Survivor Day

“There is suffering greater than that which drives people to suicide; suicide defines the moment in which mental pain exceeds the human capacity to bear it. It represents the abandonment of hope.” –John T. Maltsberger


“On February 8, 2015, my worst fear had come true and our world was shattered by suicide,” wrote Mandan’s Ashley Jacobchick in an excruciatingly poignant letter about losing her 53-year-old father, Dean, to suicide.

Jacobchick, who is 32-years-old and a wife and mother, wrote the letter to support the work of the Bismarck-Mandan chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), an organization for which she volunteers. The chapter is sponsoring International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day at Bismarck’s New Song Church on Saturday, November 19, 2016.

“My father had battled with depression and alcohol abuse since 2008. He changed from a man who would do absolutely anything for anyone, to a man who could do nothing for himself,” Jacobchick’s letter continues. She points out that 90 percent of those attempting or completing suicide have some form of depression or psychologic disorder. There were 137 suicides in North Dakota in 2015.

Since losing her father, Jacobchick now dedicates time and effort toward raising awareness in the community about mental illness, suicide warning signs, support groups for survivors of suicide loss, and access to help for those struggling with their own thoughts of suicide.

“I feel better knowing my journey and my story can help others,” said Jacobchick. “It makes me feel like his death was not in vain.”

The Survivor Day program begins at New Song at 11:30 a.m. on November 19 with registration and a light lunch. Each year, AFSP shows a new documentary specifically messaged for survivors of suicide loss. There will be time for fellowship following the documentary.

For more information call Brenda Bergan at 701-426-1021, or Susan Wagner at 701-290-7037, or visit