Donor Spotlight – Rachel’s Story

Samaritans was there.

“There is something freeing about speaking with someone who has traveled this terrible road. You feel like you can say anything and it won’t be out of bounds. There is simply no judgement.” – Rachel Long

Rachel Long and her family suffered an immeasurable loss of a family member to suicide, her mother’s only sister, her dear Aunt Jane. In the days that followed, they called Samaritans 24/7 Helpline.  This is where their journey with Samaritans began.

There are many emotions when a family member dies from suicide. Beyond the immediate strike of shock and sadness, there is also a multitude of other emotions, like confusion, anger and guilt, to name a few.  When Rachel Long’s family received that devasting phone call that her aunt had taken her own life, she and her family were struck by all those emotions.  Two trained volunteers, Nicole and Rosemary, loss survivors themselves, sat with the family to help them begin to process their loss and grief. In those days, Samaritans was there.

Through Samaritans SafePlace meetings and Survivor to Survivor visits, facilitated by fellow suicide loss survivors, they began to unravel their feelings, trying to make better sense of what had happened. Sometimes, simply trying to reach a place of acceptance that this terrible thing had happened. Rachel and her mother found comfort in the sense of togetherness these meetings offered. They weren’t always the happiest of environments, but knowing that everyone there truly knew how they felt helped them to continue to move forward in their recovery process. Through profound kindness and guidance shown by other survivors they slowly put one foot in front of the other. In those meetings, Samaritans was there.

Accepting loss is not easy. It is sometimes a long and arduous journey. But in time, Rachel was able to start to laugh and cry about her Aunt Jane. To understand and accept the mental health challenges she had faced. To simply begin to talk about her again. Eventually, she decided she wanted to give back to the organization that had helped her family through so much. 

In 2021 she joined the Samaritans’ Boston Marathon Team. Through fundraising for the team, she realized just how many friends and colleagues had dealt with the same type of loss and how it’s often not discussed because of the stigma around mental health. She was struck by just how many people she knew were affected by this. 

Rachel shared her family’s story at Samaritans’ Annual Meeting this year. You can watch it here:

All of the support and guidance Rachel and her family received from Samaritans could not have been done without the support of our donors. Because of them, Samaritans is able to continue to offer the 24/7 Helpline and SafePlace survivor support meetings to all who need them. This year, 3 very generous donors have agreed to match donations up to $225,000.

Your support is so important. For the Aunt Jane in your life, please give generously to support those who are struggling and those who may have lost a loved one.