In 1977, Steven Koenig, 18, who hadn’t given any indication that he was suffering, shot himself. “He was the one I didn’t worry about,” says his mother, Marilyn Koenig. Through tears and prayers she struggled to keep her household with six other children going. In 1982, Koenig met another mother who lost her son to suicide. Realizing the need for support the pair founded Friends for Survival.
The group distributes 4,000 newsletters worldwide and holds numerous support meetings in the region. Koenig is developing state guidelines for providing support services to survivors of suicide. Giving them comfort, encouragement and education is “life saving suicide prevention,” she says. “This is God’s program, not mine. At first they look so beaten and so hopeless. And pretty soon they’re going to start smiling and getting a life back.”