Benefits of Support Groups

How Support Groups Can Be Beneficial

Always remember that your own support system may be extremely helpful during a time of grief and mourning. Family members, friends, neighbors, members of a church or other faith-based organization, and participants ofcommunity groups who already know you may want very much to help in any way they can.

This is a time to take care of yourself, to ask for what you need and sometimes insist upon what you need.

We wish you love, hope and peace during this most difficult journey.

How Our Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOS Loss) Group Helps
Mental Health America of Greenville County's (MHAGC) SOS Loss support group serves anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide, no matter if that loss was yesterday or years ago.

Although support groups are not for everyone, many people find them to be a vital part of their healing process.  The first visit may be difficult. We recommend attending at least three meetings to determine if it is beneficial for you.

There are SOS Loss groups throughout the country, and not all are the same.  Most groups are led by volunteer survivors and the diversity of group members can vary.  If you find that one group does not meet your needs, don't give up--rather, try a different group.  We also recommend that you seek out a therapist who can assist you in this difficult time.  The bottom line is to keep reaching out until you find something that is helpful for you.

If you live within the Greenville area, contact CRISISline 24/7 at 864-271-8888 for SOS Loss group information and/or to identify a therapist that may be a good fit for you. If you are located outside the Greenville area, call the American Association of Suicidology at 202-237-2280 or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) at 888-333-2377 for a support group near you.

For online support, visit the AFSP website which includes a nation-wide list of support groups.  Alliance of Hope also offers an online community forum. 

These groups may help, because:

  • Verbalizing thoughts and emotions helps to connect you with your feelings (no matter how "crazy" those feelings seem).
  • A forum allows you to express your grief and seek direction and support.
  • Grieving persons learn that all of us have resources within for helping ourselves and others.
  • Members have the opportunity to become friends with people who have suffered similar losses. This reverses the tendency toward isolation and provides a sense of belonging and community.
  • It is a relief to learn that we are not going crazy; we are just grieving. These feelings, no matter what they are, are normal. It may be the only place where Loss Survivors feel understood. There, true feelings of anger and/or guilt can be expressed without judgment.
  • It helps to realize that no one is alone in grief.
  • The longer-bereaved Survivors can be models of hope.
  • There is a sense of doing something positive about grief. Grief can't be ignored.
  • This is a place to meet people who truly care about you.

A grieving person's self-esteem can be very low. Studies show that based on a scale of 100, an average person's self-esteem is in the 70s, whereas a grieving person's self-esteem ranks in the teens. Self-esteem is enhanced by being able to help others which happens in support groups. By providing support and suggestions for coping, you receive a sense that you are of value to others. Other people in the group provide assurances that they, too, have faced similar grief experiences and yet  have survived.

Being able to speak to others about problems without encountering rejection reinforces feelings of self-worth. Support groups provide the opportunity to volunteer. Grieving persons feel worthwhile when they realize that even though they are grieving they can help. The process of learning to be of help to another person can develop self-esteem and self-confidence.

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