The manual was created by Friends for Survival, one of the oldest survivor-run organizations in the country focused exclusively on suicide grief support (and which publishes the "Comforting Friends" newsletter). Although the manual was designed for a California audience, 95% of it is applicable to any community anywhere in the country, and anyone interested in developing a broad range of survivor services would be wise to add it to their list of prime references.It begins with this claim:
Survivors need more than a meeting with a couple of sympathetic souls and a box of tissues These guidelines are based on a program designed by 50 survivors over a period of 30 years to provide multiple services to meet the complex needs of survivors in the aftermath of suicide. This guide offers a detailed discussion of the process for creating and sustaining a suicide bereavement support program that is effective, community based and supported by professional resources in the local area.
"Pathways to Purpose & Hope" also focuses on sustainability, covering topics such as publicity, outreach, community collaboration, and partnership building -- as well as ideas and tactics for fundraising. It doesn't stop there, but also covers organizational issues such as infrastructure and governance. There is also a brief but helpful section on evaluation, an often overlooked key to sustainability.
The manual's training section gives a complete and detailed outline of essential content to train volunteers for telephone support for survivors as well as for face-to-face support group facilitation.The manual all by itself is excellent, and it is further improved by its appendix, which is a treasure trove of resources, tools, and examples, featuring everything from a catalog of online resources to samples of brochures and handouts and templates of the forms needed to run a support group and manage volunteers. It closes with an annotated bibliography of the best books available to help survivors of suicide loss and those who care for them.