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In This Issue:
Meet Our Top Fundraising Team Captain, Erik Erik
Erik Diedrichsen has been involved with the 5K since the death of his wife, Katherine, in 2012. For the past three years, Katherine's Pride has taken home the Top Fundraising Team prize, raising a total of more than $74,000 for Samaritans' lifesaving services. In discussing the 5K, Erik wanted to make sure we knew the credit is not due to him alone "I wish that I was 'the one' responsible for my team's contribution efforts. Truth be told, Kara Hines [team member and friend of Erik's wife Katherine] and the exceptionally gracious people at INTEX are responsible for a huge amount of the team's contribution. Every year I am amazed at the generosity of this amazing group of people! 

The 5K is always a beautiful day and event. For me, it's a day where the focus is taken off me and my family (as the survivors) and placed where it should be - fondly remembering Katherine. The anniversary of her death, her birthday, holidays and such are always grim reminders of 'our lives without her,' but this day is a day specifically to remember her, remembering the joy and happiness she brought too - with friends, family and all those who she loved and loved her in return. She was truly a kind and amazing woman; a gift to all those who knew her.

I love the time prior to the start of the race - the arrival of friends and family. Catching up with old friends, seeing how big everyone's kids have grown, sharing stories, etc. But after is pretty cool too... The sense of accomplishment (since I only started running after losing Katherine). 

I would want first-time participants to know that you should certainly grieve, but share your memories, laugh and live. Our loved ones never meant to share their pain, just to escape their own. Live as they would have wanted you to. Live better, not bitter. It is not 'a huge funeral,' please come and enjoy the day, share great memories, forgive and fondly remember."

In remembering his wife, Erik has created this beautiful video of their time together to help prevent suicide. Take a look - you might want to have a box of tissues nearby.

Katherine's Pride Film
In memory of Katherine

Thank you, Erik, for all of your hard work to prevent suicide! To learn more about Erik and Katherine's Pride, click hereTo register for the 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Prevention taking place on September 26th in Artesani Park, Brighton click here.
Get to know Samariteen DanyaDanya
Samariteen Danya has been working on the helpline for the past three years. In Danya's own words, "I was an awkward kid going into my sophomore year of high school when I started as a Samariteen volunteer. I think I just wanted to do something that would make a difference and build me up some self-esteem. Little did I know I would still be here at the start of my senior year! 
Samariteen Danya

I've been amazed at how much I've grown from working at Samaritans. When I first started taking calls, I remember feeling dread every time I asked the caller if they were feeling suicidal. It took a while for me to get comfortable talking openly about suicide and I certainly do still get uncomfortable at times; after all, suicide is something we've been taught is taboo and shameful and that stigma is hard to break. But it's so important--I can actually hear my callers' relief as they realize they can finally open up about their suicidal thoughts and not be judged but validated. I've always been an empathetic person; Samaritans taught me how to channel my empathy into supporting and uplifting people rather than pitying them.

This past year, one of my best friends struggled with depression. I think my reaction if I hadn't had my experience at Samaritans would have been to avoid all talk of suicide and sadness and do my best to cheer her up. Instead, true to my training, I listened to her, I steered towards the pain, and I showed her that I love her and care. 

People constantly ask me 'isn't it depressing to answer all those calls? Doesn't it drag you down?' Actually, at the end of every shift, I just feel really good about myself. Even if calls were tough that night, there is nothing more rewarding than being there with someone in pain and knowing you're listening has made them feel slightly less alone. I'm proud to be a Samariteen volunteer!"

Thanks for sharing, Danya! Befriending is a crucial service - and we need volunteers in order to provide it to all of those in need. If you think you would make a good befriender, contact us about attending an information session.
What's New at This Year's 5K? Differentat5K
We've made some changes to this year's 5K to accommodate the growing event AND make sure we have the best 5K ever! 

1. Buses! We heard you - parking can be tough near Artesani Park. This year, we will have shuttle buses leaving from the Alewife T-Station beginning at 6:45AM to take you the rest of the way. You can either park at Alewife, or take the Red Line there and hop on a bus. 

2. An Earlier Start Time! Registration, Remembering Our Loved Ones, and the Family Fun Festival will begin at 7AM, and the race will begin at 9AM.

3. Fundraising Incentives! Raise $100 to earn an event t-shirt, $250 to earn a hat, $500 to earn a water bottle, and $1,000 to earn a sweatshirt! All incentive prizes will also be available for purchase.

