Announcing the Four Corners LOSS Team Development

Losing a friend or family member to death is painful and can be emotionally crippling. When that loss is caused by suicide, the grief of those left behind can be different, more intense, and even more difficult for the suicide loss survivor to deal with.

A team called "Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors," or LOSS, can bring immediate help and support to those experiencing a death by suicide. Four Corners Health Department, in partnership with Region V Systems, is organizing the development of a LOSS team that will serve Butler, Polk, Seward, and York Counties.

The LOSS team is made up of trained suicide loss survivors and licensed mental health clinicians. These volunteers provide immediate assistance to suicide loss survivors to help them cope with the trauma of their loss, provide follow-up contact with the survivors, as well as how to access various resources. The LOSS Team provides compassion and support, not therapy to the suicide loss survivors.

Jo Larson, a LOSS Team Advisory Council member shares, “It's been many years since the hot August night my father took his own life. I was 13, he was 37. Unfortunately, the suicide note was torn up by my grandfather and then he said to my mother, "we will never talk about this again". And that is how my father's suicide was handled. No words, no connection with another survivor, no grief counseling, no support. My mother, myself, and three siblings under the age of 15 suffered over the years emotionally and physically because of it. That's why I'm so passionate about LOSS Teams. The family left behind desperately needs support and to know they are not alone.”

Donald P. Belau, Ph.D., the clinical director of the Lincoln/Lancaster County LOSS Team, is closely working with the Advisory Council with the planning and organization of the Four Corners LOSS Team. Dr. Belau points out that suicide loss survivors understand the loss, the pain, and confusion that family and friends are experiencing and have the compassion to help the suicide loss survivor move forward with hope.

The LOSS Team works closely with law enforcement. Law enforcement informs suicide loss survivors that a LOSS Team is available, and that it can be on site within hours after the discovery of the suicide. Dr. Belau notes that “A LOSS Team can be available at any point in the healing process, often families who have experienced suicide loss weeks or months later will request a LOSS Team visit.”

There are LOSS Teams located in Lincoln, the Metro area (Papillion and Omaha), Kearney, Norfolk, and Chadron. Teams that are under development include Beatrice, North Platte, Scottsbluff-Alliance and the Four Corners area (Butler, Polk, Seward, and York Counties.)

For more information on how to apply to become a member of a Four Corners LOSS Team or to become a member of the Four Corners LOSS Team Advisory Council, please contact Four Corners Health Department at 1-877-337-3573 or info@fourcorners.ne.gov. More information about Nebraska LOSS teams can be found on this website: http://www.nelossteam.nebraska.edu .