The Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board is offering a new support program for suicide and drug overdose survivors.

As they are currently recruiting volunteers, the directors of the support team tell 21 News that this program is unique in the state and could set dozens on a better path.

“I truly believe that we need to be there for the community,” said Duane Piccirilli, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board.

“You have to use your tragedies and everything that you’ve been through so that you can really help people when they’re going through the same thing you are,” said Anna Howells, a member of the Mental Health Board and someone who lost a family member to an overdose drugs.

The program’s facilitators include first responders, mental health professionals and religious leaders. Volunteers working with participants must have experienced the loss of a loved one through suicide or a drug overdose, or people surviving their own struggles.

“People who can identify are better than advisors,” Howells added. “But you can really relate to someone and say, ‘I see, I Yes, really Understand it, because I was in your shoes.”

The program is unique as its LOSS program is also combined with the DOSS program. Howells told 21 News they hope to have up to 20 volunteers and participants when program training begins in April.

“There are a lot of things you can do to help,” Piccirilli added. “They can actually be trained to be on the team. But if you do the training and just want to give a heartfelt call or a call about an anniversary, that’s all we want.”

The Board hopes the support team will provide immediate assistance to those dealing with grief.

“Ultimately, I want a mobile team to be available 24/7 in Mahoning County for anyone who is injured,” Piccirilli said. “You need the support. I don’t want anyone to be alone.”

If you or someone you know would like to become a volunteer for the Mahoning County LOSS/DOSS team, please fill out the volunteer form found on their website and send it to Lee DeVita.