Location: Philadelphia, PA
Area Director for Philadelphia
“Our mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” says Catherine Siciliano, area director for Philadelphia at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). To support that mission, the nonprofit funds scientific research, offers educational programs for professionals, educates the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention, and promotes legislation that impacts suicide prevention.
Fun Fact: AFSP recently trained 70 people to implement support groups for survivors of suicide loss.
One of AFSP’s most unique fundraisers is the Masquerade Ball. “Our first Masquerade Ball had about 50 people attend and raised about $2,000, so we stuck with it,” says Siciliano. Last year, the ball raised more than $20,000 for the nonprofit.
Siciliano takes survivorship seriously, having lost her son to suicide in 2008. “I know what it feels like to lose someone to suicide and be stuck in that place, … not understanding what has happened and not knowing how to go about dealing with this unfathomable pain of suicide loss,” she says. For seven years, Siciliano has facilitated an adult support group at her church, and she goes on home visits.