Death is one of the hardest trials in life. When one takes their own life, additional painful and confusing feelings, questions, and wonders present themselves. In our community, too many have felt the personal effects of suicide in the past years. With the most heartfelt love and sympathy around this topic, this is a summary of the suicide Postvention initiative that Lyons Emergency and Assistance Fund (LEAF) is offering in partnership with a nationally acclaimed suicide expert.
Last week, fifty-five local people attended the first in a series of meetings in a program called Postvention. It is a process where suicide is addressed on a community level, with goals of healing, increased awareness, prevention, and providing practical means where we can all come together and be points of light for those in need. This meeting was an introduction to Postvention, and the first in a series of programming that includes education, training, and other means of support.
Vu Gandin-Le, who is the subject matter expert, led the meeting, and he introduced the path the community will take together in upcoming months. LEAF Board member and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kim Hinzy and I also spoke during the meeting. Community members were caring and engaged, offering suggestions and curiosity on how to best come together to support our fellow friends and neighbors.
Key to the meeting was suggestions by attendees on what local, positive factors our specific community offers to help support mental wellness. This type of feedback is representative of community co-creating a realistic plan for our special town.
Right now, there is an online Postvention Dashboard that serves as a center for contact, information, questions, and ways to engage with this healing and forward-moving project. It is a moving platform that is updated with milestones, dates, meetings, and information. If you want to help, participate, or get more information about the process, you can access the Postvention Dashboard here: https://godotcreative.com/lyons/?blm_aid=67585
Over the next month, there will be several one-hour virtual prevention trainings offered. Classes will be grouped by specific needs, to include teaching service industry personnel and first responders, for example. The trainings will focus on things we can look for and how to respond in interactions with others. Use the Dashboard to sign up for trainings, or to get more information, email Vu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another part of Postvention is determining who may be affected most by deaths and anticipating what individuals and groups need additional support. This is called contact tracing. If you have knowledge of any other events or repercussions, you can access the Dashboard.
You can also reach out to LEAF’s completely confidential trauma-informed therapists, who care about this so much. Both individual and group support is available. Confidentially reach out, and we will be here to support you. For options, please email email@example.com. Again, all communications are confidential. Your safety and our community’s safety are paramount. You can learn more about LEAF’s Mental Wellness & Addiction Recovery program and therapists on LEAF’s website, at leaflyons.org.
A final aspect of Postvention is assembling and training what is called a community ambassador group. This group of approximately 50 people in the Greater Lyons community will form the first line of support in the Postvention process. If you are interested in learning more, apply on the first page of the Dashboard. There are options of simply being on an email list for updates, receiving training, or becoming a community ambassador. The community ambassador training will be delivered in early March.
Throughout the Postvention process and beyond, LEAF is here for you. Thank you each for your love and care for your community.