Why a Suicide Loss Support Group?

Survivors often feel abandoned by friends and family who don’t seem able to give comfort and support. They feel that they have no one to talk too who understands how they feel. For many survivors their trust in the world has been shattered. They wonder if they will ever feel normal again. Survivors often need a place where they can share their experience with others who really understand – a place where they can talk openly without being judged or told how to feel.

Bereavement & Suicide Loss Support Groups

Our support groups are once-a-month ‘Open Meetings.' New members are always welcome.

A newly formed Washington County Support Group will meet the second (2nd) Wednesday of each month beginning June 13, 2018 at St Benedict the Abbot Church, 120 Abington Drive, McMurray, PA 15317, room #214 of the Relgious Education Building. For more information about the Washington County group call Mary Broglie or Cathy Hramika at 412-854-2179 or email listeningfriends119@gmail.com.

The Pittsburgh East Support Group meets the first (1st) Tuesday of each month at Madonna del Castello Roman Catholic Church, 2021 Braddock Avenue, Swissvale, PA 15218. Call Jack Shaw at 412-508-5383.

The Pittsburgh South Support Group meets the Third (3rd) Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm at Elizabeth Seton Center, 1900 Pioneer Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15226 (Brookline). Call Jack at 412-508-5383 or Email: shaw.jack@verizon.net

The Pittsburgh North Support Group meets the first (1st) Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 342 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh PA 15215 (O'Hara Twsp). Call Karen Voss at 412-963-8628.

The Support Group's Promise and Purpose

Each of us comes to this group with a common sorrow: we have lost a loved one to suicide. The emotional pain can be quite intense at times and even more so when it seems that there is no one to help us carry it. Perhaps all the other people whom we love are carrying their own burdens and are not available to help us. Or perhaps we feel that we must be stronger in order to help someone else carry on. It matters not what brought us here – what matters is that we come to this group to share our own concerns, feelings, and experiences and we come to look to one another for support.

At different times, each of us will need something from the group. Some may want to speak. Someone else may need silence to make sense of their feelings. Still another may need encouragement to tell their story. We can help one another by listening without judging – by asking questions without advising – and by sharing our own experiences. Each of us has a different way of handling grief and our goal in this group is to give and receive support for our unique journey as survivors of suicide loss. We also agree to hold in confidence the many things that are shared in our group. We believe with this support – we can pick up the pieces ourselves and have hope for tomorrow because of the gift of listening friends.

Understanding Suicide Loss

Everyone experiences suicide loss in their own way. In addition to common grief responses such as sadness and shock, you may feel anger, shame, disorientation, relief, and guilt. Allow yourself to – feel what you feel – and understand that healing takes time.

Healthy Healing:

Be patient. Know that everyone grieves at their own pace. Give yourself time.

Take care of yourself. Eat nutritiously. Get sleep and exercise. Even a ten minute walk can make a difference.

Seek professional help. Many people find that counseling helps them deal with their grief in healthy ways.

Learn about suicide loss. Knowing what to expect often helps you get through the more difficult times.

Connect with other suicide loss survivors. Find comfort by reaching out to people who understand what you are going through.

What is a Suicide Loss Support Group Like?

As Carla Fine wrote in her book, “No Time to Say Goodbye”: “When thinking about going to a meeting of a similar support group I imagined a revival meeting with people boasting about their faith and telling me how I should feel. But as people came in and exchanged greetings, I began to feel that I was at the wrong place because everyone looked so normal – a typical crowd that blended ages, ethnic backgrounds, and economic classes. I was stunned. Had all the people in this room – these normal people – really been through a suicide loss of a loved one?”

Carla found people who could understand her, who could relate to her pain and confusion without being judgmental or reducing her pain to preaching. She learned that the survivors gather to remember and to speak aloud the precious names of those lost to suicide. The experience lessens the sense of stigma and responsibility for the death when they learn the suicide is most often linked to a mental illness involving brain chemistry.

This is what we are here for. To help you as a recent survivor of the suicide of a loved one, cope with the loss you have experienced and help in the process of putting your life together in the healthiest way possible – among a support group of “Listening Friends.”