OSPF launches‘First Step Fund’ to help families of those lost to suicide

R-H Staff

COLUMBUS — On average, Ohio is losing 1,700 individuals to suicide each year. That’s 1,700 families that must endure the grief and hardships of loss, which are only further complicated by the social stigma that still comes with a death by suicide. To alleviate these challenges and reduce the stigma that so many still face when talking about suicide, the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF) is launching the First Step Fund.

The First Step Fund will support families in the immediate aftermath of a suicide loss. This fund can be applied to a portion of funeral expenses, trauma scene restoration, or grief support.

“We work in every corner of the state, so we know that in many communities, individuals and families are not provided the resources they need after a suicide loss to take the first step in healing,” says Tony Coder, Executive Director of OSPF. “We are hopeful that this fund can be that first step after such a tragic loss.”

The fund will launch in 2023 and families will be able to apply for support. The goal is to make the process as simple as possible so that families can begin healing. Sheryl Weber, who lost her daughter to suicide, shares that this fund would have had a profound impact on her family’s journey and introduced them to a community of people who understood the reality of suicide loss earlier on.

“As a mother whose 19-year-old daughter died by suicide, I know firsthand the tremendous loss and emptiness that never goes away,” Weber says. “Organizations like Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation provides support for those who are left to pick up the pieces and provide essential education to prevent suicides. Your dollars will help in the fight to prevent suicides, so no family has to endure our pain. Please join me in contributing to the First Step Fund to help families following a loss.”

All donations collected now through Nov. 29 will go directly to the First Step Fund. Anyone who would like to support this effort can give on OSPF’s website at www.ohiospf.org/donate.

R-H Staff