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Administrator reaches out to those who’ve lost someone to suicide

Losing someone is painful no matter the circumstances. When you lose someone to suicide, the grieving process is often complicated and multi-layered.

“愤怒, shame and guilt arise, and these are not typical feelings you connect with grief and loss,” 劳伦Folloni, ’05, executive director of Bridgewater State University’s Academic Achievement Center.

In 2021, Folloni helped found a chapter of Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) to support area residents who have lost loved ones to suicide.

The LOSSteam Plymouth County officially launched in 2023.

According to Folloni, within Plymouth County there are 50 deaths by suicide every year. For every death by suicide, 135 people are immediately exposed, who are then connected to others, extending the exposure.  

“There are almost 7,000 people in Plymouth County every year who are exposed to suicide,”她说。.

With so many suffering, Folloni saw a need in the community and wanted to make sure supports were in place.

The mission is also a personal one. When she was just four-years-old, Folloni lost her aunt to suicide.

“I’ve been a suicide survivor my entire life,”她说。. “There were not supports back then and there wasn’t any place for survivors to turn to. I want to make sure people don’t feel isolated or alone.”

Through partnerships with local police departments, as team co-coordinator, Folloni works with a group of volunteers to provide expeditious support to those who lose someone to suicide.

“We offer what’s called ‘immediate installation of hope,’ where we go and visit with survivors in the immediate hours and days after their loss,福洛尼说. “We are there to provide comfort and support during a very traumatic and tragic time.”

During the visit, volunteers also provide a list of online resources and educational articles.

The work they are doing is having an impact, Folloni说, based on research by the national LOSSteam organization.

“They found that when no LOSSteam is in the community, survivors seek help four-and-a-half years after losing someone, but when there is a LOSSteam in the community, survivors seek out help in 45 days,”她说。.

As the group expands, Folloni说, they are always looking for volunteers and encourages members of the BSU community looking for such opportunities to 应用.

Volunteers can either be part of the response team or support team, whichever they are most comfortable with.

对于Folloni, knowing she is making a difference in helping others manage and face their grief is what drives her.

“We all have challenges we have to face and traumas we have to survive,”她说。. “LOSSteam is a community of people who understand what you’re going someone who has walked in your shoes, I want to be the person who provides help and hope.”

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