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Donor Family Services 1864 Concert Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23453 www.healingthespirit.org

Alone No More

CCO# 68-40-120 Rev.00

Suicide Family Support Resource Guide

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Forward Not only has someone you love died, but your pain is deepened because the death may have been a suicide. While travelling on your journey of grief, you may feel an understandable mix of emotions. The healing process may seem lonely as you struggle to grasp the death of your loved one and what comes next for you. This Resource Guide addresses some familiar emotions to survivors of suicide. We encourage you to read through and see if some of these situations might apply to you.

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Contents

Page

Struggling for Answers?....................................................................................................................... 1 Grief after Suicide............................................................................................................................. 2-3 From Hurt to Healing........................................................................................................................ 4-7

“May the angels protect you

LifeNet Health Grief Companion® Program.................................................................................. 8-9

Trouble neglect you

Virginia Support Groups..................................................................................................................... 10

And heaven accept you

Resource Books............................................................................................................................... 11-13

when its time to go home

Online Support..................................................................................................................................... 13

May you always have plenty The glass never empty Know in your belly You’re never alone.” — Never Alone by Jim Brickman featuring Lady Antebellum

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Struggling for Answers? The loss of someone to suicide can leave many searching for answers and asking why. There are feelings and expressions of shock, guilt, confusion, sadness, anger and so many more that can be overwhelming. These are natural. Normal. Many of us believe that we can find these answers. Feelings of guilt can prevent us from stopping our search, or we pursue finding answers because we feel the death of our loved one could have been prevented. The road to healing from suicide will continue to be long when carrying the question of why.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.

Some survivors may even feel relief for reasons others around them would never understand. There are stigmas attached to suicide because of the lack of understanding that surrounds suicide. Stigmas can make survivors feel shame or embarrassment, instead of support to seek the comfort and care they need to grieve. Losing someone through suicide is an awful tragedy. Once you know you can’t answer why, you still must grieve and heal.

Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” — from a headstone in Ireland

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Grief after Suicide

NEED 2: Let yourself feel the pain of the death.

NEED 4: Develop a new self-identity.

NEED 6: Let others help you, now and always.

Suicide is non-discriminatory. People of all different races, genders, ages and religions will complete suicide. And so it leaves the same diversity of people who will mourn the loss of their loved one. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s handbook offers a wealth of information that may be helpful to you.

We tend naturally to avoid or deny the pain of grief. However, confronting our pain, in doses, helps us learn to reconcile ourselves to it. There must be a balance in this. Don’t give yourself too much pain at once, but don’t deny yourself feelings of pain either. This is especially important with men and boys who are taught to show no outward expressions of emotions. Letting others decide how you should mourn should not be allowed! Give yourself chances to feel the pain of the hurt you endured. Have patience with these feelings but don’t overwhelm yourself with them. This may take months, or even years. • Have you been able to share any of your painful feelings with anyone? • Do you feel better writing these feelings in a journal?

Your self-identity will change when someone with whom you have a relationship dies. When those we love leave us, it can confuse what we once were with who we are now. Working on being someone without our loved one in our lives anymore can be exhausting in many ways and because of this, until the new roles are identified, it’s best to hold off on any other major changes or commitments. Be compassionate with yourself and accept the help of others as you strive to re-anchor yourself. • What roles did your loved one play in your life? • What identity changes have you had since this death?

Understanding, non-judgmental people in your support system are necessary for your healing. Support from those around you, including friends, counselors, support groups and others who share your common bond, should stay with you for years. In a society that often asks us to “get over it”, or “move on”, these are the people who will help you to mourn no matter how long it takes. You are Alone No More by allowing yourself to use the tools provided in this Resource Guide’s support section, and especially by working with one of LifeNet Health’s Grief Companions®. This Guide has a section devoted to Grief Companions and how helpful they can be. • Do you have support from others who have themselves experienced a loved one’s death from suicide? • This Guide offers numerous ways to reach out to others. Find one that suits you.

At LifeNet Health, we seek to provide comfort to those who grieve. Rather than a more traditional approach, we choose to help families heal based on the Six Needs of Mourning identified by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD. in his book Understanding your Grief. His approach leaves those who are grieving more allowance and patience within their grief journey.

