It is with grateful hearts and excitement for our future that we welcome our new SOSL Executive Director, Joyce Bruggeman. Joyce stepped into the role of Executive Director of SOSL in October of 2015. Like many who dedicate their time and energy in this organization, she is a survivor of suicide loss. Experiencing the devastating aftermath of suicide created a deep passion for helping others living in similar situations. Joyce speaks throughout Southern California to educate, enlighten, and reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues and suicide. In addition she teaches QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Gatekeeper Training for suicide prevention throughout San Diego, facilitates mental health support groups, and is a Certified Mental Health Coach.
Joyce earned a BA in Spanish from UC Irvine. Her professional experience includes years in both the private and public sectors. She was employed at California State University San Marcos for eleven years in the Division of Student Affairs and lastly as the Executive Assistant to the President. Losing her husband to suicide in 2008 set her life on a new course. Within a few years of his death, she left the university to pursue more opportunities to work towards suicide prevention and mental health awareness in San Diego County. Those efforts included gaining valuable mental health training, pioneering and facilitating support groups, and working with various boards and organizations that are dedicated to this same vision.
“Where I find myself today was not a part of my plans. Mental illness and suicide have impacted my life and changed me in ways I could never have anticipated. Experiencing firsthand the stigma that still surrounds these topics makes me even more determined to talk openly and break the silence. Break the silence so survivors can seek help and find healing. It is also important to me that those left behind find the strength to move beyond just surviving and live “the new normal”, and they find a life that is good once again. SOSL exists to provide a safe, listening and supportive community where the healing can take place.”