Breaking the Silence

AFSP Indiana Chapter Newsletter 

November, 2010
In This Issue
Deadline for 2010 OOTD walks
National Survivors of Suicide Day
Indiana to Implement Survivor Outreach Program for 2011
Survivor Spotlight 1
Survivor Spotlight 2
New Facilitator Training Available
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If you have pictures you would like to share from any Indiana OOTD walk, please send them to the Chapter Chair, or upload them on our facebook page.  Pictures and Video received so far are posted to our

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To all the individuals, families and friends that came out to join us for the Out of the Darkness walks this Fall~ THANK YOU!  You make it possible for us to provide awareness and educational resources to our communities and schools, to provide support and encouragement to those who have lost a loved one to suicide, to fund much needed research at a National level to encourage improvements in detection and treatment options for depressive illnesses, to advocate for legislation directed towards prevention efforts, education requirements and laws to protect those who are being bullied.... but most of all, by walking in any of the Indiana Walks, your presence helps silence the stigma of suicide and depression!  It encourages an open, honest and educated conversation that is all too necessary in our society!
December 31st is the deadline
walk logoWe have until December 31st to raise funds for the 2010 walks, and qualify for the prizes in the National Prize Structure:



$2,500-$4,999Canon Powershot or Amazon Kindle
$1,000-$2,499Digital Photo Frame or Jaybird Bluetooth Headphones
$500-$999Out of the Darkness Zip Up Hooded Sweatshirt
$150 +Out of the Darkness T-shirt day of the walk

National Survivors of Suicide Day
A Day of Healing for
Survivors of Suicide Loss

National Survivors of Suicide Day

 National Survivors of Suicide Day is
Saturday, November 20, 2010

National Survivors of Suicide Day includes a blend of emotional support and information about resources for healing. Survivors of suicide loss and mental health professionals discuss their experiences and address questions like: Why did this happen? How do I cope?

  E-Network Email Blast


12th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day
Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thousands of survivors of suicide loss will gather together around the world on this day of healing, support, and empowerment. 


If you have lost someone in your life to suicide, please join us.

Hundreds of local conference sites will simultaneously watch a 90-minute broadcast produced by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. On this broadcast, a diverse panel of survivors and mental health professionals will address the questions that so many survivors face.

"Why did this happen? How can I cope? Where can I find support?"

This unique network of healing conferences helps survivors connect with others who have survived the tragedy of suicide loss, and express and understand the powerful emotions they experience.

Each conference site is organized locally, but they're all connected in spirit as participants across the globe watch a special 90-minute AFSP broadcast together. In the U.S., conference sites will show the broadcast together from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

For those survivors of suicide loss who don't live near a conference site or who find it difficult to attend in person, the 90-minute broadcast will also be available live on the AFSP website from 1-2:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time, with a live online chat immediately following the program. It will then be saved on the website so that survivors can watch it again throughout the year at anytime. Please visit for additional details.


Each conference site is independently organized. For details and information on the site nearest you, please contact the local organizers listed below

University of Indianapolis-Schwitzer Student Center, 1400 E Hanna Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46229
Start Time: 1:00 pm EST
Contact: Lisa Davis,, 317-430-5000


Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Lion's Club Room,
209 Lincoln Way East, Mishawaka, IN 46544
Conference Starts: Noon
Contact: Nicole Royer, , 989-607-7259

Maring-Hunt Library, 2005 South High Street
Conference Starts: 12:30 pm EST
Contact: Robin Lett, PhD.,, 765-285-1266

Harvest Ridge Church at 95th Office Center
9495 Keilman Street
Start Time: 11:30 a.m. CST
Fee: no
Contact: Karen S. Lawrence, , 219-844-5198

Indiana to Implement Survivor Outreach Program in 2011


is searching for volunteers


The AFSP Survivor Outreach Program: What It Is (and Isn't).

After a suicide, those left behind often wonder if there is anyone out there who really understands. They want support and compassion, as well as reliable information about suicide and its aftermath, but aren't always sure where to find it.


