LOSS stands for Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors
Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) provides resources and connections to suicide survivor support groups for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. LOSS provides resources, support, connection, and understanding immediately after a suicide loss and for the months and years that follow.
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 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.
- 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.
The LOSS team is alerted by Marin County’s Sheriff’s Department and/or designated law enforcement personnel to support those who have experienced a loss due to suicide. Within twenty-four hours, the LOSS Team responds to care for those who have experienced or witnessed the loss of a loved one.
Support group facilitated by adult peers for those who have been impacted by a loss due to suicide. To learn more about our peer support group for youth and young adults, please download our flyer and fill out our online participant interest form.
How You Can Become a Volunteer
Have you lost someone to suicide? Your experience may help others.
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.
Volunteer Requirements Eligible volunteers will complete an interview with the Program Coordinator, provide references and complete a background check.
- 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).
- Be 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 are 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 4 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.
To sign up for more information: https://feltoninstitute.salsalabs.org/lossvolunteer
LOSS Volunteer FAQ's
The LOSS Team Postvention Support Program in Marin County is providing essential resources and hope to the newly bereaved. Our team of trained volunteers are themselves survivors of a suicide loss or professional mental health providers.
Our services are expanding to include providing support groups for Youth and Young Adults (14-24) who’ve been impacted by a suicide loss and Adult Survivors of Suicide Attempts (SOSA).
If you’ve been impacted by suicide, your experience may help others.
We are looking for volunteers with lived experience as a survivor of suicide loss, a suicide attempt survivor or mental health professionals for direct outreach to survivors of suicide loss and support group co-facilitation.
Felton’s LOSS Team Postvention Support Program is a key part of Marin County’s Strategic Suicide Prevention Plan and the Suicide Prevention Collaborative of Marin.
Volunteers are needed for:
- Direct outreach to the newly bereaved survivors of suicide loss – Delivering a connection to resources and an installation of hope.
- Co-facilitators for Youth and Young Adult (14 -24) – Support group created for youth and young adults who’ve been impacted by a suicide loss.
- Co-facilitators for Adult Survivors of Suicide Attempts (SOSA) – Peer Support group for survivors of suicide attempts.
How do I learn more about becoming a volunteer?
Attend a LOSS team information session occurring the 3rd Tuesday of each month by zoom or contact the program coordinator (415) 726 – 4685 to learn more.
How does LOSS work?
- The LOSS team is notified by the Marin County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office (MCSO) when a suicide has been confirmed.
- LOSS team members “on-call” are contacted by the program coordinator or team lead and endeavor to make initial contact to the newly bereaved within 24 – 48hrs.
- The LOSS team then works in pairs to deliver an Aftercare Guide to survivors to any location in Marin County.
- After initial contact is made and the Aftercare Guide delivered the LOSS team will follow up with survivors to see if additional resources are needed.
What are the New Support Groups?
- Youth and Young Adult Survivors of Suicide Loss (ages 14 – 24)
- Adult Survivors of Suicide Attempts (SOSA)
When will the new groups start?
Trainings will begin in Spring 2023, and groups will start in Summer 2023.
Who will facilitate these groups?
A clinician will provide supervision for the groups and trained volunteers will be co-facilitators. Volunteers can be professionals in suicide prevention and grief support and/or adults with lived experience in suicide attempts or suicide loss.
For the Youth and Young Adult Support Survivors of Suicide Loss Group.
We are looking for adults as co-facilitators for the youth and young adult peer support group who are interested in supporting youth who have lost someone to suicide.
Volunteer co-facilitators can have either professional experience in suicide prevention and grief support or have lived experience as a survivor of suicide loss and be two years removed from the loss and far enough along in their journey to support others. The suicide loss can be from a friend, co-worker, family member, partner or as a witness.
For the Adult Survivors of Suicide Attempt Support Group.
We are looking for Volunteer co-facilitators who either have lived experience as a suicide attempt survivor themselves or professional experience in suicide prevention.
Those with lived experience should be 2 years or more removed from their suicide attempt experience and must be far enough along on their own journey of recovery to support others in a structured group setting.
What are the requirements for LOSS Volunteers?
- For Support Groups – Be able to serve for at least 6 months after initial training.
- For LOSS team suicide survivor direct outreach volunteers should be available to be “on-call” for 1-2 days per month.
- Be able to attend all debriefs and 90% of all team meetings.
- Be willing to complete a basic background check.
- Be willing to complete a 1-hour interview and Felton volunteer application.
What is the average time commitment for volunteers?
Average time includes meetings, ongoing trainings, and support (monthly meetings and debriefs).
- On average 6 – 10 hours per month (after *initial training)
*Initial training is approximately 8 – 20 hours either virtual or in-person.
- Volunteer group co-facilitators (16 – 20 hours)
- LOSS team direct outreach to survivors (8 – 10 hours)
How do you train volunteers?
- Trainings are a combination of online modules and in-person. Monthly meetings provide additional support for direct outreach to survivors of suicide loss.
- For the NEW Support Groups Initial trainings have occurred and ongoing trainings will be provided for those interested in becoming co-facilitators.
- Please expect a combination of both online and in-person trainings for each program and continual learning as materials become available.
All Volunteers need to be sensitive, compassionate, and emotionally resilient.
Please be open to give and receive feedback to help our programs GROW!
Sophia Balestreri, LOSS Team Program Coordinator
LOSS Team Postvention Support Program
Phone (work cell): 415-726-4685
To sign up for more information: https://feltoninstitute.salsalabs.org/lossvolunteer
In partnership with Marin County – Health and Human Services, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.