Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reach out - help is really out there

A friend of mine recently asked me to contact her friend who had lost a son to suicide. She thought I could tell her friend about my experience as a way of helping her. Although I called with trepidation -- I worried about being intrusive -- I felt our conversation went well. And hopefully we can continue not just for her benefit but for mine as well.

I reconnected with an old school-days friend after our son died because he had had a similar experience six years before. And from the minute he walked through my door I felt relief. Here was someone who really understood what I was going through. He wasn't there to give me therapy. He was just there -- anytime I needed him to be there.

So my point is - reach out to anyone you know who can be there for you in your time of need.

We also went to the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Survivors After Suicide eight-week workshop after Paul died. I know I've written about Didi Hirsch, before but I feel it's appropriate to mention this workshop again. Other people in your shoes will be there. You can learn from and support each other. But don't attend a group too soon after your loved one's death while you are still very raw. Give yourself time to grieve a while first. And then reach out.

  • Groups are typically composed of six to ten survivors - parents, siblings, friends - that meet once a week for one and a half hours, for eight consecutive weeks.
  • Only those who have lost a loved one to suicide are eligible to participate in the support group.  
  • It is not a "drop-in" group. The same people will be in a group for the entire eight weeks.
  • Groups are led by a therapist with expertise in suicide bereavement, and co-facilitated by a survivor who has lost a loved one to suicide, went through the eight-week group program, and now volunteers his or her time to help others.
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