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Discussion on healing after suicide loss Nov. 20

PLATTSBURGH - Jamie L. Basiliere knows what it's like to have a loved one taken away too soon. She's also among those who have lost their loved one to a very taboo subject - suicide.

Last November, Basiliere's nephew, Casey Briggs, a 23-year-old sergeant in the Army Reserves, completed suicide. It was a year after he had returned from serving in the War in Iraq.

"We surmised he had post-traumatic stress disorder," said Basiliere.

The loss of Briggs was a devastating one for his family, said Basiliere, and one still difficult to talk about a year later. However, Basiliere said she felt it was important to talk about her family's loss to others going through the same thing. That's why she'll be the featured speaker at "Healing After Suicide Loss," a conference hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of the Champlain Valley next Saturday, Nov. 20.

"We want people to know they're not alone," Basiliere said, referring to those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

According to statistics from www.suicide.org, 32,637 suicides were recorded in 2005, with the majority reported being elderly white men. Suicides in youths ages 15-24 totaled 4,212.

However, Basiliere wants people to know those who complete suicide should never be known as just a statistic or for their final act.

"That last event does not define their life. It does not define my nephew. It doesn't define anyone," she said. "When people think back on their loved one, hopefully they can work through the sadness and find the joy they brought to their lives in the first place."

Healing After Suicide Loss will be held in the State University of New York at Plattsburgh Angell College Center beginning with registration at 11:30 a.m., and the conference at 12 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

For more information or to register, call 563-1141 or e-mail survivorconference@gmail.com.

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