In This Issue
White House Issues Presidential Message
FREE Webinar for High School Faculty and Staff
Handling the Holidays
Interested in Advocacy?
Survivor Spotlight
Support Group listings & Facilitator training opportunities
White House Issues Presidential Message...
AFSP is deeply gratified to have received from the White House a special message supporting National Survivors of Suicide Day, acknowledging the pain and tragedy of suicide loss, and recognizing the efforts of those who are working to prevent suicide throughout the nation.

Citing the critical importance of identifying and helping those at risk, the President pledged his Administration's support for mental health screening and treatment for service members and veterans, and efforts to reach vulnerable youth, including those who may have been the victims of bullying.

AFSP remains committed to making suicide prevention a national priority, and is grateful to the Administration for its recognition of this important public health issue.What action, if any, do you want your members to take? Add a "Find out more" link to additional information that you may have hosted on your website.
News Alert

Save the Date:

Indianapolis 2011 Walk Planning Committee meeting- January 10, 2011 @ 6:00pm

May 15th, 2011~ McCutcheon High School, Lafayette Indiana.  Indiana's first Campus Out of the Darkness Walk

June 11, 2011 ~ 2nd Annual Ride to Silence the Stigma, Motorcycle Ride.  Northside Harley Davidson Indianapolis

Indianapolis Out of the Darkness Community Walk. White River State Park, on the Canal in Downtown Indy- on World Suicide Prevention Day at the end of National Suicide Prevention Week- September 10th, 2011.  Mark your calendars

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Free Webinar for High School Faculty and Staff

This FREE 60-minute webinar on Teen Depression and Suicide Risk is designed to show teachers, counselors, school nurses, psychologists and other school personnel how they can effectively incorporate depression education into the classroom, using a ground-breaking new film, More Than Sad: Teen Depression, developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The film features vignettes of four teens that will help students recognize the varied signs and symptoms of depression, reduce their misconceptions and apprehensions about treatment and promote help-seeking behavior.
More Than Sad logo
Following completion of the webinar and a brief feedback form, participants will receive a complimentary copy of More Than Sad: Teen Depression (valued at $49.99) to use with your students. The film comes packaged with easy-to-use materials, including a sample lesson plan, handouts and a pre-post quiz, that will maximize students' educational experience.
Ann P. Haas, Ph.D.
Director of Prevention Projects, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Please note that each offering of the webinar is limited to 250 registrants, so register today!
To accommodate your busy schedule, the webinar will be offered at the following times. Please click on one of the links below to register:

Tuesday, December 7 at 9:00am CST

Wednesday, December 8 at 12:00pm CST

Thursday, December 9 at 1:00pm CST
For more information about AFSP's depression education and suicide prevention efforts, please contact Bridget Curran, Education Manager, at

Dear AFSP Indiana Supporter:
We hope that you were able to join us at one the many sites in Indiana for the 12th Annual International Survivors of Suicide Day on November 20th.  You are always welcome to watch the programs from this year and the previous 2 years on the AFSP website in the privacy of your own home.  Regardless of where you chose to participate, please know that you are not alone in this journey.  We are here to help you make connections with other survivors through AFSP sponsored activities, Help you find support groups closest to you, find needed written or online resources and Help you feel connected to a larger community that understands what you may be going through. 

Handling the Holidays

Coping with Suicide Loss ~ Link

Do what you think will be comfortable for you. Remember, you can always choose to do things differently next time.

Think about your family's holiday traditions. Consider whether you want to continue them or create some new ones.
Remember that family members may feel differently about continuing to do things the way they've been done in the past. Try to talk openly with each other about your expectations.
Consider whether you want to be with your family and friends for the holiday, or whether it would be more healing for you to be by yourself or go away (this year).
Keep in mind that sometimes the anticipation of an event can be more difficult than the event itself.
If you find it comforting to talk about your loved one, let your family and friends know that; tell them not to be afraid to mention your loved one's name.
Some survivors find it comforting to acknowledge the birthday of their loved ones by gathering with his/her friends and family; others prefer to spend it privately.
Some survivors have found the following ritual helpful for a variety of occasions:
Light two candles, and then blow one out. Explain that the extinguished candle represents those we've lost, while the one that continues to burn represents those of us who go on despite our loss and pain.
Simply leave the one candle burning (you can put it off to one side) for the duration of the holiday meal or event. The glowing flame acts as a quiet reminder of those who are missing.
Above all, bear in mind that there is no "right" way to handle holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays. You and your family may decide to try several different approaches before finding one that feels best for you.
Excerpted from Surviving Suicide Loss: A Resource and Healing Guide.
Interested in Legislative Advocacy?

