It is often said those who are left behind after a suicide suffer the most from the tragedy. If you've lost a loved one to suicide, a support group can help you cope during this emotional time.
Online Support Groups
If you're not ready to talk about your grief in-person or can't find a group nearby, these online support communities feature forums where you can chat with others as much or as little as you'd like.
Alliance of Hope
As a charitable nonprofit, Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors is dedicated to providing support for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. National organizations such as the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) recommend the Alliance as a valuable online support group. Simply join their forums to start sharing, learning, and healing with others like you. The forums are organized by topic so you can easily find a thread that speaks to your current status. There you'll find others talking about one particular aspect of the healing process. There are currently over 13,000 members using the forums.
Parents of Suicide
Parents of Suicides (POS)-Friends and Families of Suicides (FFOS), also known as POS-FFOS, is an international online community for those who've lost loved ones to suicide. Their Suicide Grief Support Forum is a public message board with over 3,000 members. You can create a login within a few minutes to access all their resources, but it's not a requirement. The message board is separated into threads based on common categories like "Mourning and Remembering," "For Siblings," or "Inspiration."
In-Person Support Groups
Those who prefer regularly scheduled meetings and a group of familiar faces can join these national organization's regular meetings. In-person support groups take place anywhere from once a month to once a week.
HEARTBEAT/Survivors After Suicide Inc. started in 1980 as one of the first support groups available for those grieving suicide loss. Today the group features 19 HEARTBEAT chapters across the country in Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Vermont. Click on the "Chapter Directory" link on the website to find contact information for the chapter closest to you.
This peer support group offers empathy, encouragement, and hope to those grieving the loss of a loved one from suicide. Each meeting is staffed by volunteers who have worked through some of their own grief and meet anywhere from one to three times per month. There is no cost to attend the meetings, but donations are accepted.
Hospice Suicide Bereavement Support Groups
Organizations that provide Hospice care to those near the end of life also provide support groups for a variety of grieving individuals. The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care out of Cheektowaga, NY offers a free monthly suicide bereavement group. In Modesto, CA Community Hospice hosts free, ongoing meetings for survivors of a sudden loss or suicide loss. Check with your local Hospice care organization to see if they offer similar groups.
How to Find a Group
To find a local group, check with hospitals, churches, and nonprofit suicide awareness organizations near you. Several suicide prevention and support organizations offer searchable databases to help you locate a support group.
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers a comprehensive search tool to help you locate online support groups and meetings in the U.S. and other countries.
- Check listings on the Support Group Map presented by Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) where you'll find contact information and locations for groups around the country.
- The SOS directory organized by the AAS offers a listing of groups by state and city or allows you to search your specific area.
Healing Through Sharing
Losing a loved one to suicide presents a unique type of grief. Build a strong support system to help you endure the pain by joining a peer or professional support group for people in similar circumstances.