SHERI MCGUINNESS, BSAuthor/Consultant/Trainer
Her inspiring new book, Choosing Hope, Finding Joy, chronicles her journey navigating through a life filled with trauma, and beating the odds: surviving, thriving and even flourishing on the other side.
Sheri is a survivor of suicide having lost Joe, her husband of 23 years to suicide in 1999. Her own loss and the painful journey that followed led her become a key figure in suicide prevention, intervention and aftercare in Georgia.
In January 2014, another tragedy struck her and her family, as she lost her precious 27 year old son Bobby in a motorcycle accident. The grief that ensued threw her over the limits of how much a human could bear. The traumas of the past combined with this new unfathomable loss sent her on a new path to find her way out of a black hole so deep there was no glimpse of light.
Writing was the gift that helped lead her out of the darkness, giving her a voice for the pain, struggle and finally a glimpse that joy could return.
She is an inspirational speaker and presenter, and has spent 35 years writing in the business arena. Sheri has experience in business, project/personnel/data management, administration, program content development, non-profit management and marketing.
She joined SPAN-GA, Suicide Prevention Action Network, Georgia where she was asked to take a leadership role as President/CEO in 2005. Since then, she has led SPAN-GA as they have delivered the voices of the grassroots constituents to the legislators each year, working with the state office for Suicide Prevention she has supported survivors and the suicide prevention community creating education, awareness, resources and support statewide.
Some of her specific work history includes:
- As a Survivor Services Specialist (SSS), she has developed and currently leads the Survivor of Suicide Support Project for the state of Georgia. This program trains interested people from around the state to provide support group services and home visit teams for survivors of a suicide loss in their area.
- Developing, launching and continually growing Camp SOS, a family camp for Survivors of a Suicide Loss, and is in the planning stage for their 5th year, 2016. Ms. McGuinness developed this peer-to-peer model, and it is featured in the academic book, The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Group Therapy in the Grief and Loss Chapter which she co-authored.
- She created and maintains the statewide website for suicide prevention, intervention and aftercare: GSPIN.org as well as the GSPIN Broadcast Network through grants from DBHDD’s Suicide Prevention Program.
- Partnering with NAMI GA, Sheri wrote and often delivers the suicide prevention, intervention, aftercare and self-care program for Law Enforcement throughout the state of Georgia. This program is used nationwide.
- She has provided technical support for the development of suicide prevention coalitions around the state, that have taken many forms including a statewide College and University suicide prevention coalition.
Through her consulting firm, Mending Hearts Consulting, Ms. McGuinness is guiding, advising, and training individuals, organizing, communities in developing strategies to support families and individuals that are dealing with loss, grief and trauma.
She has a dedicated, unyielding spirit with a heart for serving her fellow survivors and those at risk throughout Georgia and nationwide. She currently resides in Woodstock, Georgia where she enjoys time with her children and grand-daughter.
Sometimes it takes a long
time to see that
Hope is a choice.