These are the words of someone who participated in one of our face-to-face support groups. He was sharing his reasons on why he joined one of our Facing the Future groups.
For him, and many others, the crucial thing offered to those bereaved by suicide by these support groups is that it's a safe space to talk. Suicide isn't a word that can be spoken freely: it scares people, it makes them feel awkward, it makes them angry, it's confusing. Because of all the ways the word 'suicide' can make others feel, there is a reluctance to say it. Facing the Future was created specifically for people bereaved by suicide which means that all of the group members have been bereaved in the same way. This offers you the chance to speak openly and without reservation as you know that you're sharing your grief with people who understand.
The face-to-face support of Facing the Future is particularly helpful for those experiencing a bereavement by suicide.
This is because our face-to-face support:
Removes the loneliness.
Again, in the words of our former group member, "Suicide bereavement is intensely isolating". There's a sense that you're alone in what you're going through but it doesn't need to be this way: "Being with others bereaved by suicide, helped me see that my bereavement was survivable."
Plays a role in suicide prevention.
"Suicide ruptured my world. Out of the blue, the balance of life & not life changed. It became impossible not to think about suicide." Seeking your support and getting help to find your way forward to a new normal is, in our experience, a crucial way of coping.
Provides the continuity of a closed group.
Joining a Facing the Future group means that you're signing up for 6 sessions that you'll all attend so you'll be able to share your story once and then build on that week after week, with the same people offering you the chance to work through things in more depth than when you're meeting new people each week. "Learning to be compassionate with others taught me to be compassionate to myself"
Offers a small group.
"Telling your story, again and again, is like giving away painful treasures: it's intimate, it's painful". What we talk about in the groups can be so intensely private and personal, that closer groups help make this feel possible. It also ensures that there is plenty of time for you to share what you need to.
Marks the start of enduring friendships.
We tend to find that once the formal support of our groups end, the friendships (for those who choose that) continue long afterwards: "There is a connection that comes from shared trauma. It creates a safe space in which people will form those connections."
What is Facing the Future?
Facing the Future has been created in partnership Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Care and is being run locally within Coventry & Warwickshire by the local branches based on Earlsdon. There are groups running constantly in the local area (see here for the dates of our next group) for anyone aged over 18 who has been bereaved for more than 3 months. Each group will have between 6 and 8 participants and will last 6 weeks with each session lasting 90 minutes. At each meeting, there will be both a Samaritan and Cruse facilitator present to create a safe space for you to share your experiences.