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Suicide Bereavement Support Group For Children And Teens Beginning January 2015
Updated December 8, 2014 9:03 AM | Filed under: Health
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(BLOOMINGTON) - The City of Bloomington and Bloomington Meadows Hospital are partnering to provide the community with a monthly, ongoing support group for grieving children and teens who have been affected by suicide.

It will be facilitated by Nancy Woolery, Health Projects Manager for the City of Bloomington, and Peter Link, Licensed Clinical Social Worker for Bloomington Meadows Hospital. The monthly support group will begin in January 2015.

Currently, Monroe County only has a support group of this type for adults. Seeing the necessity of a group for younger individuals as well, Woolery and Link attended a two-day facilitator training in Indianapolis for Suicide Bereavement Support Groups for Children and Teens. The training program was sponsored by the American Foundation on Suicide Prevention and designed for adults who are interested in learning the skills to create and facilitate a peer support group for children and teens ages 5 - 18.

"This was a very important training and enlightened both Nancy and I of the importance of suicide support for children and teens in our community," stated Link.

The grief support group will provide strategies to deal with the impact of suicide, trauma and violent death on children, teens and their families, and crisis response. It will also serve as a safe place for participants to tell their stories about the suicide death that affected them to peers who understand and can share their experiences. Through the group, children and teens can feel that they are not alone, and know that there are others who are in similar situations. Children and teens often do not know anyone who has experienced a death of any cause, let alone a suicide death, and because of the stigma surrounding suicide, they often do not have a place or anyone with whom to share their grief.

"Ongoing" grief support groups allow for vast, individual differences in children and teens and provide them with the ability to determine their own timing, agenda and process for expressing grief. As opposed to a therapy group, this self-run support group offers children and teens a different outlet for coping with their experience. Members may participate for as long as they need the group.

The adult group mentioned previously, called "Survivors of Suicide", is facilitated by Ron Masters, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Bloomington and Columbus, Indiana. The adult meetings are held at the Monroe County Public Library on the fourth Sunday of each month from 1:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.

There are no fees to attend either support group. The support group for grieving children and teens also will need volunteers to assist the facilitators during the meetings.

For more information, please contact Health Projects Manager and Co-Chair for the Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition Nancy Woolery at (812) 349-3851.

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