The Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL) group evolved from a Traumatic Death support group started in February, 1981, by the Grief Center of Episcopal Community Services. As a result of apparent need, a group specially oriented to suicide deaths was established in March of the same year. By January 1982, the number of survivors had increased to the extent that an additional monthly meeting was added in order to enhance the support and intimacy that is so important to our groups. As the attendance and public interest swelled, SOSL became involved in sensitizing police, coroners, clergy, counselors, funeral directors and other members of the community to the special needs of persons surviving the death of a loved one by suicide.
A newsletter was created in 1983 and a help?line for survivors (619-482-0297) was established in 1984 and has been maintained to date. SOSL now reaches around the world through our website that was created in 2000.
In 2007, Mental Health America, SOSL and the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program®, San Diego Chapter collaborated on the first annual Save A Life San Diego Community Walk (SALW). This encouraging walk has become the signature suicide prevention event in San Diego and is a focal point for survivors to connect and feel the support of the community even in the midst of their tragic loss.
The first annual San Diego SOSL Day was held in 2008 to provide a forum for survivors to meet in groups according to loss with small facilitated groups for loss of child, parent, spouse/partner, sibling, friend, etc. This event continues to be a highlight for many as they have an opportunity to share with others who have experienced a loss of the same type of relationship.
Suicide prevention is also an important aspect of SOSL as we are passionate about sparing others the devastating grief we have experienced. Among other prevention activities, SOSL is a member of the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council (SPC). SPC is made up of representatives from over 40 organizations and agencies working together to implement the San Diego Action Plan for suicide prevention.
Currently, SOSL is earnestly involved in educating the community about suicide and its effect on surviving family and friends ? providing information about grief?related services. From its inception, the SOSL group goal has been to provide a relaxed, caring environment of mutual support and understanding in which to give comfort and help to one another ? a place to regain our sense of hope for future happiness.