American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to host event in Coffee County

Co-organizer Laurie Herber invites locals to attend the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event at the Tullahoma Arts Center Nov. 23. Therapy dogs will be available.

The Tullahoma Arts Center will host an International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day (ISOSLD) event at the Tullahoma Arts Center, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23.

Laurie Herber, one of the organizers, invites locals to attend. More than 15 volunteers are working to offer the event in Coffee County. 

“Those who attend the ISOSLD event at the Tullahoma Art Center can expect to find a safe and welcoming environment offering a variety of opportunities to connect with other survivors,” Herber said.

“Each participant will be given an event program when they arrive and can participate in all of the planned activities they feel are right for them.”

Activities will include viewing a short film created especially for Survivor Day 2019, participating in sharing sessions, breakout informational sessions, and commemorating the loved ones those in attendance have lost to suicide.

“As survivors, it can be very powerful when we come together as a group to acknowledge each other while remembering, sharing, learning and healing in community,” Herber said.

Additionally, therapy dogs will be available at the ISOSLD event.

Herber has experienced the effects of suicide personally.

“I am a survivor of suicide loss and there is a history of suicide in my family,” Herber said. “My first experience volunteering with AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide) Prevention was nearly 20 years ago shortly after I trained and began working as a prevention specialist. After serving on a local chapter board of directors I became involved planning the first AFSP Out of the Darkness Walks in Portland and Seattle.”

Herber said she’s looking forward to the Coffee County event and providing support and resources to those who have suffered loss. One of her friends in Tullahoma recently lost a family member to suicide.

“The person who died by suicide … was an adult resident of Tullahoma who died on Sept. 7,” she said.

Additionally, the recent tragic death of Channing Smith, a Coffee County Central High School Student who took his own life, affirmed her resolve to volunteer with the Tullahoma Arts Center and prepare a local site for Nov. 23, said Herber.

“Each year, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention supports hundreds of large and small Survivor Day events around the world, in which suicide loss survivors come together to find connection, understanding and hope through their shared experience,” Herber said.

Survivor Day is recognized by the United States Congress as a day when friends and family who have lost a loved one to suicide can join together for healing and support.

Registration is currently open for the upcoming ISOSLD event at the Tullahoma Art Center. Those interested in attending can register online at

For more information, call 206-673-1330 or 425-780-1622.

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8256) or contact the crisis text line by texting TALK to 741741.

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