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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Public Speaking for VA Survivors of Suicide

The Virginia Department of Health, in partnership with NAMI New Hampshire will be offering a two day training for survivors of suicide loss who are interested in learning how to tell their story safely to friends, to various audiences, and to the media. Suicide survivors (those who have lost a loved one to suicide) play an important role in increasing awareness about suicide. By speaking about their personal loss and telling the story about their loved one’s life and death, survivors can promote healing and understanding, which in turn supports and encourages suicide prevention efforts. Suicide is a very complex issue and a great deal of research has been done about how to talk about suicide in a safe manner and in a way that will not increase the risk for those who are vulnerable. This two-day training assists speakers in honing a message that tells their story in a safe and effective manner.

Survivors who complete the training are certainly not required to tell their story publicly after the training, but most do go on to speak at local suicide postvention trainings, suicide prevention conferences, and local venues such as rotary, their church, legislative committees, etc. The training was developed by NAMI NH and is part of their Connect Suicide Prevention Project, which is listed on the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Best Practice Registry.

It is suggested that survivors be at least two years from their loss before attending; however, some survivors are ready earlier and should feel free to talk with us if you would like to attend.
The training is conducted over the course of two days and you will be asked to commit to both training days. The first day of the training will focus on the basics of public speaking, issues to be aware of around speaking about suicide, safe messaging, honing your message for particular audiences/media, and composing your personal story. The second day of the training will give you an opportunity to share your presentation, evaluate yourself, get feedback from the group, discuss how to be responsive to your audience, and review possible responses to difficult questions. There will be a homework assignment for the night of day one.

When: February 22 -23, 2011
Time: 9-4pm both days
Where: Richmond, VA (exact location TBA)
The training is free of charge to participants and is made possible through funding from SAMHSA.

The training is limited to 8 participants. Go here to register, For questions, please contact Christina Benton at or 804-864-7736.

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