Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2020) – Physical social distancing can create isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. In suicidology, we know where that can lead and that’s unacceptable. As we continue into May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is pleased to announce the creation of the #SoulCareAAS365 Project to help address not only the fear-based confusion, uncertainty, and adversity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the traumatic impact that will linger long beyond May.
“Watching the tidal wave of lists and more to do lists and top 10 ‘How to manage emotions during a pandemic’ was overwhelming,” shared Annemarie Matulis, the AAS Impacted Family & Friends Division Chair. “We were having great success delivering our wellness workshops digitally, so why not take our #soulcare projects digital too, to let people see and hear the sound of a voice, see another person’s face and witness their energy to help make that all important connection and end the sense of isolation?”
The goal of the #SoulCareAAS365 Project is to present a campaign of emotional support, hope and solidarity by connecting people via live and recorded conversations, video messages, webinars, online roundtables and more, across multiple social media platforms.
To initiate the launch, the #SoulCareAAS365 Project is releasing two digital sample toolkits originally developed for Impacted Family & Friends: Is This the Night: Finding Inner Peace for impacted family and friends, and the Re-Energize & Re-Connect series for suicide attempt and loss survivors further along their recovery and healing paths. Both evidence-based, peer to peer wellness workshop series have been in place in a face to face setting since 2014. Each toolkit includes three to four exercises with companion conversational and casual coaching videos. The exercises were compiled by the AAS Impacted Family & Friends Division in collaboration with AVoiceattheTable.org.
The toolkits guide participants through a personal emotional inventory that will offer suggestions on how to better recognize one’s own behaviors and attitudes and make minor or, in some cases, major changes. This is nothing new. It’s just another way to experience the turnaround to step away from fear-driven attitudes and behaviors and improve the quality of life. New support materials will be added regularly.
For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more information.
About AAS: The American Association of Suicidology is the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization. Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of laypersons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org.
About A Voice at the Table: For every person struggling with suicide, there are impacted family members and friends that experience emotional and physical effects related to their loved one’s struggle. A Voice at the Table was founded in 2014 as a grassroots movement dedicated to ending the marginalization of family members and close friends emotionally impacted and traumatized by the non-fatal suicidal experiences of their loved ones. A Voice at the Table operates as a division of a 501c3 non-profit in southeastern Massachusetts and has produced documentaries, developed psychoeducational workshops and webinars, and delivers trainings and community conversations wrapped around a public health approach to suicide prevention locally, nationally and internationally. A Voice at the Table is a corporate member of the Massachusetts Coalition of Suicide Prevention.