Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Alternatives to Suicide

"The goal is not to simply force someone to stay alive from moment to moment. Rather, it is to support them to create meaning and a life that they want to live. Not killing one’s self is simply a side-effect of all that."


Historically, people have believed that it was too dangerous to offer peer-to-peer support groups focused on the topic of suicide without a clinician present. There are many myths and fears around this sort of group and around suicide in general.  However, as a community we have found strength in coming together to talk about many 'taboo' topics and to support one another in our times of greatest distress.  Our collective wisdom and individual stories have taught us that the space to come together in this way can be powerful and healing.  It is out of this work and learning that the Alternatives to Suicide approach was born.




Local Trainings

Local trainings are free for people who live or work in Massachusetts. There is a $100 fee for people outside of Massachusetts, though it can be waived upon request. Your best bet is to sign up for our e-newsletter, where trainings are generally first releated! You can also e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for the most up-to-date training information.

Training Menu

The information below is for people or groups who wish to request a training in their area. Western Mass RLC trainers are available to offer these and other trainings both nationally and internationally as requested.


For more information on available trainings, please e-mail us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!


The Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community offers training on a variety of topics related to suicide including (but not limited to):

  • 3-day  Alternatives to Suicide Group Facilitator Training
  • 2-day Conversations on Suicide Workshop (intended for peer supporters, providers, family members, and other interested individuals)
  • 1-day Dialogue on Suicide
  • 1-day Dialogue on Suicide 
  • 1/2 Day (3 to 4 hours) Alternatives to Suicide Group Overview
  • 3-hour Myths of Suicide Workshop
  • Workshops on Self-Injury 

Training lengths and topics can be adjusted to meet the needs of specific groups, so please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss details.

PRICING:  We try to  be as affordable as possible, as our main goal is to share information and support the spread of this approach in ways that make it increasingly accessible. All training prices include materials, shipping of materials as applicable (if within the USA, extra charges may apply for international shipping of materials), and the time of two trainers with relevant experience. Travel (ground and/or airfare, hotel) are additional. We do not charge meal stipends. You are also responsible for the cost of training space and any food you may want to offer to participants. If the cost below is too much for you, please contact us and let us know what you might be able to pay. We are always willing to work with you as best we can!

3-day Trainings - $4500.00 (Plus travel/lodging as applicable)

2-day Trainings - $3000.00 (Plus travel/lodging as applicable)

1-day Trainings - $1500.00 (Plus travel/lodging as applicable)

1/2 Day Trainings (3 to 4 hours) - $750 (Plus travel/lodging as applicable)

2 hours or less - $375 (Plus travel/lodging as applicable)


The Western Mass RLC also regularly offers trainings and keynote talks on a variety of other topics, including Hearing Voices.  For information on Hearing Voices workshops, please click here.  For all other topics, please e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Local Alternatives to Suicide Groups

The Western Mass RLC developed the 'Alternatives to Suicide' approach because the opportunity to talk openly about suicide and feelings of deep emotional distress with others who have or are experiencing similar struggles can be a powerful way to support people to move through those darkest places.  During groups, people share their successes and their challenges, provide support for one another and strategize and share ideas for coping with difficult life circumstances.  People are encouraged to come both in times of strength and challenge.  Individuals need not identify as being in 'crisis' in order to attend.

Please check our calendar for the most up-to-date information on local groups!

Alternatives to Suicide Webinar

If you are interested in learning more about the Alternatives to Suicide approach, check out this Webinar offered by Alternatives to Suicide trainers/facilitators, Janice Sorensen and Sean Donovan. Co-sponsored with the National Empowerment Center.


Other Resources

There are a variety of resources available on line for people who are thinking about dying, or are trying to support someone else who is in that place.  While we do not necessarily endorse all the resources available, there is a great deal of information and many support opportunities available at the 'Unsuicide' website.



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