Six Needs of Mourning NEED 1: Accept the reality of the death. Gently and over time confront the reality that someone you care about will never physically come back in your life again. As you talk this out, the event becomes a little more real. Taking time to recognize the full reality of this suicide happening can take weeks, even months. This isn’t something that will be easy. There will be times when accepting this reality will seem painless and other times when it will be agonizing. Either way, moving into this acceptance is crucial to mourning. Here are some questions that may help start a journey to acceptance of the reality of the death: • Do you know of anything that may be holding you back from the reality of this loss? • Can you say out loud that your loved one has died of suicide?

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NEED 3: Remember the person who died. Your memory is your link to the person you have lost. Remembering the past helps those who mourn transfer the loving relationship of presence to the loving relationship of memory. This can be particularly difficult with suicide, when the stigma from others suggests you move on, leave your home, take down pictures, etc. Don’t deny yourself your precious link to your loved one, while still embracing the reality of the death. It’s OK to hold on to some objects like photos and mementos, and to not leave your home. • Are painful memories holding you back from remembering good ones? Find a trusted friend or counselor who won’t judge the sharing of these painful memories. • There are examples of other memory work in this Guide and in many of the resources we have listed.

NEED 5: Search for meaning. First, allow yourself to mourn. As time passes, your mourning may also help you rediscover new or changed meaning in your life. To find meaning doesn’t mean to find meaning or a reason for the death, or to answer “how” or “why”, as this is especially impossible with suicide. To search for meaning is to look inside yourself during your mourning for the meaning in your own life. Take care not to pressure yourself for these answers. • Did you struggle with your faith among these hard times? • What has made you stronger and does it help you find meaning?

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” — Aristotle Onassis

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From Hurt to Healing At LifeNet Health, we’ve spoken with many donor families who’ve experienced the pain of suicide, and we’ve worked with some who’ve fought the feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts. Many have expressed to us that some of the best healing they’ve done has come by taking care of themselves and helping others. There are many ways to heal by helping yourself and others.

Healing through self-care • Let someone take care of you. • Identify what gives you anxiety versus what comforts you. • See your doctor. Grief can affect us physically so it’s important to be checked out for your own health. • Seek counseling, a support group or friends who won’t judge your situation. If you have trouble finding these relationships or groups, please look within this Resource Guide or call LifeNet Health Donor Family Services at 1-800-847-7831. • Unload some baggage! Write a list of at least five stressors that you can rid yourself of right now. • Make plans on the anniversary of the death, birthdays, holidays, etc. Make plans to remember and to get support. • Write a journal. Create a scrapbook or a memory box. LifeNet Health offers workshops to help put scrapbooks and memory boxes together. Or make a quilt square for our Donor Memorial Quilts. For more information, call Tina Pierce at 1-800-847-7831 ext. 4903 or go to our website www.healingthespirit.org.

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Get out in nature. Walking is not only wonderful exercise but being in nature can bring you back to many revelations about life. Allow it to let you laugh, cry, and be in peace. The natural world is renewing and healthy. If you’re in Virginia Beach, please visit our Donor Memorial Garden at 1864 Concert Drive. • Choose life. Take control of your life and be grateful for at least one thing every day in a new way. Honor the life you have and the growth you make each day. Take off your shoes and feel the grass in your toes. Let a puppy lick your face. It may be the little things sometimes, but it will be the little things that bring the start to big smiles.

Healing through helping others • • •

Find what comforts others through tough times. For many, comfort can be as simple as being near animals, hugs, being listened to or getting out of the house with a friend. Death can leave unfinished business. So many times, someone was in the middle of a very simple project that now will never be finished. You can heal your heart and the heart of another person who’s lost a loved one by helping to finish a project that otherwise would not be finished. Help others on the anniversaries of their loved one’s death, birthdays, marriage anniversaries, etc. Help them to remember and help to support them. Especially years out, know how much this will mean to someone and how much it will heal your own heart to reach out. • Write letters of thanks. This will lift up others while helping you realize that surely there are

others who were and are there for you, at one time or another. • Consider volunteering. Look up a charity or a local organization that benefits what it is that can tie you to your loved one or what has affected you, or will honor your loved one’s death. Be sure you feel ready, and be sure you don’t take on too much volunteering so this does not become a stressor. You can look up many organizations online or call your local United Way, which works with many community organizations that need volunteers.