We are so excited to celebrate our loved ones on September 26th - register today as an individual, team captain, virtual participant or volunteer, and start spreading the word about suicide prevention in our community!
Become a Grief Support Services Volunteer GSSVolunteer
Samaritans' Grief Support Services (GSS) program has the privilege of working with a team of dedicated and compassionate volunteers. Our volunteers understand the tremendous grief that comes with a loss to suicide because they, too, have suffered such a tragic loss. The GSS volunteers are ready to give back to the community and bring with them their experiences as survivors, their processes of grieving, and what was helpful for them to move forward from their loss. They are models for hope and recovery, and help new survivors adjust using healthy healing processes.
 
But don't take our word for it - here are a few reasons our volunteers decided to join our team:
  • "I remember the days and months following [my brother's] death and how desperate we were to have someone to talk to. I would hope that I could maybe bring comfort or understanding to someone in a similar situation." - survivor who lost her brother
  • "Having access to other survivors is a powerful way to counter the isolation and loneliness that can follow a suicide-related loss. Each person's experience of loss and grief is unique. However, I believe there is strength and power in the act of assembling with a group of people or meeting one-on-one with an individual who has experienced a similar type of loss. I would very much like to help facilitate that." - survivor who lost her friend
  • "I needed so much to talk after his death. There were many people that were there for me, but none that could understand the 'what if's' that I felt deep in my bones. A random woman whose husband died by suicide reached out to me. It actually helped for me to physically see the future of a survivor. I know that might sound a bit weird, but seeing her move about in a day to day routine taking care of her children enabled me to see a future for myself.  I would like to be able to be that person to another if one needed that." - survivor who lost her fiancÚ
In addition to our services for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, we're currently developing a program for individuals who are supporting a loved one who has survived a suicide attempt. Similarly to our current survivor meetings, this group will be peer-to-peer and we are working to identify those who may be interested in facilitating such a group. If you or someone you know would be interested in joining our volunteer team in either capacity, please contact Grief Support Services Manager Emily to set up a time to meet and discuss opportunities to attend our volunteer training in September.
CNN iReport: Stop Saying "Committed" Suicide CNN
Reducing stigma associated with suicide and mental health is one of the main tenants of
Samaritans' mission. This stigma is deeply ingrained in our society, and can be seen in many ways, but perhaps the most common is when a death by suicide is described as "committed suicide." 

Samaritans' follows these guidelines, but we understand it is a complex topic, and we welcome further conversation. As commentators noted on our Facebook page, it can become very frustrating for those who have been touched by suicide to suddenly find themselves "the language police." It can also be very hurtful to hear your loved one discussed with this stigmatized language. 

Read more about why we should stop saying "committed suicide" by clicking here.
Out and AboutOutandabout
The start of school is just around the corner, Lauren's calendar is filling up! She frequents the middle and high schools of Boston and Metro-West to educate the youth around the risk factors and warning signs of suicide. Many kids at this age are often unsure about what to do next if they if they are worried about someone, or a friend asks them to keep their suicidal feelings a secret. One of the most important parts of Lauren's job is to talk students through what to do in those moments and how to get someone help without breaking their trust. She also trains teachers and staff at schools, as they are the gatekeepers and first responders to a student in crisis. If you'd like to have her come into your classroom or community please contact Lauren.
Meet Our Newest Samaritan Alice
Please welcome Nina Thompson, our new Development Coordinator!

Nina Thompson
A long-time resident of Boston, Nina began her career working in some of the city's many museums. After a few years, she left New England to follow that passion and pursue a graduate degree in Early American History at The College of William & Mary in Virginia. However, after getting her master's degree, Nina realized she wanted to work more with people than with the papers they left behind and started working towards a career in fundraising. After volunteering for Samariteens in high school, she jumped at the opportunity to be a part of our mission as the Development Coordinator. Outside of work, she likes exploring the Boston area, keeping up with popular culture, and competing in local trivia nights. She is excited to be back in her hometown and is looking forward to working at an organization dedicated to making a positive a difference in the community.
Open Positionscareers
Interested in preventing suicide as a Samaritans' staff member or intern? We are currently accepting applications for:

Why should you intern for Samaritans? Just ask our former Development Intern, Megan! 

"As the Development Intern, I learned skills and strategies that made me a more confident and experienced job applicant, and got to work in an office with some of the most dedicated and generous people I've ever met. The work I did in development - helping plan the annual 5K, reaching out to donors and members of the Samaritans community, and learning marketing strategies - is of course valuable in working with nonprofits, but it's also been useful when I've worked with other companies. I'm constantly drawing on my experience with Samaritans as I decide how best to approach a problem or communicate an opportunity.

I also gained an incredible resource: the people at Samaritans have been unendingly generous both during and after the internship. Whether it's sharing their own career experience, writing a recommendation, or going out of their way to make sure I'm learning from the work I did, everyone in the office made it clear that they value their interns. While my development internship is over, I'm lucky to still be part of the Samaritans community."