34 - Support 7 Helps Survivors Move From Trauma to Hope to Healing After Sudden Death : An Interview With Executive Director Shannon Sessions

In today’s podcast I interview Shannon Sessions, Executive Director of Support 7, a non-profit organization in Washington State that partners with the South Snohomish County fire, police, and other first responder agencies to serve those in crisis. Support 7 assists first responders on scene where the crisis occurs and provides the clients they serve with safety from onlookers and media, information about practical next steps, valuable resources, and follow up support. Shannon describes the services provided by Support 7 related to sudden and unexpected death and the responsibilities associated with an organization focused on caring for others who have experienced sudden and unexpected death. She also shares with us how she was drawn to this work, how she cares for herself, and what it is like to raise a family within the first responder culture.

I have seen first-hand the impact this organization has had on the lives they serve. For those of you who have experienced a sudden or unexpected death, you understand how helpful it can be to have someone assist you with practical steps and information in the moment of a crisis.

Key Points:

The minute you learn that your loved one has died, your world shatters and rug is pulled out from underneath you. Having a calm presence who can shelter you from the immediate chaos, give you the next steps, phone numbers to call, and anticipate your early needs is an unbelievable resource you don’t know you need at the time. The volunteer chaplains who do this work do so with their heart and souls. They provide emotional support, logistical resources, and community resources to meet the needs of those they serve.

There are challenges a nonprofit such as Support 7 faces in providing this type of services both administratively and emotionally. Funding is an issue and raising funds is a full-time job. Many people may not truly realize the value of what Support 7 has to provide unless they have experienced a similar crisis or know others who have. It is hard to comprehend the totality of the behind the scenes administrative and emotional needs that go into running an organization like Support 7. There are administrative and training needs, fundraising needs, insurance and liability concerns, volunteer and support service needs, community outreach, and mobile van needs that Shannon describes along with the various other needs associated with running a nonprofit.

Support 7 also tends to the emotional well-being of its volunteers who are constantly on the front lines of life and death crises. Compassion fatigue and burnout are real concerns for volunteers.  Shannon described how the volunteers laugh, cry, and support one another as a community.

It is my hope there will be more organizations like Support 7 in our future. I am so grateful to Shannon for sharing her personal story, how she was drawn to this work, how she met her husband, the role her faith plays in her life, and the powerful story that led her Support 7. I have had a chance to meet Shannon’s husband and several of her children, and step into the first responder culture for brief moments of time when I go to Support 7 events and trainings.

If you want an opportunity to connect with Shannon and learn more about Support 7, please join our Facebook group “Talking about the Podcast Untethered with Dr. Levin.” Shannon’s contact information is available along with the website for Support 7.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.