People sitting on a bench.

 

Written by Jenny Goldade

 

Survivors of Suicide and Alliance of Hope are just two examples of organizations that help those grieving the loss of a loved one by suicide. They provide those grieving with educational resources and a place to honor and remember their loved one.

 

Is there a suicide support group in your community? If not, your funeral home can start a suicide support group to help your client families and community members heal. We’ll discuss the basics of how to start a suicide support group in your community below.

 

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Planning the Foundation of Your Suicide Support Group

First, you should decide if someone at your funeral home wants to run the group or if you want to recruit outside help. You can reach out to local grief counselors and experts in the unique grief of suicide. You also may want to reach out to potential sponsors for your group, such as suicide prevention organizations and local hospitals and hospice centers.

 

Choose a safe location for your support group meetings. Some good options are a meeting room at your funeral home, local library, or community center. Also decide what time and how often you want the group to meet — such as a specific weekday evening or Saturday afternoon monthly, biweekly, or weekly.

 

Whoever organizes your group should have the necessary background or training to do so. They should know the warning signs of suicide, understand the unique grief of suicide, and be able to determine if someone should seek professional guidance. For example, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a training program for starting suicide support groups and learning more about suicide grief.

 

Suicide Support Group Agenda

The support group is a place for those grieving to seek comfort, share memories of their loved one, learn ways to honor their memory and start a healthy healing journey. It creates a community of people who are going through similar situations and can help and support one another through their grief journey.

 

You can determine whether your meetings will be more leader-led or group-led discussions by the members. It also may depend on the discussion topic; sharing memories can be group-led while sharing grieving tips can be leader-led.

 

Inviting Families

You can invite your client families who are grieving the loss of a loved one by suicide. The easiest way to do this would be to provide them with an informational brochure at the funeral planning meeting. You can briefly explain the purpose of the group, then invite them to come to a meeting and decide if it’s right for them. You also can use the brochure to inform and invite other members of your community.

 

Additionally, you can provide them with other grief resources, such as helpful books, articles, and organizations. It also may help to create a Facebook group your members can join and invite others who may be interested.

 

Has your funeral home started a suicide support group? Share your advice in the comments!