What inspired you to become a Suicide Bereavement Support Group facilitator for individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide? Was there a specific event or personal experience that motivated you to offer this kind of support?
Acutely aware of the high suicide rate in our community and having been shocked and touched by some that I’ve known as well as the devastating effect that it has, not only on families and loved ones, but also on peers, neighbours, acquaintances, and the community at large, I felt moved to become a facilitator. In particular, my son has been rocked by way too many mates who have taken their own lives.
Can you share a pivotal moment or story from your journey that reaffirmed your commitment to helping those who are grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide?
A close friend of my sister has been living on a knife edge for the past year as her daughter has made two attempts and written a farewell letter to her. Her level of stress and suffering is immense.
How do you believe your own experiences and training as a Crisis Support volunteer and SBSG facilitator have impacted not only the individuals you support but also your own perspective on mental health and suicide prevention? Are there any lessons or insights you’ve gained through your role?
The training has widened my vision and understanding and helped me to grow as a person with a deeper capacity for empathy. I have a greater appreciation of the innate wisdom within each of us and of our role in helping others to identify their own strengths and inner resources.
For anyone who is considering joining the group, that has lost a loved one to suicide, what can they expect when they participate? What will happen during the group session? What message would you like to give someone reading this?
They can expect to be welcomed into a non-judgemental space of understanding and acceptance where they can share their pain if or when they feel comfortable, but with no pressure or coercion to do so. This space of understanding and acceptance is deepened by the shared experience of pain, confusion and suffering of others who have lost a loved one to suicide.
I would say to someone reading this that being with others who know the pain of losing a loved one to suicide and who can share memories and tears can be an immense support.