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ACTS Helpline LOSS Team History
ACTS Helpline determined a LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) team was essential to provide immediate outreach to members of the community who experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide. Dr. Frank Campbell was contacted and on November 7 , 2011 provided LOSS team training to key members of Prince William County to include; law enforcement, educators, clergy, mental health professionals, health care providers and family members and friends who lost loved ones to suicide.

Dr. Campbell set the ground work for the establishment of the LOSS team by providing training, expertise, insight, and credibility to on site outreach services. He provided the necessary elements for “buy in” from community leaders to consider the value of an outreach team.

After the training, 24 individuals indicated interest in becoming a LOSS team member.

Contact was made with B.T.Coady , a local homicide detective, to begin the process of working with law enforcement. Detective Coady drafted a letter to Chief Charles Dean describing a LOSS team and how ACTS Helpline and Prince William County police could collaborate to provide services to friends and family members when a suicide occurred in the local jurisdiction.

Helpline staff contacted interested individuals to begin the process of creating a LOSS team. Each person was required to complete a volunteer application, provide two letters of reference, pass a criminal history check, and participate in an additional half day training. This resulted in a 14 member team.

On February 15, 2012 Prince William County police and ACTS Helpline signed an MOU (Memorandum of Agreement) to begin implementing the LOSS team. Activation of the LOSS team occurred when the first call came, just five days later on February 20, from Detective Coady. The team members responded to the site to offer support and resources to family and friends.

The team responded on April 19. August was a challenging month. Requests for the LOSS team came on August 3, 4, 13, and 27. The most recent call was on September 3.

Increased awareness and respect have developed from the first LOSS team call on February 20 and the latest call on September 3. For example, on the August 27 call, law enforcement waited for the LOSS team to arrive before telling the family members the cause of death. Law enforcement and clergy have requested training regarding suicide bereavement and have suggested Helpline expand its services to a second jurisdiction.

Follow up with family and friends has proven to be not only helpful, but in some cases necessary. Family members and friends have expressed appreciation for LOSS team involvement and support. Some have joined Helpline’s Surviving After Suicide (SAS) support group, others requested follow up calls and additional community resource information.

The LOSS team is grateful to Dr. Campbell for being the catalyst in the establishment of a LOSS team in our community and believe it is our privilege to be available and able to offer support to suicide survivors.

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.

Copyright © 2015 Dr. Frank Campbell