About Barb Smith

Barb Smith facilitator for Saginaw Survivors of SuicideBARB SMITH
PO Box 6712 Saginaw MI 48608-6712
sosbarb@gmail.com  989-781-5260

Barb Smith is the founder and facilitator of the Survivors of Suicide.   This non-profit group has been supporting families and friends after a death to suicide for the past 26 years.  Barb also works with families and friends left behind after a death by suicide as a private grief and suicide consultant

Barb is a published author of her personal story “Pain With a Purpose” in a book called i’MPOSSIBLE Project author Josh Rivedal. Recently she has done a podcast interview with Josh Riverdal about what she does and how she continues toward “Zero Suicides.” To watch the podcast Click Here.

Barb has received training and certifications from numerous experts in the field of suicide prevention, intervention and the aftermath of suicide.  Including Bill Steele, Iris Bolton, Michael Nerney, AFSP, AAS and many others.

Barb serves as the on-call person for survivors of suicide and for local agencies as a consult and resource for the bereaved.

Barb has appeared in numerous interviews for television and newspaper articles including the Detroit Free Press, WNEM, ABC, MCTV and is quoted in published books.

Barb has been recognized as the “Saginawian” of the year; she received the “Volunteer of the Year Award” from United Way; “Woman of the Year” from Zonta Club; and given awards for the work she has done in suicide prevention and intervention by the Michigan Association of Suicidology.  She has accepted a “Personal Appreciation Award” from the Saginaw County Sheriff Department, as well as the “Distinguished Victims Services Award” by the State of Michigan for her work in the Advocacy program.  Barb received the Humanitarian Award from JJLMF in 2006. In 2008 she was the recipient of the “Hero Award” from the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority

  • 2008-present Master Trainer of the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Trainer) workshop for suicide first aid.  Provisional trainer for the SafeTalk training (suicide awareness program) through Livingworks.  An international best practice program.
  • 2008-2009 Member of the Saginaw County Suicide Prevention Coalition and participated in the writing and implementation of the Saginaw County Suicide Prevention Plan.
  • 2007- present Performs crisis outreach in schools and workplaces following the death of a student, staff member, or colleague.   As a liaison, she has coordinated with police, funeral homes, staff, victims and friends following a tragedy.  Barb has presented opening statements and words of hope to both large and small groups.
  • 2007-2009 Past Provisional Trainer for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Outreach Program
  • 2006- present Co-Chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Bay County Michigan, participated in writing and implementing the Bay  County Suicide Prevention plan.
  • Yellow Ribbon Coordinator in Bay County coordinating Yellow Ribbon week and monthly activities for up to 5,000 students with messages of hope and suicide prevention.
  • 2006-2009 Past member of the Survivor Council for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • 2005- present Contracts through Bay Arenac Behavioral Health Authority for administrative support services related to their youth suicide prevention program.
  • Chairs the local annual National Survivors of Suicide Day event.  This nationally recognized Survivors of Suicide Day allows people to unite with others suffering the loss of loved ones throughout an all-day conference.  This is one of the largest events running simultaneously with other memorials across the country.
  • 2003-present Member/leader of the Saginaw County Sheriff Department Victims Advocate Team.    Assisting police in delivering death notifications and working with families immediately following a tragedy
  • Co-Chaired and chaired numerous national and local suicide awareness walks with the events raising over $200,000 and up to 900 people participating annually.  Profits raised are used to bring suicide awareness to communities both at local and national levels.
  • 2001- present Certified “train-the-trainer” for Yellow Ribbon International, a proactive suicide prevention and intervention program, recognized as a best practice program to help prevent youth suicides.  She has not only spoken to thousands of youth throughout Michigan but also with her gatekeeper training, she has spoken to over 60,000 people nationally on the warning signs and risk factors of suicide.  Training sessions have included schools, police academies, criminal justice programs, police agencies, faith communities, media, mental health workers, PFLAG, first responders, medical personal, funeral directors and many other specialty groups.
  • 1989-2005 Past Vice-president/board member of Michigan Association of Suicidology.  MAS is a State organization that works in the prevention, intervention and aftermath of suicide.
  • Successfully chaired or co-chaired approximately thirty-five conferences, as well as coordinated guest speakers for workshops relating to depression and suicide.
  • Authored a training program for facilitating a survivors of suicide support group which trains new facilitators in initiating and maintaining a group for loved ones left behind after a death to suicide.