American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Indiana Chapter
November 2011
Breaking the Silence
AFSP Indiana Chapter Monthly Newsletter

The Indiana Chapter wrapped up our 2011 Walk Season with our final walk in Terre Haute on November 5th on a very chilly Saturday Morning!  Thank You to all the Volunteers and walk participants for making our 2011 Out of the Darkness Walk season in Indiana a success.  Between the Campus walks in the spring of 2011, the 2 Motorcycle Rides in June, and the 9 Out of the Darkness walks this Fall, we have connected with survivors all over Indiana with more than 4500 total participants, helping create a sense of community and helping people find much needed resources.  With the funds raised by your generous donations, we will be sending the More Than Sad program to our Hoosier Middle & High Schools over the next several months FOR FREE.  Please encourage your community schools to utilitze this tool for our Indiana Youth.  If you are interested in being a Volunteer with the Indiana Chapter, either within communities where AFSP is already working hard to raise awareness and implement programs or if you are a trailblazer and would like to bring AFSP resources to your community~ WE WELCOME YOUR DEDICATION TO THE CAUSE!  
Please contact the Chapter Chair- Lisa Brattain at 317.774.1377 or
Remembrance Tree
The Remembrance Tree at the Indianapolis Out of the Darkness Walk 2011
Surviving a Suicide Loss ~ A Financial Guide 

Financial Guide

Surviving a Suicide Loss: A Financial Guide is a 60-page booklet addresses the financial aspects of surviving a suicide loss. This booklet is available for free at Survivor Day Sites.



Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Groups - Indiana






LifeKeeper Memory Quilt Program



AFSP Memory Quilts are collaborative tributes created by survivors of suicide loss that are publically displayed at local and national events in order to put a human face on the tragedy of suicide and the devastating toll it has taken on our families and communities.

The Lifekeeper Memory Quilt Program was originally founded in 1997 by survivor Sandy Martin, who lost her only child, Tony. She believed survivors have an opportunity to use their experience "to do good, to work to dispel the myths, and to educate about suicide and its prevention."


Lifekeeper Quilt Program 

 Each quilt is comprised of fabric squares that have been crafted by different survivors with photos, drawings, text, or embroidery in memory of loved ones who have taken their lives. The creation of quilts is locally organized by volunteers who sign up to serve as AFSP Lifekeeper Memory Quilt Organizers. This grassroots activity provides a meaningful and creative outlet for survivors, and as each square of the quilt is lovingly stitched together with others, we are reminded that no survivor stands alone -- there are thousands of others who also feel the pain and loneliness of losing a loved one to suicide.

Each time an AFSP Lifekeeper Memory Quilt is displayed, it helps increase public awareness of suicide and removes a little more of the stigma that is unfortunately still associated with this issue.

Share your story and honor the memory of your loved one by crafting a quilt square for an AFSP Lifekeeper Memory Quilt. It's easy to do -no sewing skills are needed. 
If you are interested in adding a square the Indiana Quilt for 2012, Please contact Lisa Davis at 317-430-5000 or



Coping with Suicide Loss


Resource and Healing Guide 


If you have lost someone to suicide, the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Each year over 36,000 people in the United States die by suicide -- the devastated family and friends they leave behind are known as "survivors." There are millions of survivors who, like you, are trying to cope with this heartbreaking loss.

Survivors often experience a wide range of grief reactions, including some or all of the following:

  • Shock is a common immediate reaction. You may feel numb or disoriented, and may have trouble concentrating.
  • Symptoms of depression, including disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, intense sadness, and lack of energy.
  • Anger towards the deceased, another family member, a therapist, or yourself.
  • Relief, particularly if the suicide followed a long and difficult mental illness.
  • Guilt, including thinking, "If only I had...."
  • These feelings usually diminish over time, as you develop your ability to cope and begin to heal.  
"One learns to live with the loss, the tragedy, the waste, and the gaping hole in the fabric of one's life. There is no closure, nor would I want one. I want to remember him all my life, vividly: his laughter, the smell of his sneakers under his bed, his moments of joy, his humility, and his integrity."

What Do I Do Now?

  • Some survivors struggle with what to tell other people. Although you should make whatever decision feels right to you, most survivors have found it best to simply acknowledge that their loved one died by suicide.
  • You may find that it helps to reach out to family and friends. Because some people may not know what to say, you may need to take the initiative to talk about the suicide, share your feelings, and ask for their help.
  • Even though it may seem difficult, maintaining contact with other people is especially important during the stress-filled months after a loved one's suicide.
  • Keep in mind that each person grieves in his or her own way. Some people visit the cemetery weekly; others find it too painful to go at all.
  • Each person also grieves at his or her own pace; there is no set rhythm or timeline for healing.
  • Anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays may be especially difficult, so you might want to think about whether to continue old traditions or create some new ones. You may also experience unexpected waves of sadness; these are a normal part of the grieving process.
  • Children experience many of the feelings of adult grief, and are particularly vulnerable to feeling abandoned and guilty. Reassure them that the death was not their fault. Listen to their questions, and try to offer honest, straightforward, age-appropriate answers.
  • Some survivors find comfort in community, religious, or spiritual activities, including talking to a trusted member of the clergy.

