Samaritans to Co-Host 18th Annual International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day Healing Conference

Please Join us on the Road to Healing and Hope…

On Saturday, November 18 the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will sponsor the 18th Annual International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day Healing Conference.  The full day of free programming is being co-hosted by the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (Northeast Region) and Samaritans of the Merrimack Valley, a program of Family Services of the Merrimack Valley.  The day’s events begin at 9:00 AM and flow through the mid-afternoon at Alumni Hall (in the Kerr Building) at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 130 Essex Street, South Hamilton, MA 01982.

The 2017 Conference will be highlighted by a screening of AFSP’s documentary film entitled, “The Journey: A Story of Healing and Hope”.  The movie, a featurette, revisits survivors previously chronicled, and documents their ongoing journeys of healing.  In addition, the day’s program offers attendees a chance to connect with other survivors in a warm and confidential setting, an exploration of best practices for processing grief (as shared by other survivors), a continental breakfast and light lunch, and the opportunity to share personal experiences and remember loved ones lost to suicide.  Several remembrance activities are also planned including a balloon release and the distribution of remembrance wristbands.  Guests are asked to  please bring a picture of loved ones to hang on a “remembrance tree”.

Taking a moment to reflect back on her long history with the conference, our Samaritans Director Debbie Helms put it this way, “After all of these years of hosting this event, I think one of the most memorable moments for me was a couple of years ago, when we started doing a balloon release at the closing of the event.  I heard one woman say, ‘I thought this would be a really tough day, but now I feel a small ray of hope.’

While the conference is a free event, guests are required to register in advance.  Please do so by contacting Samaritans Director Debbie Helms at: 978-327-6671, or


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