Someone You Should Know: Supporting those experiencing suicide loss

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 4:50 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - This week’s Someone You Should Know shared her personal story through a TEDx talk in Sioux Falls and is helping others with suicide loss.

Wendy Mamer is a suicide loss and support coordinator at the Helpline Center in Sioux Falls.

“I was adopted as an infant from Guatemala by my two parents and grew up on a farm in southwest Minnesota,” said Mamer. “My dad was a farmer and my mom was a teacher.”

She is a supporter of mental health advocacy.

“Mental health advocacy work has always been my passion. I grew up wanting to be a mental health counselor and really felt called to do more.”

Wendy worked at Summit Oaks which is a psychiatric residential treatment center for youth.

She has a personal connection to her goal of helping those who struggle with suicide loss.

“My dad died by suicide. With everything I was experiencing in my work life working with individuals with suicidal ideation, it was really hard to process my own grief after having lost my dad,” she said.

She has touched many lives by sharing her story through a TEDx talk.

“The opportunity to apply for TEDx came up, and I took a shot and applied, submitted my application the day it was due, and was fortunate enough to have that opportunity.”

“I think that TEDx is another way to build connections and that story and awareness and that really brought Wendy’s ability to share that story and connect with others,” said Betsy Schuster, vice president of program development at the Helpline Center.

Though the stage may have felt small at the time, since then, Wendy has comforted others going through what she experienced.

“It has the opportunity to reach an international audience,” Mamer said. “Through that, I have been connected to people all across the country who reach out on social media or somehow find my email address and send me an email and really talk about how they experienced something so similar to what I did.”

“She embodies what she is speaking and doing, and I think that is important as people realize she is real,” said Schuster. “She truly feels everything that she does, and that allows her to walk alongside people in the journey.”

She recently joined the Helpline Center and is helping others cope with loss throughout the city.

“Now I work with survivors of suicide loss leading support groups and support classes and am really able to provide individuals who have that loss of suicide in their life from a loved one — to help them and walk alongside them in their own journey that I am all too familiar with.”

Wendy continues to pursue her calling every day by being a safe place for those suffering and experiencing what she went through.