chapter  18
Friends for Survival
WithMarilyn Koenig
Pages 6

In 1982, Marilyn Koenig and Chris Moon shared their experience of the death by suicide of their teenage sons at a Compassionate Friends meeting for grieving parents. That shared experience gave birth to a support group for all survivors of a suicide death. In the early 1980s, no other such resource was available in the Sacramento, CA, area, and very few organizations existed nationally. The founding families of Friends for Survival (FFS) envisioned an organization that would provide emotional support, education, and insight into the problems faced by those who have been affected by a suicide loss, and in so doing, help break the cycle of death by suicide. A mission statement was developed and adopted by the FFS Board of Directors in 1996. It states

The fi rst FFS meeting on February 3, 1983, was attended by eight grieving survivors. By the end of 2009, we had responded to more than 7,300 grieving families nationwide, mailed 652,470 monthly newsletters, facilitated 1,410 monthly education/support meetings, and presented 24 all-day conferences and retreats. Our 2010 budget was $75,000. All of this would not have been possible without the backbone and brains of the 568 dedicated volunteers who have donated more than 80,000 hours of their time. For the fi rst 26 years, we had been an all-volunteer organization. In July 2009, we hired part-time staff to support our programs and help with the phones.