Letter from Our Founder

Dear friends—

 

I want to personally thank you for your interest in the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors. If you are reading this letter and have lost a loved one to suicide, I also want to extend my condolences.

 

When someone dies by suicide, survivors are catapulted onto a challenging journey.

 

I understand this journey firsthand. In 1995, after the death of my 21-year-old stepson Chan, I was so broken, I didn’t know where to turn. Back then, the friendship and support of other loss survivors made all the difference to me. In the 24 years since Chan’s death, I have often revisited my gratitude for all the people who reached out to provide hope during those very dark and difficult days.

 

It has been more than a decade since I created the Alliance of Hope, with the goal of fostering an online community of survivors. It started with a website and forum supporting those grieving after suicide. Back then, I sensed there was a need, but never envisioned how many people would seek support. Today, our community forum provides a safe and healing place of connection for thousands. Survivors tell us our forum is a “lifeline” that pierces though the isolation, connecting them with others who understand, and offering hope.

 

In October 2018, we launched a new and expanded website. It’s a comprehensive resource for survivors and the professionals who serve them. Hundreds of crisis centers, funeral homes and mental health providers link to our resources. Every day, more than a thousand people visit the site seeking information and support.

 

Each day we work to eliminate stigma and misunderstanding around suicide. Our most important task is helping people survive and heal. We let survivors know they are not alone – and that others who have traveled this journey are here to extend friendship and guidance.

 

Only now is the public beginning to understand what survivors have long known: Suicide Postvention is Prevention.

 

Individuals bereaved by suicide are 80% more likely to drop out of school or quit their jobs – and 64% more likely to attempt suicide – than individuals grieving sudden losses by natural causes.

 

The Alliance of Hope is a grassroots effort – created by survivors for survivors. We have grown and served thousands because of the extraordinary dedication of hundreds of volunteers who have poured their hearts and souls into supporting others.

 

Conversations about suicide have come a long way in the last few decades – yet we know there is so much more work to do. Join us. Spread the word, donate to the cause, or volunteer your time.

Sincerely,

 

 

Ronnie Susan Walker MS, LCPC

Founder & Executive Director

This poem inspired our name:

"I'll cry with you,"
she whispered
"until we run out of tears.
Even if it's forever.
We'll do it together."

There it was . . . a simple
promise of connection.

The loving alliance of
grief and hope that
blesses both our breaking
apart and our coming
together again.

- Molly Fumia

(from her book, Safe Passage)

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