Healing through prevention •

For some, preventing suicide for others is a way to help move toward healing. • The effects of suicide aren’t limited to those who die. Suicide is a serious public health problem that has shattered the lives of millions of people, families and communities nationwide. More Americans die by suicide than in car crashes, making suicide the leading cause of injury deaths, according to a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Deaths from intentional and unintentional injury were 10 percent higher in 2009 than in 2000. • An estimated 11 attempted suicides occur for every suicide death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than twice as many people each year as homicides. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.*

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Although suicide can affect anyone, these populations tend to have an increased risk for suicidal behaviors: • Individuals with mental and/or substance abuse disorders • Individuals bereaved by suicide • Individuals in justice and child welfare settings • Individuals who engage in non-suicidal self injury • Individuals who have attempted suicide • Individuals with medical conditions • Individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) • American Indians and Alaskan natives • Members of the Armed Forces and veterans • Men in midlife and older

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide: • Ask them if they’re thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their heads, nor make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.) • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional. • Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt. • If possible, don’t leave the person alone.

* Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Surgeon General and National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action. Washington, DC: HHS, September 2012.

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A person at risk for suicide will often show symptoms that can be easily remembered through asking IS PATH WARM? developed by the American Association of Suicidology.

I Ideation (having or forming ideas or thoughts of suicide) S Substance Abuse P Purposelessness A Anxiety T Trapped H Hopelessness W Withdrawal A Anger R Recklessness M? Mood Changes

Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) if any of the following warning signs occur: 1) Threats of harming oneself or talk of wanting to hurt or kill oneself 2) Looking for ways to kill oneself (seeking out pills, firearms or other dangerous modes) 3) Writing or talking about dying, death or suicide in ways that seem out of the ordinary or harmful

If you’re the one feeling this way, it’s OK to call for yourself. There is refuge from your despair.

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“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” —Thich Nhat Hanh

LifeNet Health’s Grief Companion® Program

“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” —Emily Kimbrough

Many newly bereaved donor family members tell us that they want to talk with other donor family members. We’ve received lots of feedback from these grief partners, as they’re called, telling us how important their Grief Companion has been to their grief and mourning [healing] process. Some even say they “saved my life.”

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” — Kenji Miyazawa A Grief Companion is a safe person who understands the grief journey, especially within the context of organ and tissue donation. A Grief Companion is not a professional counselor, and is not intended to substitute for one. Our Grief Companion program is a free service that pairs trained donor family members with newly bereaved donor family members. We’ve trained companions who’ve experienced the suicide of a loved one, and while we can’t guarantee partners whose experience is entirely similar, we can say that all of our companions are supportive people who offer the gift of a caring presence.

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Many donor families impacted by suicide say they experience feelings of guilt, sometimes blaming themselves, and at times they feel others blaming them and they feel shame. Your grief is uniquely your own, but there are parts of your grief journey that share a path with our Grief Companions. Linda Kennedy, a donor mom who is also a survivor of suicide, offers these words about her Grief Companion, Lori, following the death of her son. “Lori was the one person who got it. She understood how I felt. Lori was instrumental in helping me realize why I needed to continue to go on after John’s death. She was able to pick me up when I didn’t have the strength to pick myself up.” Linda, like you, had to decide for herself what steps she would take next in moving forward with her grief journey. She found an invaluable resource in her relationship with Lori. We hope that you will consider participating in our Grief Companion program as a right step for you.

To find out more about the Grief Companion program, please call Michael Reilly at (757) 609-4412 or email Michael_Reilly@lifenethealth.org.

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VIRGINIA SUPPORT GROUPS Annandale Survivors of Suicide Contact: Judy McDowell (703) 941-7000 www.havenofnova.org Alexandria Support Group for Adult Survivors of Suicide Contact: Mary Livingston Azoy, LPC, CPT (703) 943-7139 Arlington Support for Individuals who have lost a Loved One to Suicide Contact: Charlene Nieman (703) 516-6768 supportgroupadministrator@crisislink.org CrisisLink’s Survivor Support Group for Teens & Young Adults Contact: Mary Azoy (703) 516-6771 marya@crisislink.org Blacksburg Healing after Suicide Loss - Family Friendly Contact: Deb Young-Corbett (540) 449-2068 Email: youngcorbett@vt.edu www.uucnrv.org/contact.htm Charlottesville Charlottesville/Albemarle Survivors of Suicide Contact: Margie Howell (434) 974-9314 Email: MashRN@aol.com Dumfries Surviving After Suicide (SAS) c/o ACTS/Helpline Contact: Victoria Graham (703) 221-1144 Helpline 24 hrs. (703) 368-4141

