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Stephanie Willard Shares a Story Rarely Heard: Effects on a Family and the Ripples Beyond after a Murder Suicide

Stephanie Willard

a family before tragedy

Series producers Annemarie Matulis & Tracey Medeiros

A Voice at the Table

Voices still unheard, Stories still untold: the aftermath of a murder-suicide & struggle to heal

No one can be prepared for such an event. These events are often highly publicized, however, once that fades, the people left behind have to re-build their lives,” ”
— Stephanie Willard
TAUNTON, MA, UNITED STATES, May 18, 2021 / -- On May 8th, 2014, Stephanie Willard came home and discovered that her husband had killed their four-year-old daughter, then himself. As part of the never-ending recovery from this tragedy, Willard has dedicated her life's work to be an advocate for improvements in the care of people with brain illnesses, as well as help those who have faced similar tragedies and who have dealt with the death of a loved one from suicide (suicide bereavement) or murder-suicide.

Willard is a mental health advocate, storyteller, as well as a licensed acupuncturist, Oriental Medicine practitioner, and clinical aroma-therapist. She has been in private practice for twenty years in Oregon. Willard said, “The bereaved face a litany of challenges and often lack resources to support their healing process.” On May 21st, Willard will share her story as the third part of an 8-part digital series, “The Complexity of Murder-Suicide” being hosted by A Voice at the Table,, the grassroots movement for family and close friends emotionally impacted and traumatized by a loved one’s suicidal experience. Her two-hour webinar is at 4:30 PM EDT.
Willard will share her personal experience of how murder-suicide has affected her, her surviving child, and her observations on how it has affected those around them directly and years later. Her place in the 8-part series is after Dr. Thomas Joiner presented a webinar on “The Psychology of Murder-Suicide” on May 6th, and Dr. Kathleen carterMartinez delivered a livestream on “Trauma: The Great Equalizer” on May 15th.

“Murder-suicide events are rare yet are happening at an increasing rate. The ripples reverberate through families, friends, and communities. No one can be prepared for such an event. These events are often highly publicized, however, once that fades, the people left behind have to re-build their lives,” noted Willard recently.

Willard has been public with her lived experience and continuous grief process via her blog at and articles in “The Mighty,” . As she brings a "realness" to her readers of what her journey has been, Willard has touched people worldwide. Willard also created and has taught her class Tools for Navigating the Roller Coaster of Grief, combining her many years of alternative care knowledge and her loss experience. She is an active member of the Suicide Prevention Alliance for the state of Oregon working on prevention and legislative changes, as well as on the Impacted Family & Friends Division of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS).

She believes that people with lived experience can help educate as well as support others in suicide prevention and bereavement and strives every day to inspire hope to others. Her story is, above all else, about resilience.

To register for Stephanie Willard’s 2-hour live webinar at 4:30 pm EDT on May 21st, “Effect on a Family and the Ripples Beyond: A Unique Perspective after a Murder- Suicide,” use this link: ($30,00).If you are unable to attend this session live at 4:30 EDT, register for the event and a link will be forwarded to you within 48 hours.

The 8-part series continues after Willard’s webinar with Eric Kussin and Dr. Bart Andrews who will engage in a one-hour livestream on May 27th to discuss the role of science and a lived experience perspective with media, messaging and truth related to murder-suicide – “Why the Media’s Portrayal of Murder-Suicides is Setting the Convo Back: A Conversation.” They will be followed on June 4th by Dr. Mike Anestis. In a 2-hour live webinar, Dr. Anestis will clarify how and why firearms play a central role in firearm suicide, learning more about how firearms increase the risk for suicide and then what we can do to decrease that risk

Kevin Hines ( ) is an award-winning brain/mental health and suicide prevention activist, entrepreneur, multiple award-winning filmmaker, best-selling author, international educator and speaker who reaches audiences with his story of an unlikely survival and his strong will to live. On June 7th, Kevin will host a 90-minute livestream roundtable conversation with all of the series’ “voices” to engage in hoped for takeaways for the audiences and identify areas of action and next steps to tear down the barriers of judgement around murder-suicide and marginalization of the families impacted. We must do better. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. We must bring this public health topic out of the whispering shadows of discrimination and prejudice (aka stigma) into the light to save lives. To achieve that goal, we need more people willing to step up and join the conversation.
Dr. carterMartinez will return to wrap up the series with two more livestreams, “The Trauma of Suicide: Frozen in Time” on June 10th and “Trauma: Fractured Spirits – How do traumatic events happen in our lives?” on June 24th.

For more details on the additional webinars and livestreams in this 8-part series:
“The Complexity of Murder-Suicide – A Tapestry of Voices” is a production of A Voice at the Table, a grassroots movement for families impacted by the suicidal experiences of loved ones.

Producers are Annemarie Matulis and Tracey Medeiros.

For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more information.

About A Voice at the Table: A Voice at the Table was founded in 2014 as a companion to the documentary, A Voice at the Table - A call to action to bring the lived experience voices of suicide attempt survivors to all tables within suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. As a grassroots movement, it has since expanded and become the national "home base" forum for the family & friends emotionally impacted & traumatized by the suicidal experiences of loved ones. A movement: a group of people working together to advance their shared ideas. A forum: a place, meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular concern can be exchanged, in this case, nationally and internationally. For more information:

Annemarie Matulis
A Voice at the Table
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