Be kind to yourself. When you feel ready, begin to go on with your life. Eventually starting to enjoy life again is not a betrayal of your loved one, but rather a sign that you've begun to heal.






International Survivors of Suicide Day - Saturday, Nov 19th
International Survivor Day Logo

A Day of Healing for Survivors of Loss of Suicide

Survivors of suicide loss gather at hundreds of simultaneous healing conferences around the world every year on International Survivors of Suicide Day to connect with others who have survived the tragedy of suicide loss, and express and understand the powerful emotions they experience.


Methodist Temple, 2109 Lincoln Avenue, Evansville, IN 47714

Conference Starts: 11:30 am CST

Contact: Jo Gilreath,, 812-426-2640   



Jean Shephard Community Center, 3031 Mahoney, Hammond, IN 46323

Conference Starts: 11:30 AM CST


Contact: Karen Lawrence,, 219-844-5198   



Glendale Library, 6101 N Keystone Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46220

Conference Starts: 12:00 pm EST

Contact: Lisa Davis,, 317-430-5000   



Kennedy Library, 1700 W. McGalliard Road, Muncie, IN 47304

Conference Starts: 1:00 pm EST

Contact: Emily Barnum,, 765-285-1736 


If you don't live near a participating city or Find it difficult to attend in person, you can watch online and participate in a live chat immediately following the program.  

For More Details, Click Here


Surviving after suicide brochure Survivor Outreach Program

Free Support for Survivors

After a suicide, those left behind often: 

 + wonder if there is anyone out there that understands 

 + need local resources for support 

 + want reliable information about suicide and its aftermath, but aren't sure where to find it


Through AFSP's Survivor Outreach Program, trained local volunteers are on hand to: 

 + meet in person with newly-bereaved survivors and their families 

 + listen with compassion and offer reassurance that surviving a suicide loss is possible 

 + recommend helpful things to read 

 + provide information about support groups and other local resources


A sympathetic ear and a helping hand.

Most survivors who have met others who have also experienced suicide loss can attest to the power of this shared connection. It is often a fellow survivor who can recommend a book, connect someone to a support group or another resource, or simply provide reassurance.


I know someone who is newly bereaved. Can I request an outreach visit for this person? 

Please feel free to contact your your local AFSP Survivor Outreach Program Coordinator for more information about the program and share that information with anyone who needs it.  But please understand that AFSP volunteers are only able to meet with bereaved families and friends who have personally requested a visit.


Is this a counseling service? 

No, this is not a mental health or counseling service. Outreach volunteers can provide information to the newly bereaved on how to find a qualified mental health professional.


How do I request an outreach visit? 
To request a Survivor Outreach Program Visit contact Volunteer Program Coordinator and Indiana Chapter Board Member, Lisa Davis at 317.430.5000 or 

You'll be asked about your particular loss in order to match your request to a team of two trained volunteer survivors.  Soon after, one of the members of the volunteer outreach team will contact you to schedule the visit at a convenient and comfortable location of your choice. The visit generally lasts about an hour.

Diana Kerrigan
                                     Diana & Bryan Kerrigan

 Survivor Spotlight 
                      Diana Kerrigan 

My life was changed forever on August 24, 2009. 


I was awakened by my son at 4:00am. He said he needed a breathing treatment. When I got up to get his nebulizer, I noticed our front door was open. I walked to the door and saw my husband in a chair on the porch. At first, I thought he was passed out. He was an alcoholic that had been on a binge all weekend. When I opened the screen door, I noticed a spot on his shirt. I stepped back to see his service weapon on the floor under his chair. I walked in the house and told Johnathon to stay in his room. I then called 911. While on the phone with 911, the operator asked me to take my husband's pulse. I knew I didn't need to. His body was cold to the touch. When the police arrived, I called my parents, priest, and Bryan's family. These were all calls that I never thought I would make. After Bryan was taken away, my son and I went to my parents' house. From that point on I was in my daze. That morning at approximately 8:30 I received a phone call. The caller ID said it was from Bryan. I was startled for a minute, replaying the morning's events. When I answered the phone it was his place of employment. Bryan was a parole agent. I told them he had committed suicide with his service weapon. The days that followed were an emotional roller coaster as one would expect. I was devastated to see the front page of the newspaper with the story of Bryan's suicide. Rumors were started as a result of this. The viewing and the funeral followed soon after. Bryan was provided a typical Catholic funeral. His family participated in the services. Friends and co-workers swarmed the services. My emotions were numb. My mind was a blur. Everything seemed surreal.