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Fredericksburg Kids Helping Kids Contact: Hospice Support Care, Inc. (540) 361-7071 childrensbereavement@hospicesupportcare.org Harrisonburg / Rockingham County Survivors of Suicide Contact: Nancy J Shomo, BSW (540) 433-4427 Hopewell Healing after Suicide Contact: Mary Douglas Krout (804) 458-3895 Email: mary.krout@mindspring.com Jonesville Survivor of Suicide Support Group Contact: Bill and Phyllis Russell (276) 346-1641 Lexington Suicide Survivors Support Group Vickie L. Kave, L.C.S.W (540) 463-1848 vk@rockbridgeareahospice.org Lynchburg Survivors of Suicide Support Group Contact: Vicki Sandifer (434) 847-9055 www.mhacv.org Newport News Survivors of Suicide Group Contact: Catholic Charities (757) 875-0060 Email: tcrossman@cceva.org Pennington Gap Survivors of Suicide Support Group Contact: Bill & Phyllis Russell (276) 346-1641 Portsmouth Survivors of Suicide Contact: Christine Gilchrist (757) 483-5111

Reston The Compassionate Friends Group for Parents Who Are Childless Contact: Harriette Evenson (703) 525-9311 *for parents who have lost an only child Richmond National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Virginia Contact: Kathy Harkey & Margaret English (804) 285-1749 Email: namicva@aol.com Emerging From Darkness: Suicide Survivor Support Group Contact: Karen Gill, LCSW (804) 909-0123 Email: kgill@nelsencares.com Roanoke Roanoke Valley Survivors of Suicide Contact: Diane Kelly (540) 344-0931 Email: mharv@infionline.net Springfield Suicide Survivor Support Group Contact: Annemarie Bezold, L.C.S.W. (703) 866-2100 Email: annemarie.bezold@fairfaxcounty.gov Staunton/Waynesboro Survivors of Suicide Support Group Contact: Dr. Cynthia Long Lasher (540) 383-2902 Email: clonglasher@lfsva.org www.griefvirginia.org Williamsburg Survivors of Suicide Support Group Contact: Charlotte Moyler (757) 903-1641 Email: charlottemoyler@cox.net Winchester Survivors of Suicide Loss Contact: Pat Brown (540) 667-5676 Email: upndown66@yahoo.com

RESOURCE BOOKS

An Empty Chair: Living In the Wake of a Sibling’s Suicide Sara Swan Miller, iUniverse, Inc, 2000

For Survivors A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies Ann McCracken and Mary Semel, Hazelden Foundation, 1998 After Suicide: Help for the Bereaved Dr. Sheila Clark, Hill of Content, 1995 Black Suicide: The Tragic Reality of America’s Deadliest Secret Alton R. Kirk, Ph.D., Beckham Publications Group, Inc., 2009 Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch, Hazelden Foundation, 2006 Grieving a Suicide: A Loved One’s Search for Comfort, Answers & Hope Albert Y. Hsu, IVP Books, 2002 Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide Christopher Lukas and Henry Seiden, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007 Suicide Survivors’ Handbook — Expanded Edition Trudy Carlson, Benline Press, 2000 Surviving Suicide: Help to Heal Your Heart: Life Stories from Those Left Behind Heather Hays, Brown Books, 2005 The Wilderness of Suicide Grief: Finding Your Way Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Companion Press, 2010 Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing After Loss Michael F. Myers, M.D., and Carla Fine, Gotham Books, 2006 By Survivors A Hike for Mike: An Uplifting Adventure across the Sierra Nevada for Depression Awareness Alt, Jeff, Dreams Shared Publications, 2005

A Special Scar: The Experience of People Bereaved by Suicide Alison Wertheimer, Routledge, 2001 Before Their Time: Adult Children’s Experiences of Parental Suicide Mary and Maureen Stimming, Temple University Press, 1999 Blue Genes: A Memoir of Loss and Survival Christopher Lukas, Doubleday, 2008 Do They Have Bad Days In Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling Michelle Linn-Gust, Chellehead Works; 2nd Edition, 2001 History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life Jill Bialosky, Atria Books, 2011 In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother’s Suicide Nancy Rappaport. Basic Books, 2009 My Son...My Son: A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss or Suicide Iris Bolton and Curtis Mitchell, Bolton Press, 1995 No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One Carla Fine, Doubleday, 1996 No Way to Behave at a Funeral Noel Braun, Port Campbell Press, 2011 Sanity & Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival, and Strength Judy Collins, Tarcher/Penguin, 2003 Sisters: The Karma Twist Linn-Gust, Michelle, Chellehead Works, 2011 Surviving Suicide: A Mother’s Story Heather Harpeta, Passionate Nomad Publishing, 2012 The Empty Chair: The Journey of Grief After Suicide Beryl Glover, In Sight Books, 2000

