4th Annual
Suicide Loss Survivor Support Conference:
PATHWAYS FORWARD

The immediate aftermath of a suicide loss is filled with uncertainty and often no clear path forward. Through group discussions, workshops, meaningful conversations and networking we will explore the unique journeys we take from the early moments after their death, to months and years later as we come to terms with pain, sorrow, and loss.

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Hello to you all.

I’m looking forward to re-connecting with all of you at our Annual Survivors of Suicide Loss Conference. This year’s conference on November 17th will be an incredible opportunity to network and learn as we together explore the rough terrain of surviving a suicide loss. The details about the day, including workshop options and registration information are included in this message.
 
Personally, I can’t wait to see those of you whom I've met again & meet those of you who are joining us for the fist time.
 
Thank you,

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Alex
Manager, Traumatic Loss Survivor Support Programs

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We have an important story to tell about depression & mental health.

Our Keynote

George Smitherman

George is a former Ontario Cabinet Minister (Health, and Energy), 2010 Toronto mayoral candidate, Father of three,  and Suicide Loss Survivor.

After marrying this partner Christopher, they adopted two children (Michael and Kayla) to join their family including Chris' daughter from a previous relationship.

Unfortunately, after struggling with his mental health, Chris, who was reportedly suffering from clinical depression, took his own life by suicide after going missing in December 2013.

After taking time to begin to navigate his path forward following this heartbreaking moment in his life, George chose to lend his voice as an advocate for mental health awareness in an effort to help others.

We're honoured to have George join us to share his thoughts and personal experience.  

The Agenda

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
Lunch

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

3:00 - 3:10
David Cooper

3:10
Closing activities

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Our Speakers

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.

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For 50 years, Distress Centres has provided 24-hour support, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to individuals in our community who are at risk and their most vulnerable. We are Canada’s oldest volunteer delivered crisis, emotional support and suicide prevention + intervention + postvention service agency.

Our services are available via hotline, online chat, and text. We also offer face-to-face individual as well as group support and counselling to those who have lost a loved one to suicide or homicide and are navigating the aftermath.

Distress Centres continues to expand, and our program participants & call volume increases each year. Distress Centres now answers more than 82,000+ calls annually, and is a pilot site for the recently launched National Suicide Hotline (Canadian Suicide Prevention Service) via Crisis Service Canada.

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PLEASE HELP US CONTINUE TO SAVE LIVES.

We're a small charity that works our hearts out to provide emotional support and crisis intervention to our community's at-risk and most vulnerable individuals. Each donation enables our dedicated team and compassionate volunteers to provide life-sustaining support.

We do our best to stretch every dollar as far as possible to deliver our life-sustaining support to those who desperately need us but, we urgently need your help.

Every day Distress Centres receives 400+ calls. In 2017, crisis calls increased over 30%, ONTX (online chat & text) messages increased by almost 60% and our survivor support programs also saw a 38% percent jump in participation. 

Each donation enables Distress Centres to provide life-sustaining support to individuals at risk and their most vulnerable in our community. Your generous contribution will make an incredible impact on not only our callers and program participants but also their friends, families and colleagues. You can save lives.

You can donate now through our secure online giving form by clicking below.

 
 
 
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Why become a monthly donor?

It’s easy. It’s flexible. It’s convenient. Most of all, it’s rewarding & impactful. Setting up a monthly gift provides significant and long-term impact on the work that we do at Distress Centres.

Your consistent contributions create an invaluable resource of sustained funding for our organization which allows for us to ensure continued support services for individuals in our community who are at-risk and their most vulnerable. They also allow us to plan ahead for long-term projects that truly change the lives of hundreds of people who are desperately in need.

YOU CAN SELECT THE MONTHLY AMOUNT convenient FOR YOU

You can give monthly in any amount of your choosing.

YOU CAN PAUSE OR CANCEL AT ANY TIME

You can conveniently adjust your amount, pause or cancel your donations at any time by contacting donations@torontodistresscentre.com.

YOU WILL RECEIVE TAX RECEIPTS FOR YOUR GENEROSITY

As a monthly donor, you will receive a tax receipt each month, and one consolidated tax receipt following the end of each calendar year for your total year’s contribution.

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FOUR (4) crisis line volunteer responders TRaINED each year.

OR

FOur (4) suicide loss/HOmicide loss survivor support grief facilitators trained each year.

OR

provides six (6) hours of crisis line service = 100+ crisis line calls from people who desperately need us each year.

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EIGHT (8) crisis line volunteer responders TRaINED each year.

OR

EIGHT (8) suicide loss/HOmicide loss survivor support grief facilitators trained each year.

OR

provides twelve (12) hours of crisis line service = 200+ crisis line calls from people who desperately need us each year.

TWELVE (12) crisis line volunteer responders TRaINED each year.

OR

TWELVE (12) suicide loss/HOmicide loss survivor support grief facilitators trained each year.

OR

SERVICE FOR 300+ crisis line calls from people who desperately need us each year.

 

Thirty (30) crisis line volunteer responders TRaINED each year.

OR

Thirty (30) suicide loss/HOmicide loss survivor support grief facilitators trained each year.

OR

SERVICE FOR 500+ crisis line calls from people who desperately need us each year.

 
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SUICIDE LOSS SURVIVOR SUPPORT

There is no universal or appropriate way to cope with a traumatic loss. However, sharing feelings and thoughts, facts and fears, helps to provide a sense of reason and normalcy in a situation without any rules.

Our suicide/homicide loss survivor support program is led by professional staff and highly-trained volunteer grief facilitators. As a result of the unique nature of suicide and homicide bereavement, and the shared value of connection and peer support, our program offers both individualized and group meetings.

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HOMICIDE LOSS SURVIVOR SUPPORT

There is no universal or appropriate way to cope with a traumatic loss. However, sharing feelings and thoughts, facts and fears, helps to provide a sense of reason and normalcy in a situation without any rules.

Our suicide/homicide loss survivor support program is led by professional staff and highly-trained volunteer grief facilitators. As a result of the unique nature of suicide and homicide bereavement, and the shared value of connection and peer support, our program offers both individualized and group meetings.

 
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VOLUNTEER

Fundraising is an exciting way to use your skills, talents, and expertise. It can get you out of your comfort zone and connect you to those around you while raising money for those who are
navigating their most vulnerable moments with Distress Centres. 

We're happy to help you develop your fundraising event or activity by providing a fundraising toolkit and resources. 

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Fundraise

Ever wanted to give back to your community in a meaningful and enriching way? Now is your chance! Volunteers are a vital part of Distress Centres.

Every year, volunteers contribute more than 100,000 hours to our 24-hour distress and crisis lines as well as our survivor of loss support programs. Their contributions provide immediate access to help and support. We have a variety of volunteer opportunities available!

 
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