Chasing the “Why?” Survivors of Suicide Loss Conference

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Our 2021 Survivors of Suicide Loss Conference was an astounding success! With 93% of registrants attending, its need was obvious. Our day started with an exciting break-out discussion moderated by COH’s Executive Director, Julia Ellifritt. Her topic, “Why We Chase the Why,” was well-balanced with an encouragement to “Chase the Peace.”

The next segment included two powerful documentaries, each followed by a moderated panel of three discussants. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s acclaimed documentaries The Journey and The Journey Revisited tell the stories of a diverse group of suicide loss survivors. They are compelling films that show how each survivor is weathering the loss of a loved one, and how they are finding their way back to a life rich in meaning—and even joy.

Our lunch keynote address was delivered by Rev. Dr. Patrick L. Hunt. Pastor Hunt is Pastor of Heritage Congregational Church, Berea Police Department Chaplain, and a survivor of suicide loss. He skillfully talked about the importance of grieving in community, and not in isolation, based on the Psalms.

The afternoon session started with the introduction of a new working model for extended group support, presented by COH’s Community Outreach Pete Bliss. It was followed by a very moving memorial tribute to those we have lost, including the reading of their names, and a concluding postlude by professional bagpiper Patrick Coleman.

Everyone is already looking forward to another conference in 2022!

“My biggest take away was that I am not alone in this struggle and others have obstacles even though a couple years have passed since their loss.  Everyone has their own way of looking at these tragic passings and it was great to connect with other people outside of my group.”

-Stephanie, 2021 Survivors of Suicide Loss Conference Attendee