|In 1982, following a suicide educational conference at Aurora College (now Aurora University) Survivors of Suicide (SOS), a self-help group to help families and loved ones who have experienced a suicide started with 8 survivors. That group continues to meet today, the third Monday of each month, at the Advent Christian Church in Aurora (not church affiliated) and continues to be facilitated by Stephanie Weber. The Crisis Line of the Fox Valley began in 1984 and was a collaboration of efforts between a group of survivors, lead by Stephanie, and The Association for Individual Development. The 24/7 general hotline still operates today. In 1997 the board of SOS began convening community forums on the need for more prevention and intervention for at-risk persons not yet identified in the mental health system. Out of these community meetings, Suicide Prevention Services (SPS) incorporated on May 29, 1998.Since then SPS has formed partnerships with many community agencies including but not limited to: Aurora University, Kane County Health Department, Communities in Schools, 708 Board for Mental Health and Mental Retardation Funding, Mutual Ground, police and fire departments, and schools. These and other partners were, and continue to be, vital to SPS strategies to reduce suicide risk and completions through aggressive public education and outreach, depression screening, and early identification and intervention programs and services.
Advocacy and collaboration have always been the community methods used; hence the name “services” and not “center.” National partnerships continue with The American Association of Suicidology, Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Suicide Resource Center to name just a few. In 1999, combined local and national forces led to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action for Suicide Prevention, which encourages Congressional forces to allocate specific funds for suicide prevention.
In 2000 Stephanie Weber was honored as the National Suicide Survivor of the Year by American Association of Suicidology and in 2007 received their distinguished Roger Tierney Service Award. These awards acknowledged her dedicated and tireless work to help survivors and to establish new programs in the field of suicide prevention.
Today, Suicide Prevention Services of America is expanding its reach to advance the cause for suicide prevention. In fact, Suicide Prevention Services of America is one of only seven organizations in the United States devoted to saving lives and restoring hope through prevention, intervention and postvention.