In response to a troubling increase in the number of suicides in the local community and the need to offer appropriate supports for loved ones, Miles & St. Andrews Home Health & Hospice will offer another six-week Survivors of Suicide support group for family members and close friends of suicide victims. The six-week group will meet in Damariscotta beginning Thursday, June 1, from 6-7:30 p.m.
The period of shock and disbelief that follows a death by suicide can extend for months or for many years, and the grieving process is unique. Those left behind often experience a complex form of grief that can include intense feelings of guilt, self-reproach, and questioning. The grief process is also often protracted, as individuals must first deal with the fact that the death was caused by suicide.
“Don and I recently led a six-week Survivors of Suicide group in Boothbay Harbor. Some of those who attended had experienced very recent losses to suicide. Others experienced a loss to suicide many decades ago and they are just now ready to talk about it,” said Lisa Hammer, a medical social worker. “The feedback we received was excellent. Group members told us that meeting and talking with others who understand their feelings and concerns helped them create bonds with others, overcome isolation, and through the group support boost their emotional well-being.”
“Connecting with others who have walked the same road can sometimes make a difference in how we survive a tragedy that may be incomprehensible,” said registered nurse Kathy Bean, executive director of Miles & St. Andrews Home Health & Hospice. “We are truly grateful to the Coulombe Center for Health Improvement, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and community groups like the Hope and Resilience Committee for their support of our efforts to bring survivors together to find comfort and gain understanding from one another.”
The support group will be co-facilitated by Miles & St. Andrews Home Health & Hospice Medical Social Worker Lisa Hammer and volunteer Don Weatherbee who brings extensive experience as a Survivors of Suicide group facilitator.
The six-week group requires a minimum of four participants and is free of charge. Registration by Thursday, May 25 is required. To register and/or for more information, call Miles & St. Andrews Home Health & Hospice at 563-4592.