The goal of the Survivor Outreach Program is to facilitate trained volunteer survivors to provide support and practical information to newly-bereaved survivors upon request. The role of the Survivor Outreach volunteer is to listen, to let recent survivors know they're not alone, and to provide materials and information about local resources. Typically, Outreach Visits consist of one in-person visit of 1-2 hours in length. Outreach Visits take place upon request only, in a comfortable setting of the survivor's choice, and are generally made by a team of two volunteers. The Survivor Outreach Program is not intended to provide an ongoing system of support or any clinical or mental health service.


This program is available only through participating AFSP chapters. The Indiana Chapter will be implementing this program in 2011. Link to AFSP Information Page 



All potential outreach volunteers must meet all of the following criteria:

affiliated with a participating AFSP Chapter

a survivor of the suicide of a family member or close personal friend

at least 2 years from their own loss

sufficiently far along in their own healing (for example through attendance at a support group or counseling) to be able to listen, rather than needing to share their own story

able to accept that it is not their role to provide answers, but rather to offer their listening skills, support, and information about available resources

able to work well with other volunteer team members

willing and able to take a mandatory online training


What will I be doing?


Requests for Outreach Visits come in to the Chapter's Survivor Outreach Program Coordinator. The Chapter's Survivor Outreach Program Coordinator will obtain some basic intake information about the requesting survivor(s), and then provides that information to the volunteers assigned to the visit.


The volunteers then arrange the visit directly with the requesting individual/family.


In advance of each visit, the Survivor Outreach Program Coordinator provides the volunteers with packets of information for the survivor(s); these packets include information about local resources such as support groups, as well as other materials on surviving suicide loss.



Following each visit, volunteers must complete a short online

Volunteers' Visit Summary Form. This is a mandatory part of the




Next Steps to becoming a volunteer


1. Complete the online Volunteer Application


2. Phone Interview with AFSP's Survivor Initiatives Department.


3. Training: All applicants must take the mandatory free online training prior to conducting any visits.


4. Volunteering: After completing the online training, you will be ready to serve as a volunteer in the Survivor Outreach Program. Your local Survivor Outreach Coordinator will contact you as needed to ask you to go on visits.


5. Ongoing support and guidance: Volunteers are welcome to participate in free monthly drop-in conference calls, conducted by a member of AFSP's Outreach Program Training Corps.


If you have any questions or would like more information about the program, please contact the Indiana Chapter Survivor Outreach Program Coordinator, Lisa Davis at (317) 430-5000, or AFSP's Survivor Initiatives Department ( or 212-363-3500 ext. 33).

Survivor Spotlight - Jessica Inabnitt (Franklin, Indiana)
I will start from my ending; March 25th, 2009, I was the mother of an 18 year old freshman in college.  His name was Tyler Leitzman.  He was my son, best friend, soul mate, biggest fan, my life, my joy, my greatest accomplishment, my reason for living. 


The alarm clock woke him up early on the morning of the 25th.  He came to my room, and said he didn't sleep the night before, so he was going to stay home from school that day.  I would not let him.  He had already missed school once that week.  He had recently broken up with his girlfriend of 2 1/2 years.  They had been fighting via text and facebook through out the night.  I said to him, "Don't let another person ruin your life. You can't blow off school and your future because of breaking up with your girlfriend."  Those words will haunt me for the rest of my life. 

He went to school, when he got home he was in such a better spirit.  We had lunch together, then quickly he jumped up, said he was going to meet a friend, he would see me later.  We said our "I love you's", he was gone.  I went on with my day.  I had to be at work that evening at 4 pm.  I told Tyler this before he walked out the door.  

I worked the closing shift that night.  Tyler called or came by for dinner most nights that I closed.  On the 25th, he did not come in or call.  I did not realize this until I was leaving work at about midnight.  As I jumped in the car to come home, I called his phone, something I did regularly.  There was no answer.  I called a second time, again no answer.  I then called one of his best friends.  No answer on his phone.  I assumed they were deep in a video game, and not answering their phones.  As I pulled up to the house, Tylers car was parked out front.  I thought, maybe he had fallen asleep early, because he didn't sleep well the night before. 

