Supporting Suicide Loss Survivors
SPCC Education Session, Wednesday September 13th, 2017
The Presentation is free and open to the public
Location: Lilly Marks Conference Room located on the Anschutz Medical Campus located on the 1st floor at 13199 East Montview Blvd., Aurora, CO 80045. The building has a parking garage attached.
Time: 9:30 -10:30 am (followed by regularly scheduled SPCC Coalition Meeting 10:30-11:30am, also open to all interested in SPCC)
In the US alone, over 44,000 people a year die by suicide. Each of these individuals leaves behind at least 6 suicide loss survivors- people who have lost someone they care about deeply and are left grieving and struggling to understand. The loss of a loved one by suicide is often shocking and painful. Suicide loss survivors often experience complex emotions and unique challenges in their grief. This panel session will introduce you to a few suicide loss survivors. Our panel will discuss their loss experience and offer ideas they have found helpful as well as identifying resources they found beneficial. Our panel will consist of Dale Emme, Katie Ford, Vivian Sheldon and LaRita. There will be a question and answer session. We invite everyone to feel free to ask questions.
Dale Emme is a Survivor of his son, Michael's, suicide in 1994. The outpouring response to Michael's death were requests to help other survivors and communities save lives by empowering everyone to be able to help at their own comfort level. Dale and Dar started the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program to help with education, awareness and prevention of youth suicide, now with Chapters and Program sites in all 50 states and 47 countries. The program focuses on bringing people of all backgrounds together making suicide prevention accessible to everyone.
Dale helped form the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado (SPCC) and is now serving as Vice-Chair. He is also currently a Commissioner on the Governor's Suicide Prevention Commission, & served on the former Governor's Commission in 1998 as well as helped form the National Council for Suicide Prevention in 1998 and still serve on it.
Having started the September Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week observances in 1995, Dale continues to work to help survivors, families and communities to heal and grow helping others in their areas. Their training includes youth (schools), adults, community organizing, First Responder training, Faith community training for youth and faith leaders as well as a nationally-recognized suicide prevention training for the K-6th grade youth and the adults who work with them.
Six months after the suicide of her twenty-four year old son, Roger Kent, in 1978, LaRita Archibald joined the American Association of Suicidology to become an informed suicide prevention advocate and to give voice to suicide bereaved by helping form the AAS Survivor Division. In 1980 LaRita and her husband founded HEARTBEAT, among the first support groups for suicide bereaved anywhere (presently 42 chapters in 11 states and two foreign countries).
LaRita co-founded SPARE, forerunner of the current Colorado Suicide Prevention Coalition, co-founded Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention in Colorado Springs, helped organize and train a twenty-four hour volunteer crisis line and initiated a LOSS program in the community. She has contributed to, authored or co-authored numerous suicide prevention related guides and manuals, traveled to USAFE, Ramstein, GR three consecutive years to establish and train Crisis Support Teams. She has been supportive of TAPS since her first presentation at their 2000 annual convening in Washington DC.
After thirty three years as HEARTBEAT facilitator, LaRita retired in 2012 to write her book, Finding Peace Without All the Pieces After A Loved One’s Suicide, to offer empathy and encouragement to suicide bereaved. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband of 67 years, is blessed with nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Katie Ford, MA, LPC
Katie Ford, MA, LPC, is the Clinical Director at Street's Hope in Lakewood. She is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice with offices in Aurora and The West Highlands in Denver. Katie is an EMDR trauma therapist with specialty in suicide and self-injury. She has been a provider for the Second Wind Fund since the 2003-2004 school year, counseling youth at-risk for suicide. Katie facilitates two Heartbeat Support Groups for survivors after suicide, one in Wheat Ridge at Collier Hospice on the Lutheran Medical Center campus for 15 years and one in Aurora at The Heartlight Center for 7 years. Katie is a suicide survivor who has lost 3 family members to suicide, including her oldest son, Rob, her first husband, Don, and her aunt, Joanne.
Vivian Sheldon Epstein
Vivian feels lucky to have had a wonderful life, from childhood to the present. She was very happily married to her husband, Ted Epstein, Jr. for 54 years and is blessed with a wonderful daughter, son-in-love, and two granddaughters. Vivian has endured two tragedies in her life: the death of her husband one year ago due to Alzheimer’s disease and the suicide of their 23 year old son, Teddy Epstein, III, 28 years ago.
After Teddy’s death, Vivian took walk/talks with family and friends and read 60 books on genetics, suicide, adoption, drugs, and alcohol. The first ever SOS or Survivors of Suicide gathering was held in Denver three months after Teddy’s death. Meeting one, then three other mothers who had lost sons to suicide, Vivian founded the Parents Surviving Suicide Support Group of Metropolitan Denver, which has missed only two monthly meetings in 28 years.
Vivian is the author of seven books empowering young people by depicting role models of women who courageously overcame challenges. Her books are in schools, libraries, and book stores. Her published titles include: History of Colorado’s Women for Young People, History of Women in Science for Young People, History of Women Artists for Children, History of Women for Children and The ABCs Of What A Girl Can Be.
This event is open to all.
For those who can not attend in person, you are invited to use the optional dial in number: 888-644-5563 No PIN needed.
Email us at
If you or someone you know are having thoughts about suicide, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). In Colorado, you may call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text "TALK" to 38255.In an emergency, call 9-1-1.
Office: 720-934-2387Email: email@example.comWeb: www.suicidepreventioncolorado.org
P.O. Box 17614
Boulder, CO 80308