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4th Annual Survivors of Suicide Loss Conference: Pathways Forward


8:30 - 9:40
Registration and Breakfast

9:40 - 9:50
Opening Remarks

9:50 - 10:20
Opening Address George Smitherman

10:25 - 10:40
AFSP Documentary-A Daughter’s Journey

10:45 - 11:45
Sharing Sessions

11:45 - 1:00

1:00 - 3:00
Workshop with a break at 2:00

3:00 - 3:10
David Cooper

Closing activities

Workshop details:

Justina Zatzman
Moving With Pain: Yoga and Mindfulness for Traumatic Grief

Moving forward from suicide loss demands everything of you. You might have been told that you need to let yourself feel grief – to let the pain be pain. It sounds right, but it’s easier said than done when things get overwhelming, exhausting, excruciating or hopeless. In the moments when it feels like we’re drowning in overwhelming pain, we tend to either collapse or try to numb the feeling out. Recommendations for self-care can sometimes, counter-intuitively, encourage numbing out by trying to replace pain with something more pleasant, missing something important along the way. Distinct from self-care, self-compassion involves not just tolerating, but also getting to know what hurts so that you can truly respond to your own pain. Self-compassion – so important, and so often under-emphasized in our lives – is crucial for coping and moving with grief and pain.

This experiential workshop will help participants better understand the self-criticism, anxiety and anger that complicate grief. It will also introduce participants to grounded and practical ways of working with these challenges, including guided trauma-informed yoga and meditation practices. Practices that emphasize embodied awareness of what we’re experiencing help connect us to the present moment and cultivate self-compassion and self-soothing skills, which ultimately help us move with grief.

*No experience with meditation or yoga is required. Practices will be brief and accessible (no special clothes or mats required).

Maureen Pollard
Write Through the Pain: Using Therapeutic Writing Techniques

Through large group discussion, the facilitator will explore the benefits and risks of writing as a therapeutic tool to work through emotional pain, as well as strategies to reduce the risks. Short, focused writing exercises will be facilitated, allowing participants to experience the act of writing, followed by reflection on the experience of writing about grief.

The session will close with an offer of handouts with additional writing exercises and prompts for continued practice if participants so desire.

Andrea Warnick
A Web of Grief: Fostering Healthy Grief in Self and Others

The human experiences of grief and heartbreak are always painful, yet additional challenges come with navigating grief related to a death from suicide in a society that struggles with both mortality and emotional expression. This presentation will explore these challenges while exposing common misconceptions about grief. Practical strategies for supporting a healthy grief process in both ourselves and those who we are closest to will also be shared, including the importance of finding ways to maintain an on-going connection to the person who died.

Tamara Robert
Healing Through Traumatic Grief

This workshop will explore the impacts of trauma and traumatic grief on our whole being, the various ways we heal through trauma and loss and the complexities that can hinder recovery. It will also delve into the healing aspects of supporting one another as well as the vulnerability of wading through wounds and sorrows that are akin to our own lived experiences. It will endeavour to explore how we heal collectively while also honouring the individual’s needs for care and self-care.

Earlier Event: June 22
Pride Toronto!