As I opened the front door, I automatically looked to the couch in the living room.  Tyler's favorite spot, in front of the TV, with his lap top in hand.  He was not there.  Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw him laying on the stairs.  I thought at first he was playing a joke on me.  Then as I looked closer.  It sank in, he was dead.  Then I could see how he had done it.  I could see his color was not right.  I died that night.  The person I thought I was, was gone.

On March 26th, 2009, I was a lost, lonely, version of the person I once was.  I now had no purpose, no answers, no reason for living.  My world had come crashing down around me.  It was like my feet were stuck in cement, as the world went on around me.  My life had stopped.  Then I slowly began to put the pieces back together.  I will never have that former life back. I have to find a new normal, a new Jessica.  Most times, the hardest part of grief is the longing and yearning for the former life.  You want everything to back to the way it was. 

Everything is measured by before and after Tyler died.  You begin to measure everything as firsts.  First time you go by yourself somewhere you used to go with Tyler.  Your new life is set for you.  It is not the life you asked for, or want.  It is in this time, you have to decide, do I stand here and let life go by, or do I honor my son, best friend, soul mate.  Live the life he would want me to live. 

As time passes, it does not get easier, as people like to say at first.  You begin to learn to live your new normal life.  I still cry everyday.  I don't see that changing anytime soon.  I still question why this had to happen to me and to Tyler.  I always will.  My faith in God, and love for Tyler gets me through the toughest parts of my grief.  Now, I still live my life for Tyler.  He is still my reason for living, however, now it is to honor his name and to insure his death was not in vain.  If I can help save one life, or make someone elses life easier, my son will have filled his purpose on this earth.  I hope this story gives hope to those who need it.  I hope by telling my story, someone else can put the pieces of their broken heart and life back together.   RIP my beautiful boy.  Mom loves you.

I find comfort in writing and in helping others through their journey of depression, and loss.  The following article is a speech I wrote and presented to a group of middle school students at the middle school Tyler attended.  These kids have had some tough times, some are cutters, some battle depression, some have been through divorce, or maybe have been in trouble. 

 Hello my name is Jessica Inabnitt, my son Tyler Leitzman was a 2008 graduate of Center Grove High School.  He was every ones friend.  The fun kid, the caring friend, the prankster, the greatest listener, always there to give "the best" advice.  He was good at everything he applied himself too.  To me, Tyler was my everything.  He is the reason I got up in the morning.  Everything I was about, my whole life, was for Tyler.
  Tyler battled with depression, he sometimes felt isolated from his friends, however, he hid this from them.  Tyler, alot of the time felt misunderstood, he felt alone.  He didn't want to seek counseling or take medication for his depression, because people "would think he was crazy".  No matter how hard I tried to convince Tyler this was not the case, he did not believe me.  I didn't understand. 
  Tyler and I sometimes fought because I "misunderstood" his pain.  He hid most of it from me.  Do not get me wrong, Tyler and I were very close, he talked to me about most everything, But we still had our battles, all parents and children have their battles. 
   It may not seem like your parents know what you are going through, or like they do not think your problems are "such a big deal", but we do understand.  We have been there at one time.  Alot of the times we get so concerned with trying to fix your situation, or protect you from something that will cause you pain, we forget to just listen.  It is not because we think you are overreacting, its mostly because we ARE overreacting.  We want to stop you from making choices that may hurt you.  Choices we learned the hard way.
  On March 26th, 2009, my son Tyler took his own life.  I found him, when I came home from work.  On that day, I died also.  My whole reason for living died with Tyler.  My first emotion were of fear and guilt.  What had I done in raising Tyler, that made him not want to live?  Why hadn't I just listened, instead of always trying to fix everything?  Then came extreme sadness.  I didn't want to live without him.  Then the hurt followed, and is still with me everyday.  Sometimes it still hurts to breath, I miss him so much.   Then last but not least anger, anger at myself for not being the parent Tyler needed me to be.  Anger at Tyler for the choice he made.  What was he thinking?  He was a beautiful person with a very bright future.  The anger comes and goes still, mostly because his choice has devastated so many friends and family he left behind. 
  I will never see Tyler grow to be the wonderful man and father, I always knew he would become.  I will never have grandchildren.  His brother and sisters have lost their voice of reason, their rock.  Tyler was always the one they went to for advice.   Tyler's friends will never be the same.  I still get calls form them, saying they woke up and picked up the phone to call Tyler.   He is the only person they wanted to talk to, he would be the only person to understand what they were going through. He was the best at giving advice. 
  I hope that in telling you my story and Tyler's story.  You will know, there are people who care, that you are not alone.  What seems like a simple choice or  a solution to a problem, is not an answer.  It leaves hurt, devastation, unanswered questions, financial difficulties, and emptiness.   Believe this, life does not "just" go on without you.  My life has forever changed, I am not the same person I was before March 26th, 2009.  I long to be that person again, but will never be. 
  If you are having trouble, please reach out to a parent, a friends parent, a teacher, someone from church.  If I can save one person form feeling like Tyler did, or keep someone from feeling the pain that I feel and that all of Tyler's friends and family feel now. Tyler will not have died in vain.  You are special, and things will get better.  You are not alone.

