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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Suicide Survivors, Important Information

My name is Sue Foster and I’m a survivor of suicide, having lost my 19-year-old-daughter, Shannon , in 1991.

I’m writing to let you know about a wonderful new discussion guide that has been produced to accompany our award winning CD Chaos of the Heart to help bring comfort and healing to those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The 46 minute CD contains 5 songs, spoken words pieces, a poem, and a letter to the listener.

Ginny Sparrow, in the Spring, 2005 American Association of Suicidology newsletter, describes Chaos of the Heart as: “Thought provoking. Wonderfully healing. The songs are beautifully written.”

The following are comments from survivors who have heard the recording:

“Thank you for Chaos of the Heart. As the wife of a man who killed himself two years ago, I can tell you that song does a great job of capturing the dichotomy of emotions we feel.” Gainesville , Florida

“Your CD comforts, encourages, and educates – throughout. “Chaos” describes the survivor’s healing journey with great insight.” Linda Flatt, Nevada .

Groups throughout the US have purchased this recording for use at survivor events. Some have recently purchased this for their local walks and the Survivor’s Day Conference on Nov. 21. Some groups are giving these away, others are purchasing to resell them. We offer a 40% discount on orders of 30 or more. Orders of 30 or more will also receive the Discussion Guide FREE of charge.

Click on the following link which will take you to the Chaos of the Heart webpage: This will enable you to read about the recording, listen to clips of the music, as well as give you instructions on how to order.

You may also call the Music for the Soul office at (877) 298-9081 for additional information or to order. We invite you to visit our website at


Sue Foster

Music for the Soul

PO Box 159027

Nashville , TN 37215

(877) 298-9081 - Toll Free

(615) 297-8297 - Office

(615) 330-9919 - Cell

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mallika, Asian Co-ordinator for Befrienderws worldwide, writes about her experiencxe at the Samaritan conference, York,UK,Sept.2009

Report to Centres of Befrienders Worldwide Training Event and Samaritan Conference September 2009

The 49th Annual York Conference was held at York University between 25th and 27th September 2009. Prior to the opening of the Samaritan conference the delegates of Befrienders Worldwide met for and International Training Event on the 25th morning. There were thirty four delegates from twenty three centres.

The theme of our training event was Supporting Each Other – (What is volunteer support? How do we offer it, what works and why?) Our trainers were Joanna Ridout and David Brodtman from the Samaritans. Some of you would have met them at the Thailand conference.

We discussed the similarity between support and guidance and the feelings involved by both the receiver and the giver.
· The issues discussed were the barriers and fears involved in giving guidance
· What do you want the volunteer to take away with them after receiving guidance from a support volunteer
· What would you want to take away after receiving guidance

The conclusion was that guidance is a way of supporting a volunteer through a difficult and personally challenging situation. It is a two way process initiated by the Support Volunteer in order to tackle the identified problem or situation. The Befriender needs to feel safe, listened to, accepted and respected whether they are being supported or guided –the difference is in what they take with them from the experience. Effective guidance is about helping volunteers look at their shortcomings in a safe and supportive environment. It is about empathizing. Thinking about how you would feel when talking to someone offering you support or guidance.

A volunteer who has received guidance should leave feeling empowered to:
· Deal more effectively when a similar situation occurs
· Pro-actively seek guidance when offloading
· Feel supported – not criticized by guidance
· Be more aware of their approach to callers and fellow volunteers

It was an inspiring experience – a rare opportunity of doing a training workshop with volunteers from around the world. It was also reassuring to know that the same issues give us grief no matter where we are placed on the globe and that sharing our experiences and practices brings us closer together for a common goal. I wish more of our volunteers could take part in such events.

The Samaritans conference opened after dinner on the evening of the 25th. The theme of this years’ conference was Reaching Out to Priority Groups. The opening plenary was by Dr. Mike Smith on Understanding Self Harm. He explained to us that Self Harm is actually a coping strategy. For young people who are under tremendous stress, harming themselves is very often a way of releasing their intense feelings rather than a conscious act of killing themselves. Although many self- harmers are also suicidal, it is not at that moment with the actual intent of suicide.

The other interesting plenary was on The Impact of Suicide on Those Left Behind. By Mike Bush. He spoke of his personal experiences.

Besides the plenaries there were plenty of seminars and workshops on various priority groups like bereaved children, prisoners, self harmers, trans-sexuals, etc. We were very busy through the day, but there was also time over dinner to meet, chat, exchange notes and generally enjoy the company of other volunteers.

On the 26th evening after dinner we had a Twinning Meet over wine and snacks where the international delegates got an opportunity to meet volunteers from their twinned centres. We exchanged notes and also had an opportunity to meet with Joan Guenault our Twinning Coordinator, Sophie Andrews, the present Chair of Samaritans, Catherine Johnstone, the CEO of Samaritans and also all the BWSG members.

Befrienders Worldwide also had a counter at the Exhibition Hall where volunteers could come for information. Joan and her husband Tony also had a Twinning counter. You could pick up knick knacks from around the world that the international delegates had brought to the conference and Joan sold to raise money for the Twinning project. The pearls from Hyderabad and the bracelet from Sri Lanka were as usual a big hit. Merab the delegate from Samaritans Kenya, our newest centre, pulled the lucky tickets out of the box for the raffle.

As always the Samaritans conference is an exceptional event which is run ever so efficiently. It is amazing how a group of volunteers can host a conference for 1200 delegates far better than any event manager. But that goes for any Befrienders conference. I have had the privilege to be at quite a few and can only say that the organizing of a conference showcases the commitment and passion that volunteers have for the cause they work for.

With my very best wishes,


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

life is such...

Hey, guys...I was away a long time... Sorry....but this story has to be told..
Today as I was traveling from Kurla to Vashi..I was stuck and was breathing into a person`s face...the train was disgustingly packed.
I was in a such a position that, I was looking into the persons eyes... suddenly the person started crying... when I inquired, the person said that she was coming back from hospital after a appendicitis operation,and that she was in pain...Jesus! when I looked again now, with more concentration, I found that the person was a trans gender. In the crowded train she told me her story.
At the age of 15, she was thrown out of her home... her parents don't want her. So she joined a Hijra community . There, she found that she was not happy and she promised herself that she would get a sex change operation,and she did it..but now she feels she is not happy at all..she has no boyfriend. Life is difficult....she told me she wants to commit suicide....
I didn't know what to tell her.. I had to get down at Vashi... I gave her Aasra`s number.she has promised to call.....