Consider joining the Field Advocacy Program! Be a part of grassroots legislative action to forward the cause of suicide prevention. Our goal is to have 435 Field Advocates across the country-one in every Congressional district in the United States. For more information about this program click here to view a pdf of the program brochure and application.

Survivor Spotlight
Britta Neinast
~Valparaiso, Indiana

On December 10, 2005, suicide happened.  It was a Saturday and I was getting ready for the holidays.  In the hurry of the season, I had forgotten my cell phone.  By the time I returned home, I discovered my mom had called several times but I was not available.  When I finally returned her call, I could hear it in her voice.  There was something terribly wrong.  She proceeded to give me the news that she found my dad in the yard.  He had taken his life.Britta's Dad

I couldn't even believe what I heard.  My first thought was he was cleaning his gun and it went off ~ by accident.  But somehow I knew.  It started to make sense.  Somewhere deep inside, we all knew.  Dad had not been acting right these past few weeks, months, and if we thought hard enough, we would have realized he had not really smiled in years.  He had slowly changed but the problem was we did not know what we were seeing.  We missed it.

That Thanksgiving, my parents came to visit.  While with my dad, I felt something different.  He decided not to hunt, something he had done every Thanksgiving since I was little.  But he explained it away saying he would rather spend time with us.  We were happy!  Dad was finally starting to slow down, spend more time with family, getting ready for retirement.  It was a good thing!!  However, during the visit, I remember feeling like this was the last time I would see my dad.  Somehow I sensed it, something was going to happen.  But my thoughts went to a heart attack...I NEVER considered suicide.

During the weeks after Thanksgiving, he became even more distant.  Almost as if he was in another place.  On the morning of his death, mom confronted him again.  She asked what was wrong.  She shared that he did not seem right but again, he dismissed it or gave plausible excuses.  He was tired, getting older, ready to slow down, trying to figure out retirement.  It all made sense and maybe to him it was true too.  He probably did not know either.  He was just as confused.  Little did we know that these are the warning signs of suicide.  Mom finally pushed the issue and got him to agree to see someone on Monday.  Unfortunately, that day would never come.

Over the years, we have tried to make some sense of this confusion.  The thing is with suicide, you never really know for sure.  You come up with reasonable explanations in an attempt to answer all the why's!!  You think you have it figured out but as soon as you do, there are numerous reasons to shatter that explanation and create doubts.  So you accept the fact that you will never fully know, at least not in this lifetime.  With that you agree to accept that which makes most sense to you and learn to move on.  When the doubts come, you remember that you made this agreement with yourself so you can learn to live with the pain and find peace.

Each of us handles grief differently.  As a way of healing, I became more involved in suicide prevention and intervention efforts.  I have learned about the warning signs and risk factors of suicide and now train others.  It is my way of trying to make a difference, to reach out to others who encounter suicide, and hopefully save a life.  I was not able to save my dad but it is my way of easing the pain.  If I can help just one person, it also helps me!!!

Interested in starting a Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group in your area?

Training Opportunity:
Facilitating Suicide Bereavement Support Groups for Children and Teens
Cincinnati, OH on March 4-5, 2011. 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.  Details and registration available at

Please click here for additional Facilitator Training opportunities

If you currently Facilitate a Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group or are aware of one that is currently not listed in the Indiana resources on our AFSP website, please send us the information so that we can update our database and make your group more visible when individuals are looking for a group close to them.  If your group is listed, but information needs to be updated, please send us that information as well.
Group listing for Indiana

Thank you for your continued support of AFSP Indiana.  Please know that we are grateful for each of you!  To our volunteers: you are fantastic and we couldn't exist without you!  We ARE making a difference!  Our voice DOES matter!  I am encouraged everyday by the survivors that we connect with, Survivors of Suicide Loss, Attempt Survivors and those living with the daily challenges of a depressive illness.  It is my heart, and the heart of our Chapter Board and National organization to see us all empowered and changing the way our society views, discusses and treats the issues of depression and suicide.  Wishing everyone a joyful Holiday Season and Happy New Year!

We hope you will continue to join our efforts to SILENCE THE STIGMA in 2011!


Lisa Brattain - Founder and Chair
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention -  Indiana Chapter
P.O. Box 1793, Noblesville, Indiana 46061