SPRITES is the Survivors Partnership for Research Information Truth and Education on Suicide.
Survivors Partnership - Survivors helping survivors
Research - Support research efforts (for example: NAMI Walk, AFSP Walk, etc.)
Information - For survivors (for example - 1st Responders Pamphlet)
Truth - Suicide is a medical condition
Education - Change the stigma associated with
The mission of SPRITES Foundation is to provide support to individuals whose lives have been altered by the loss of a loved one to suicide, to instill a spirit of compassionate involvement with integrity, perseverance, determination, and knowledge through courtesy, respect, and leadership. SPRITES is also committed to reducing the stigma associated with suicide through supporting education of the general public about brain illnesses.
In October 2006 Sue Wesner, the facilitator for the Survivor’s of Suicide (SOS) program at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, hosted a picnic for ‘survivors of suicide’, those who had lost a loved one to suicide. At that picnic it was discussed that it would be nice if some little ‘extras’ could be provided for the survivor’s who participate in the SOS program. Things such as cookies and coffee at the adult’s last class, pizza at the children’s last class. As survivors we understood the importance of fostering relationships with other survivors, after the SOS classes were concluded. It was felt that providing a social environment to encourage that bonding was worthwhile. Several of those in attendance at the picnic decided that an organization needed to be formed that could provide this type of support for survivors.
When the first core of this group, who were at the picnic, started to meet around a dining room table, back in November 2006, one of the first things talked about was what to name this new organization. Some of those around the table offered a couple of ideas, suggestions of a theme, etc. The name SPRITE was suggested, and it was felt that it represented much of what the organization hoped to be. The group then started to build around the acronym. There have been several versions of what each letter would stand for in those early months, including adding the S at the end to incorporate what SPRITES now stands for: Survivors Partnership for Research Information Truth and Education on Suicide.
The vision of SPRITES has grown from not only hoping to provide cookies and pizza to the attendees of the SOS program, but to be an advocate for survivors and a voice in the community; that community being survivors and the general public. SPRITES is a group of survivors helping survivors. SPRITES is not an official ‘support group’, however, most who attend a meeting or event do find it supportive being with others who understand a loss from suicide. SPRITES is a proactive organization, developing materials to assist those new to the loss of a loved one to suicide, providing the camaraderie of understanding no matter where in the journey of coping with the loss, and educating the public about suicide, in the hopes of removing the stigma society has about death from suicide.