After people faded back into their lives, my son and I began our new lives. I was now a single mother, a 35 year old widow, and alone. As everyone does, I reconstructed the weekend, trying to pick a part what had caused this decision. Bryan didn't leave a note. Everything was a mystery. On the outside, Bryan was a jovial, extroverted, friendly man. On the inside, Bryan struggled with alcoholism and various demons from his past. Bryan had been diagnosed as bi-polar several years prior. Often, in a drunken stupor, he would threaten suicide. For 10 years we battled all these demons together.


Shortly after he passed away, I started going to therapy. I learned that nothing I did or said caused his death. I often remind myself of something one of Bryan's friends told me. He told me I gave Bryan 10 years he didn't have. What he meant was Bryan had a history of threatening suicide. If it hadn't been suicide, it would have been the alcohol that killed him. Bryan had shown signs by becoming a recluse. He didn't talk in terms of the future. He was just going through the motions. Bryan refused to get help no matter how much I begged him.


The Year of Firsts have come and gone. The first missed birthdays, holidays, anniversary were all spent in a daze. But I survived them. After two years, I have tried to continue living. I exercise almost every day. I am a graduate student. I have a career, not just a job. My son is a lively, active, and energetic 14 year old. Bryan's son has graduated college and started his career. I would not have been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel if I didn't have the support of my family and friends. I have leaned on various people through the healing. Each family member or friend serves their purpose when I need them. My therapist has offered several ideas to heal healthy. I try to meditate on those ideas and implement them.   I hope to be a model of a survivor. My husband died, not me! I want my story to be one of hope and inspiration to survivors. I know the pain, the emptiness and the feeling of loss can be unbearable at times, but life will go on. I refuse to have my husband's legacy be his suicide. I know he would be proud of the person I have become. Bryan would be proud of our children's successes. 


That is the legacy of Bryan Richard Kerrigan.

Remembrance Jewelry

AFSP's hand-crafted Remembrance Jewelry is a gift that can bring comfort during a difficult time. A portion of all proceeds goes directly to AFSP's survivor programs. If you'd like your purchase to benefit your AFSP Chapter directly, simply enter the Chapter name as you order. To view the entire Survivor Jewelry Line and Place your order from the AFSP website: Click Here , or visit


Mothers Bracelet 

When You Are Ready...

The time required for healing cannot be neatly measured against any calendar. Piece by piece, you begin to re-enter the world. And as you do, you might be interested in learning how you can get involved. AFSP was founded in 1987 by concerned scientists, business and community leaders, and survivors in an effort to support the research and education needed to prevent suicide. We remain the leading national not-for-profit exclusively dedicated to funding research, developing prevention initiatives, and offering educational programs and conferences for survivors of suicide loss, mental health professionals, physicians and the public.
When you are ready, you may want to....   (Click Here)

We know many of you look forward to the "Survivor Spotlight" section of our newsletter each month. If you would like to submit your story to be published in our newsletter, please send the story in a word document, along with a jpeg file picture to accompany the story~ to Lisa at


It is a pleasure to serve our Hoosier communities as we strive to raise awareness & educate, provide programs and help those in need find resources, encourage and inspire those living with a depressive illness, those that have attempted suicide, and survivors of suicide loss!.  We are a community, We can learn from each other, We can educate others, We can walk this journey out together and We can make a difference. It only takes one person.... one voice.... to set change in motion....


*To Learn More about the Field Advocate Program-  Click Here 

*To Learn More about AFSP funded research* -  Click Here

*To Learn More about the ISP program for Colleges -  Click Here

*To Learn More about AFSP's LGBT Initiative* - Click Here 

*To Learn More about the More Than Sad Program -  Click Here


Please watch future newsletters for information regarding a facilitator training to be hosted by the Chapter in Indianapolis in April of 2012, in hopes to encourage more Suicide Loss Support Groups around the state!  

Putting the Walk Funds to work in Indiana!



Peace & Blessings,


Lisa Brattain - Chapter Chair

& the AFSP Indiana Board of Directors

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Indiana Chapter ~ 2010 Chapter of the Year for a Mid-Size Market


P.O. Box 1793

Noblesville, Indiana 46061


Join our efforts to Silence the Stigma of Suicide and Depression!

In the US, a person dies by suicide every 15 minutes.  Every 16 minutes, someone is left to make sense of this tragic loss.