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For Surviving Children and Teens After Francis Chalifour, Tundra, 2005

Real Men Do Cry: A Quarterback’s Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression and Surviving Suicide Loss Eric Hipple, with Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley. Quality of Life Publishing Co., 2008

After a Parent’s Suicide: Helping Children Heal Margo Requarth, Healing Hearts Press, 2006

Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing Thomas R. Golden, Golden Healing Publishing, 1996

After a Suicide: A Workbook for Grieving Kids The Dougy Center, 2001

When a Man Faces Grief/A Man You Know is Grieving: 12 Practical Ideas to Help You Heal From Loss Thomas Golden and James Miller, Willowgreen Publishing, 1998

After a Suicide: Young People Speak Up Susan Kuklin, Putnam Publishing Group, 1994 But I Didn’t Say Goodbye: For Parents and Professionals Helping Child Suicide Survivors Barbara Rubel, Griefwork Center, Inc., 2000 Child Survivors of Suicide: A Guidebook for Those Who Care for Them Rebecca Parkin and Karen Dunne-Maxim, 1995 Remembering Garrett: One Family’s Battle with a Child’s Depression United States Senator Gordon H. Smith, Carroll & Graf, 2006 Red Chocolate Elephants: For Children Bereaved by Suicide Diana C. Sands, Ph.D., Karridale Pty Limited; 1st Edition, 2010 Someone I Love Died By Suicide: A Story for Child Survivors and Those Who Care for Them Doreen Cammarata, Grief Guidance, Inc., 2000 For Men by Men Men Don’t Cry . . . Women Do: Transcending Gender Stereotypes of Grief Terry L. Martin & Kenneth J. Doka, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2000

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Prevention

Dark Clouds Gather: The true story about surviving Mood Disorders, Eating Disorders, Attempted Suicide and Self-Harm Katy Sara Culling, Chipmunk Publishing, 2009

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.asfp.org

Never Regret the Pain: Loving and Losing a Bipolar Spouse Sel Erder Yackley, Helm Publishing; Expanded Edition, 2006 Will’s Choice: A Suicidal Teen, a Desperate Mother, and a Chronicle of Recovery Gail Griffith, Harper Perennial; 1st Edition, 2006

Canada Suicide Project www.suicideprevention.ca Help Guide www.helpguide.org Suicide Prevention, Awareness and Support www.suicide.org Depression

When Suicide Comes Home: A Father’s Diary and Comments Paul Cox, Bolton Press, 2002

ONLINE SUPPORT

Spiritual/Religious

Support Groups

After Suicide John H. Hewett, Westminster John Knox Press; 1st Edition, 1980

Heart Beat Grief Support www.heartbeatsurvivorsaftersuicide.org

Finding Your Way After the Suicide of Someone You Love David B. Biebel, D.Min., & Suzanne L. Foster, M.A., Zondervan, 2005

Road 2 Healing www.road2healing.com

Associations

From the Ashes Flies the Phoenix: Creating a Powerful Life After a Suicide Gretta Krane, Inspiring Enterprises, 2006

Suicide Grief Support Forum www.suicidegrief.com

American Association of Suicidology www.suicidology.org

Healing the Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide Catherine Greenleaf, St. Dymphna Press, 2006

Survivors of Suicide Support Groups www.survivorsofsuicide.com

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education www.save.org

Feeling the Pain www.suicidal.com Metanoia – “Change Your Mind, Change Your Life” www.metanoia.org

Incomplete Knowledge Jeffrey Harrison, Four Way Books, 2006 Passing Reflections, Volume I: Meditations on Grief and Volume II: The Journey Through Grief Kristen Spexarth, Big Think Media, 2010 The Role of Faith Communities in Suicide Prevention Timothy Doty, Psy.D. & Sally Spencer-Thomas Psy.D., MNM, Carson J. Spencer Foundation, 2009

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Suicide and Mental Illness

“He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it.”

—Turkish proverb

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The Healing Process Begins............................................................................ ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... .........................................................................................................................

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“Nothing makes one feel so strong as a call for help.” — Pope Paul IV

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LNH Suicide Family Support Resource Guide