Today’s topic for blogging is what is working in your community. I decided to take this opportunity to talk about the SOS (Survivors of Suicide) Support Group that meets monthly in Clarkesville. This group is for people who have lost a loved one to suicide.
Peer-led support groups for survivors are now extensively available across the country. Peer support has been acknowledged as a valuable tool in recovery from mental health and addictions, and research is currently investigating its efficacy in suicide postvention. Unfortunately, suicide touches impacts numerous lives. According to the World Health Organization, nearly one million people die by suicide globally.
Researchers cite that the number of people impacted by a single suicide is between six and ten. A recent study showed approximately 50% expansion in the number of suicide survivor support groups since 1996. Seven percent of the U.S. population reported that someone in their social network had died by suicide within the last year, and just over one percent had lost an immediate or extended family member.
In short, this means that there are a lot of hurting people whose grief is complicated by the suicidal death of someone they love. These groups are a great place to connect with others who have experienced similar loss. Survivors can openly share their thoughts and feelings without fears of being judged or stigmatized, because the others in the group share a similar loss.
Being a group facilitator has allowed me to use the pain of Michael’s suicide to help someone else walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It has helped me to find meaning in his death (God often allows us to go through trials so we can comfort others). If you or someone you know who is 18 or older and has lost someone to suicide a SOS Support Group is a great place to find help. More information is available on the web. For details on the Clarksville group, email firstname.lastname@example.org
This post was written as part of NHBM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J
 Gaffney, M. & Hannigan, B. (2010). Suicide bereavement and coping: A descriptive and interpretive analysis of the coping process. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 526-535.
 Rawlinson, D., Schiff, J., & Barlow, C. (2009). A review of peer support for suicide bereavement as a postvention alternative. Currents: New Scholarship in the Human Services, 8, 1-20.
 Feigelman, B. & Feigelman, W. (2011). Suicide survivor support groups: Comings and goings, part II. Illness, Crisis and Loss, 19, 165-185.
 Kaslov, N., Berry-Mitchell, F., Franklin, K., & Bethea, K. (2009). Postvention for African American families following a loved one’s suicide. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40, 165-171.