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LOSS Team Started in Denton County, TX in October, 2015
Starting on November 1st, we began delayed response activities. So far we have either gone out to see or contacted by phone 23 individuals from 14 different suicides. We’ve talked to and sent resources to next of kin in other counties and in other states as well. I’ve also spoken about LOSS Team and/or given presentations about our program to approximately 85 individuals since November 1st, including both law enforcement and mental health professionals, through 7 different events we’ve either hosted or been invited to in our county. We are definitely getting the word out about our Denton County LOSS Team.

On January 1 at 8am, we start our on-scene response. We met with our county Medical Examiner the first of November and within the first 10 minutes, he was completely on-board with calling us out to all the suicides in our county! He is a very caring individual and said he has always hated leaving the scene of a suicide and not having any additional resources for the families there. He said this will be a great asset to have for the families in our county. He also had a story of going out to a suicide of a young 20-ish year old man during his first year here and returning to that same house exactly a year later for the young man’s mother’s suicide. We have had nothing but positive feedback from all the law enforcement officers we have encountered in our county. They all have asked how they can help us when we get to the scene to make it go easier for our teams and the families. It’s been amazing, actually, and we are so happy to have our law enforcement and medical examiner’s office on our side!

As for our volunteer base, we’ve been very fortunate here as well. We have 4 suicide support groups in our county that have been going for quite some time and have really been supportive in getting LOSS Team started. We have 28 volunteers which includes 12 survivors and 16 mental health professionals. Some of our mental health professionals are survivors also. Those numbers include volunteers who are still in training, those who only want to help with administrative tasks and those who are completely trained and ready to go on-scene or to delayed calls. The numbers ebb and flow as someone will say that can’t volunteer after all and a few days later, I get a call or email from a new person who wants to volunteer. Which is good because in our subsequent meetings with our medical examiner, we learned that while last year we had 60 suicides in our county, this year we have passed that and will probably have 80 suicides by the end of the year. He told us, “Get ready. You’re gonna be busy.” The good news is we are ready and can’t wait to get to work helping the families in our county and to work to reduce that number for 2016 and forward!

We are so thankful for all the help we’ve received from Tarrant County’s LOSS Team, all the presenters at the LOSS Team Conference this year and the Listserv participants. We have a great community that is so generous with their information and resources! We could not have gotten here without your help.

Tracy Maddoux, MSW, LMSW, LCDC
LOSS Team Coordinator, Denton County

Please note: the LOSSTeam website is not intended to provide help in a crisis. If you are feeling suicidal or need help for yourself or someone you know, please consult IASP's Suicide Prevention Resources to find a crisis center anywhere in the world. In the US, call toll-free 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free suicide prevention service or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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