Identify a bereavement support group that provides support
A. Identify a bereavement support group, (agency, therapist, or funeral home) that provides bereavement support.
B. Contact the agency. Ask to speak to the director or person responsible for conducting the group. State who you are and why you are calling.
C. Request an interview for a mutually agreeable time. Ask if you may attend a virtual support meeting.
D. Thank the contact person or interviewee for the interview.
E. Document the virtual visit or interview and include the following information:
1. Name of support group. Include physical and web addresses.
2. Name, title, and contact information for person interviewed.
3. Date of interview (and/or virtual visit).
F. Write up the following information in narrative or numerical format.
1. What population does the group/agency serve?
2. How do attendees or users of the service learn about the group? (Social worker referral, other referral, website, word of mouth, counselor etc.)
3. Describe the structure of group. Is it time limited or open ended? Frequency and duration of meetings (Months, weeks, years)
a. Who may attend?
b. Who leads the group?
c. Who are the predominant attendees?
d. What other persons are allowed or encouraged to attend?
4. What are the membership requirements? Is there a fee for the service? If yes, ask how much and who is responsible for payment.
5. What are some of the issues or barriers the participants/attendees face?
(Access, family support, lack of finances)
6. How does the group address the following emotions/variables?
f. Differences of opinion
7. How does the group propose to deal with grief in the short term and in the long term? What program or referral services are available if the members need or seek additional support or resources?
8. If you were facilitating the group what would you do differently to ensure the group met the members’ needs? Specify how you would improve the effectiveness of the group.
9. How would you respond to someone who says, “Going to the group and listening to everyone’s sad story makes me depressed?”
G. State at least four take away points. What did you learn from this activity?
We most typically spend the time sharing our experiences in our confidential and non-judgmental space, although sometimes we end up just catching up over coffee and cake too (speaking informally with others in a similar position to you can feel hugely relieving). People attending the group tend to share memories and experiences, both happy and difficult, however, there is no rules about having to speak. You are more than welcome to attend and just listen. The only thing we will invite of you is to let us know your name and who you lost.
Our bereavement support groups are different to grief counselling and 1-2-1 therapy given that it is more focused on sharing with others who have experienced bereavement to cancer or Covid-19. Group support can be a really useful addition to any 1-2-1 grief therapy or counselling you may be receiving.
We provide free refreshments at our in-person support groups, and aim to have some delicious snacks to go around. Providing tasty refreshments is a purposeful action on our behalf – we know how difficult it can be to go along to something new and we want you to feel as comfortable as possible. Cake helps!
We also have a growing library in our support groups with a variety of books on bereavement and information leaflets. Most of our books are recommendations from attendees. You are more than welcome to borrow a book or two and bring them back when you have finished them – there is no rush to return them. And if one of our books significantly helps you – please keep it!
After our online support groups we send around a list of useful resources, so you too can benefit from the extra recommendations even if you cannot make it to an in-person support group.