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Local organisation offers suicide support group, open to all

Caring for and supporting someone who has lost a loved one to suicide can be difficult, and many feel unable to provide support and struggle to understand the depth of distress.

ON Saturday, November 19, the world marked International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.

The day is when friends and family members of those who have lost someone to suicide join together for healing, connection and support.

Caring for and supporting someone who has lost a loved one to suicide can be difficult, and many feel unable to provide support and struggle to understand the depth of distress.

That’s where Durban resident Joy Chiang comes in. She runs SOLOS (Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide), which is a support organisation, not only for survivors of suicide but for anyone whose life has been touched by suicide.

Also Read: Suicide prevention: Reach out for help, says SADAG

SOLOS used to hold a monthly support group meeting, but the Covid-19 pandemic has changed that.

The group now incorporates technology in the form of Zoom meetings or WhatsApp calls to help those in need.

“The use of technology has meant more people have come forward and either spoken to us one-on-one or in the Zoom calls. It has also given many people a sense of safety by being anonymous while seeking answers and looking for someone to talk to,” she explained.

“A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted or needed. Our group is about creating a ‘safe’ environment. Because of the stigma that unfortunately still exists with suicide, it can be difficult to find people who really understand and are not judgemental. I encourage suicide survivors, or families who have lost loved ones to suicide, to join a suicide support group. It is an extremely important part of the healing process,” Chiang said.

Also Read: Observing World Suicide Prevention Day

She encouraged those who needed help to reach out via the group’s Facebook page – SOLOS (Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide).

Chiang added that the group has also asked some of its members to write messages of hope for the uMhlanga Kindness Rocks project as a way of spreading love and light along the uMhlanga Promenade.

 

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