The Family Assistance Education & Research Foundation (FAERF) has been at the forefront of the evolution of emergency management, combining the head-heart approach for a fully integrated response to survivors of traumatic loss. Practicing consciousness in the workplace involves caring for people first, without exception.

Education: Key to Preventing Suicides and Helping All Who Struggle with Emotional Challenges

Written by: Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

September 2023

     At FAERF, another word for consciousness is awareness. Awareness occurs through education and life experience. We are grateful to survivors who take the time to educate us on their experiences during and following traumatic loss in the workplace. Their contributions improve how organizations respond to future survivors. Survivor-led advocacy programs abound throughout the world, and during September, suicide prevention programs in particular, are highlighted on a worldwide basis as September is Suicide Prevention Month.


     The World Health Organization is the source for those who wish for information about a specific part of the world beyond the United States. I will draw from US sources for this article due to the international applicability of the educational concepts and the availability of information on the sites we reference in this summary.


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)


     Talk Away the Dark is AFSP’s campaign that kicked off this year to create awareness of this leading cause of death and inspire more people to learn how they can play a role in their communities to save lives. At FAERF, we see communities as more than a geographical location – and can easily be one’s company or corporate environment. Anyone can access AFSP’s PSA Film, personal stories and perspectives, shareable social graphics, and other materials. Information is available on their site about warning signs and risk factors and how to bravely have an honest conversation with someone we care about.


     The campaign involves the following steps:


Take Action – 


Initiating open conversations about mental health;

Discussing what research reveals about how we can prevent suicide;

Helping those in distress feel comfortable asking for help;

Knowing what to say to support survivors of suicide loss, and provide them the care they need.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) 


988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline


#BeThe1To is the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, which helps spread the word about actions everyone can take to prevent suicide. The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention to actions that can promote healing, help, and give hope. The steps in the conversation are:


Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way, and this reduces suicide ideation.


Be There

Individuals are more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to someone who listens without judgment.


Keep Them Safe

Several studies have indicated that when lethal means are made less available or less deadly, suicide rates by that method decline, and frequently, suicide rates overall decline.


Help Them Stay Connected

Studies indicate that helping someone at risk create a network of resources and individuals for support and safety can help them take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness.


Follow Up

Studies have also shown that brief, low-cost intervention and supportive, ongoing contact may be essential to suicide prevention, especially for individuals after being discharged from hospitals or care services.


Learn More Get message kits, resources, events, and more at the official website:


Mental Health First Aid


On October 4, 2023, FAERF will conduct another class in Mental Health First Aid, which is open to our members. By accessing, others throughout the world can learn about courses that are open to the public. Many of our members find the section on suicide prevention very useful, easy to grasp, and effective in approaching this subject, which can be challenging – yet a little bit of training and practice in asking the suicide question can empower everyone. For more information on how to find a class or enroll in one offered by FAERF, contact Kristine Budaha (



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