This is my story, I tell my story and Tylers story to help, and to bring hope to those that suffer, and those that are left behind to pick of the pieces of a survivors shatter heart. 

talk logo

Survivor Spotlight- Joan Inabnitt- Tyler's Grandmother
tyler inabnitt
Tyler was a funloving' outgoing 18 year old with lots of friends and a large loving supportive family. He was a gifted writer in his first year of college studying to be a teacher.( I still haven't been able to read much of his writings) His mom was a single parent he was her only child. She devoted her life to him from the time he was born. He had a bright future and everything going his way ( or so WE thought) . On March 26,2009 he took his own life on the stairs in his home. His mom (my daughter) found him when she got home from work. At 1:10AM I got the call we all fear our whole life. My grief has been double edged...the loss of my grandson and grieving for my daughter's loss of her only child. It has devasted the entire family and his multitude of friends. The family supports each other. Our faith in God and support of family, friends and our church family has allowed us to find a "new normal" life. God has put some very special people in our lives since Tyler died, My daughter said to last night on the way home from S.O.S. that God knows what He's doing when he puts these people in our lives.....
Joan Inabnitt...Tyler Leitzman's grandma
Facilitator Training for anyone interested in starting a support group in Indiana?

New Training: Facilitating Suicide Bereavement Support Groups
for Children and Teens


Cincinnati, OH on March 4-5, 2010. Developed in response to your requests for more resources to help children and teens, this new hands-on training program is designed for adults who are interested in learning the how-to's of creating and facilitating a peer support group for children and teens ages 5-18.   The two-day program is conducted by experts in the field of childhood bereavement and experienced support group facilitators, and combines lecture, interactive discussion, and practice activities with individualized feedback. You don't need to be a mental health professional or have experience working with children to attend - you only need an interest in helping children and teens cope with the death of someone in their lives. Details and RegistrationChapter funds can be used to send individuals from your Chapter to this training program.  If you are interested in the Indiana Chapter helping you attend this training, Please contact Lisa Brattain at  and/or to learn how.

Planning for 2011 AFSP Indiana events and programs is beginning NOW.  We welcome McCutcheon High School in Lafayette Indiana for being the first Indiana High School to host a Campus Walk awareness event this Spring 2011, and Thank You Emma Gish (a student at McCutcheon), for being the driving force of the event in an effort to educate her school!  If you are interested in planning a Campus Walk for this spring at your school, please contact us at the information listed at the end of this letter.  If you are interested in volunteering for any of the Indiana Out of the Darkness Walks for next Fall, joining the planning committees, joining the Survivor Support Planning committee, or getting involved in any other way, again~ please contact us!  We welcome your volunteer service!
If you would like to share your survivor story, please contact me to ensure you have the correct format prior to submitting it for our Future Newsletters.

BIG "CONGRATS" to our own Dr. John Nurnburger for being names one of Indy's Best Doctors in the latest issue of Indianapolis Monthly!  It a pleasure and an honor to serve on the AFSP Indiana Board with you, John! 


Lisa Brattain - Chair

Silence the Stigma! Join us in our efforts to educate, raise awareness & support survivors of suicide loss
In the US, every 15 minutes someone dies by suicide. Every 16 minutes someone is left to make sense of it.