Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS)

LOSS stands for Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors.

Felton Institute’s LOSS Team is made up of staff and trained volunteers – many of whom are survivors of a suicide loss. LOSS exists to be an instillation of hope to those bereaved by suicide. The LOSS team is primarily made up of other survivors of suicide and can serve as a guidepost for the newly bereaved in their process of grief and recovery. LOSS provides resources, support, connection, and understanding immediately after a suicide loss and for the months and years that follow.

A LOSS team brings compassion to action and can instill HOPE to those impacted by suicide.

This program provides:

  • Support services for family members/friends who’ve lost a loved one to suicide
  • Information on services, resources, and connection to suicide survivor support groups

Our team is dispatched by the Marin County’s Sheriff’s Department and/or designated law enforcement personnel to support those who have experienced a loss due to suicide. Within an hour, the LOSS Team responds to care for those who have experienced or witnessed the loss of a loved one.

The LOSS Team is a vital and impactful service within the Marin County Suicide Collaborative and part of the key framework of postvention in Marin County’s Suicide Prevention Strategic plan providing those who have lost someone to suicide with immediate assistance. This program is an active peer model of postvention made up of a team of trained survivors and professionals working together as LOSS team volunteers.


Additional Services – Coming Soon

  • Youth and Young Adult Support Group, (ages 15-25): Counseling and mental health support for those who have experienced loss of a loved one to suicide
  • Adult Survivor Support Group: Group counseling and mental health support for adults who have attempted suicide
Volunteer Information

Support Suicide Loss Survivors

Suicide is a painful, emotional, and stigmatizing health crisis. For many, suicide deaths are violent, shocking, and can bring on a complicated grief to friends, family and loved ones.

One way to support those grieving a person who has died by suicide is through the help and hope of a LOSS Team. A LOSS Team is composed of individuals who have themselves endured the challenges of losing a person to suicide. Members of the LOSS Team are available to provide postvention support and resources to bereaved loved ones after a sudden loss to suicide.

Have you lost someone to suicide? Your experience may help others.

Volunteer Requirements: Eligible volunteers will complete an interview with the Program Coordinator, reference and background checks.

  • Be a suicide loss survivor and far enough along in your own journey that you are now able to help others. (Generally, no less than 2 years from your own loss)
  • Empathetic and compassionate
  • Professional clinician with specific training in Suicide loss and complicated grief
  • Punctual, reliable, and responds to requests in a timely manner
  • Ages 21+
  • People of all personal and professional backgrounds encouraged to apply
  • Submit to a background check

Training Involved: Prospective volunteers must attend at least four LOSS meetings and participate in approximately 8 hours of training. Training includes reading, virtual, and in-person instruction.

Time Commitment: When training is completed, our volunteers dedicate a minimum of four hours per month to our program.

  • Felton LOSS schedules are developed annually, with meetings held during weeknight evenings.
  • Survivor to Survivor Visits are scheduled on a case-by-case basis, but often take place during weeknight evenings and weekends.
  • Participation in monthly team meetings for program updates and continuing education.

Contact: Sophia Balestreri, Program Coordinator at Sbalestreri@felton.org or call (415) 726 –4685 to request an interview.

Downloadable Volunteer Brochure

To sign up for more information: https://feltoninstitute.salsalabs.org/lossvolunteer

LOSS Volunteer FAQ's

 1. How is the LOSS Team activated?
The LOSS team is activated by law enforcement and the coroner and responds to those directly impacted by a suicide death, including – family/friends/witnesses.

2. What is the time commitment for a LOSS Team volunteer?
At least two (2) 12 hr. on-call shifts and one two-hour team meeting per month.

3. When am I expected to respond?
Volunteers must arrive on the scene within 1 hour of notification to arrive on the scene. If there is a delay, the volunteer must alert the LOSS Coordinator and arrive as soon as possible. Our goal in being timely is to provide the opportunity for a “warm handoff” for the LOSS team from public safety personnel to the family whenever possible.

4. Where will I have to go?
Anywhere within Marin County.

5. Do I have to go on the scene to be a volunteer?
No. You do not have to go on the scene there are other roles to fill to be a volunteer, and this will not necessarily be the role of some volunteers. Our team will work closely with all volunteers to find the best role for their contribution. Some people who initially are resistant to attending scenes end up wanting to fill this role. Training and consultation will be a crucial part of the LOSS volunteer experience so that individuals feel prepared and ready for their roles.

6. What does the initial training entail?
The initial training involves an all-day session of hands-on training with an overview of the model, best practices, different roles, self-care, and experiential hands-on/role play practice.

7. Will volunteers receive ongoing training and support?
Yes, monthly meetings will include guest speakers and ongoing training. The support of a Master’s level clinician will be provided for debriefing scene visits, as well as for some of the ongoing training sessions.

8. What type of resources and support does the LOSS team provide?
LOSS team volunteers provide on-scene support to survivors, including a printed after-care kit that will provide them with immediate resources in the community. The after-care kit is designed to address a variety of the practical, as well as social and emotional needs of LOSS survivors over the initial stages of their loss.

9. How often will LOSS volunteers engage with survivors?
The LOSS program is an outreach and linkage support only. In keeping with this mandate, we will typically engage with a survivor 1 to3 times over the first year of their loss: at the initial visit, then via check-ins after a service or memorial, and at the first anniversary of their loss. Our primary contact with survivors will be either on scene or delayed response and may involve, phone, and email, including notes and cards sent via regular mail and email.

10. What is the experience like for the LOSS team volunteer?
LOSS team volunteers report a deep sense of satisfaction giving back to people who’ve experienced the same unique type of loss. Some feel that it helps bring meaning to their suicide loss and depth of healing to their recovery. 

FAQ’s Downloadable PDF



Sophia Balestreri, LOSS Team Program Coordinator
LOSS Team Postvention Support Program
Phone (work cell): 415-726-4685
Email: sbalestreri@felton.org

To sign up for more information: https://feltoninstitute.salsalabs.org/lossvolunteer


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