviating the sense of isolation that can so often accompany suicide bereavement. Through care and kindness, our volunteers offer support and resources when people need it most.


requests for connection this past year


increase over the previous year

Helping Those Who Provide Support

AFSP’s Suicide Bereavement Clinician Training program is a workshop that provides mental health professionals with the knowledge and background they need to work effectively with those who have lost a loved one to suicide. This past year, we trained over 600 clinicians on the special needs of suicide loss survivors in a therapeutic setting. Using a new virtual format, our reach has increased threefold over the last two years, allowing us to list more clinicians in our trained clinician database.

Our Support Group Facilitator Training Program offers participants guidance on how best to create and facilitate support groups, with two courses available: one on facilitating adult support groups, and another on facilitating child and teen support groups. Our Loss & Healing team also hosts monthly drop-in conference calls for support group facilitators, which serve as open forums in which facilitators can ask questions and learn from one another.

As a public service to loss survivors, AFSP lists over 600 U.S. and international suicide bereavement support groups on our website. With many suicide bereavement support groups having moved to virtual platforms, this year we enhanced our webpage, making it easier for visitors to search for local and national support groups, and connect with others.

See how we measure our impact