Samaritans Program Overview
Family Services’ Samaritans of Merrimack Valley program strives to reduce the incidence of suicide throughout Massachusetts through a menu of services including trainings, survivor support services, and community education and outreach. The Samaritans is a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention, the Northeast Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention, and the American Association of Suicidology.
Samaritans of Merrimack Valley offers two free, Department of Public Health-funded trainings for “gatekeepers” to reduce the incidence of suicide among 1) people ages 55 and older and 2) middle aged men. Gatekeepers are people who, through their personal, professional or volunteer activities, have regular contact with older adults or middle aged men. Attendees learn how to recognize the risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors for suicide, as well as how to talk with an individual at risk. Click HERE for more information and registration.
Attempt Survivor Support
The Samaritans of Merrimack Valley hosts a support group for individuals over age 18 who have attempted suicide in the past and are in need of connecting with shared lived experience. During this eight week group series, participants will discuss topics such as safety planning, coping skills, self-care and processing past events. Offered 3-4 times annually, this suicide attempt survivor support group, is confidential, free and led by Craig Miller, an attempt survivor.
Outreach & Education
Samaritans staff provide educational support for schools, mental health providers, businesses, youth and senior centers, civic organizations, faith-based institutions, first responders, funeral home directors, volunteer groups, and others. Samaritans provides information to help the audience identify individuals who may be at risk, how to talk with them, and provides resources to get them the help they need. Presentations can be adapted to fit your time schedule, audience and particular needs.
Survivor Support Services
Family Services’ Samaritans program is dedicated to supporting individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide. The grieving process in the wake of suicide is often complicated by the stigma that surrounds suicide. In addition, organizations responding to the death of an employee, student or member struggle to make sense of the loss while maintaining important functions of their organization and protect the health and welfare of their constituents. To support individuals and organizations after a suicide death, the Samaritans provides the following:
- Trauma Response and Consultation
Samaritans staff are available to families and organizations struggling in the wake of a suicide death. A suicide death leaves people with many questions about the appropriate response, where to find additional resources, how to talk about the loss, and how to prevent the very real threat of contagion. Samaritans staff can help answer those questions and provide emotional support. For more information, email [email protected] or call 978-327-6671.
- Safe Place Support Group for Adults
Safe Place is a peer-led suicide survivor support group for adults (over 18) who have lost a loved one to suicide. Safe Place is a place for individuals to grieve, share difficulties and feelings, and find support from others who are grieving in the wake of a suicide death. Meetings are facilitated by a peer suicide survivor and are confidential and free. Safe Place meets at in North Andover on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Saint Michael Parish at 196 Main Street. Prior registration is not required.
- Survivor to Survivor Suicide Services
This program provides support services directly to the survivors in their home. Two trained volunteers will come to your home for a couple of hours to listen, comfort, befriend, and help answer questions. This service provides help in the grieving process in safe and familiar surroundings.