EveryStep Grief & Loss Services Offers Support as Suicide Rate Rises

According to Polk County Health Services, there were 14 suicides in Polk County in January 2022, including five suicides among youth — four were under the age of 12. EveryStep Grief and Loss Services is actively addressing the needs of those affected by these losses.

EveryStep Grief & Loss Services offers a variety of grief support opportunities provided at no cost for anyone in communities around Iowa. These resources include:

  • EveryStep’s Amanda the Panda Grief & Loss Camps — a “virtual” spring camp will be offered online April 2 for adults, teens and children (kindergarten and older) who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
  • Online support — 6-week winter support groups for children ages 5 and up, and for adults.
  • Anticipatory grief support group for adults ages 18 and older — meetings are held the third Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. for those facing the loss of a loved one from a terminal illness, end-of-life changes or dementia.

Additionally, memorial gatherings, family nights, mailed resources and more are offered free-of-charge to help individuals navigate the many feelings associated with loss, such as anger, sadness, frustration, shock, numbness, denial, guilt and anxiety.

To register for or learn more about any of the events noted above, call (515) 223-4847 or email griefandloss@everystep.org. Additionally, many grief and loss resources are available at www.everystep.org/services/grief-loss.

According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk of suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased or seems related to a painful event, loss or change.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Extreme mood swings.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-273-8255. No matter what you are facing, it’s important to remember that someone in this world — an old friend or a future one, a family member, a therapist, a group leader, even a volunteer on a hotline — is concerned about you and wants you to stay.