Suicide Bereavement Support
From 2006 to 2013, Vancouver Island Crisis Society facilitated a monthly suicide bereavement support group at our conference room in Nanaimo. We were always cognizant of communities that did not have access to these kinds of supports, even as we offered our Crisis Services (Line, Chat, and Text) throughout Vancouver Island. We hoped that we could begin to support those who dealt with the complexity suicide bereavement brings.
Vancouver Island Crisis Society now offers ISLAND-WIDE Suicide Bereavement Support!
Academic literature tells us that suicide loss survivors perceive a lack of empathy and judgmental attitude from those not grieving a suicide death (Cyinar, 2005; Jordan 2001, Mitchell et al., 2007). Consequently, they report feeling their natural relationships and environment are no longer safe places for them to share their confusing and daunting grief reactions. It may be that those in one’s social network may wish to provide support but are ill-equipped emotionally or are too uncomfortable to do so (Jordan, 2001; Kovac & Range, 2000).
Our Suicide Bereavement Support Group meets on the first Wednesday of every month via the Zoom platform.
The purpose of our support group is to create a safe space once a month for sharing feelings of loss and grief with others who have an understanding of what it is to survive a suicide loss. We are also here to help one another navigate new situations and complicated questions we’ve never been confronted with, such as having to grocery shop at midnight or prepare ourselves for particularly difficult times like holidays or anniversaries, as well as to sort through the kinds of complicated emotions that often accompany suicide bereavement.
Longer-term help is beneficial to the healing process
The Crisis Society believes that a longer-term therapeutic alliance between a qualified and experienced bereavement support person and someone bereaved by suicide has the potential to be an integral part of that person’s healing journey and their overall wellness and resilience. This is where individual support sessions come in. For people in need of more than a monthly bereavement group meeting, individual sessions with one of our suicide bereavement support staff over the phone, via Zoom, or in person, can be arranged. These are available to provide an additional level of support for those who are struggling with the intricate details of how their loved one died.
"Predetermined, time limited therapy and quick fixes are not likely to be useful to individuals experiencing complicated grief reactions, who often require longer-term assistance in addressing the overwhelming feelings of hopelessness" (Cutcliffe, 2006; Jordan & McMenamy, 20040). "The survivor’s grieving process can take as long as three to four years before experiencing some feeling of resolution" (Murphy 2000).
A Flexible, Individual Approach
As highlighted by Brown et al, 2007, "suicide bereavement support services need to be flexible in how they respond to the unique needs of survivors." This is what Vancouver Island Crisis Society provides: flexible, individualized, longer-term support through an online monthly suicide bereavement support group powered by Zoom, individual support sessions, and educational programs.
To learn more about our Suicide Bereavement Support, please call 1-877-753-2495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cutcliffe, J.R. (2006). The principles and processes of inspiring hope in bereavement counselling: A modified grounded theory study — part two. Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 13, 604-610.
- Cvinar JG. (2005). Do suicide survivors suffer social stigma: A review of the literature. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 41(1), 14-21.
- Jordan, J.R. (2001). Is suicide bereavement different? A reassessment of the literature. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 31(1), 91-102.
- Jordan, J.R. & McMenamy, J. (2004). Interventions for suicide survivors: A review of the literature. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 34(4), 337-349.
- Murphy, S.A. (2000). The use of research findings in bereavement programs: A case study. Death Studies, 24(7), 585-602.
Shaw Spotlight Up Front interview from December 2020 about our Suicide Bereavement Support Services