Lincoln-Lancaster Outreach to Suicide Survivors

In Nebraska, suicide was the leading cause of injury death for individuals age 25-64, and the second leading cause of injury death for all age groups combined between 1999 and 2003.† On average, 179 Nebraskans (10.6 per 100,000) died and 1,276 (75 per 100,000) were treated at a hospital for suicide/ self-inflicted injuries in Nebraska each year.

Lincoln-Lancaster Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS)
The Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Team consists of trained survivor and mental health professionals acting as volunteers to bring immediate support to survivors of suicide. Suicide survivors are those persons who have had a loved one complete a suicide and are at risk due to their emotional response, which may include the use of unhealthy coping strategies or attempting suicide themselves.

The LOSS Team is activated by first response officials when a suicide occurs to provide resources, support, and hope to suicide survivors. The volunteers provide immediate assistance to survivors to help them cope with the trauma of their loss, provide follow-up contact with the survivors, and coordinate the utilization of services and support groups within the community.

In coordination with the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition and the LOSS Development Group, the Lincoln-Lancaster Outreach to Suicide Survivors Team began operating in July, 2009. The goals of the Lincoln-Lancaster Team are to both provide the clear message of hope, so that survivors can move through their time of shock and despair, and to sustain itself indefinitely within the Lincoln-Lancaster County community. Also, the Lincoln Lancaster LOSS team is available to respond to Seward and Saline Counties. Other counties may be served upon request as resources allow.

How Does LOSS Work?
The LOSS team participates in a “call-out” only with the agreement of the survivor family. The team is activated by the Lincoln Chaplains Corp and/or Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department.  In addition, the Clinical Director may activate a call out upon request.  Generally, the initial call-out will average 30 to 45 minutes in duration.
The focus of the LOSS team is to provide the clear message of hope that the survivors can move through this time of shock and despair by providing information a variety of resources available in the community such as the Ray of Hope and Mourning Hope. Applications to become a LOSS team member are accepted on a continuing basis.

Effective July 1, 2009, the LOSS team became operational. †Monthly meetings are conducted which emphasize a range of training designed to enhance the LOSS team skills.† A clinical director monitors team call outs to ensure the emotional safety of the LOSS team members.† †Initial reviews and feedback has been highly favorable from a number of stakeholders such as survivors, law enforcement, chaplains, etc.† The LOSS teamís goal is to sustain itself indefinitely within the Lincoln-Lancaster county community.† With the support of the community, this goal will be attainable.

For More Information on becoming a LOSS team member please contact:
Don Belau, PhD
Cell: 402-759-0573


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