In my April column, titled Working with Parents Whose Children Have Died, I promised that my next piece would identify both local and national support resources for individuals who have experienced loss due to death. What follows is a list of organizations that have helped numerous individuals navigate grief due to all types of loss. Though this list is certainly not all-inclusive of all available resources, it should serve as a good start
• Bereaved Parents of the USA (https://bereavedparentsusa.org/)
Is a national non-profit self-help group that offers support, understanding, compassion and hope especially to the newly bereaved be they bereaved parents, grandparents or siblings.
• The Compassionate Friends (https://www.compassionatefriends.org/)
The Compassionate Friends is a national nonprofit, self-help support organization that offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings. There is no religious affiliation and there are no membership dues or fees.
• The Compassionate Friends of the Mohawk Valley (www.tcfmohawkvalley.org)
The Compassionate Friends of Mohawk Valley was established in June of 2010 to provide a safe environment to actively help families towards the positive resolution of their grief following the death of a child. There are two support group meetings per month, in Stittville and Utica.
• Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc.
Our local Hospice in New Hartford, New York has a variety of bereavement services, free to the community, for both children and adults. Their schedule may be found here: https://www.hospicecareinc.org/services/bereavement-services/
• Grief Net (https://www.griefnet.org/)
GriefNet.org is an Internet community of persons dealing with grief, death and major loss. They have both children and adult online support groups.
• The Grief Toolbox (https://thegrieftoolbox.com/)
The Grief Toolbox is an ambitious project. Its goal is to be an all-encompassing place for grief tools: a singular area where a person can find all the resources (e.g. articles, DVD’s) they need to help them with that grief that neither time nor money can solve.
• Open to Hope Foundation (https://www.opentohope.com/)
Open to Hope is an online resource center dedicated to helping people find hope again after loss. We bring together grief experts as well as ordinary people who have experienced a loss in their lives. We share our stories so that others can find ways to cope and hope through articles, podcasts, and videos.
• Pet Loss Support Groups (https://www.petloss.com/)
Welcome to Petloss.com, a gentle and compassionate website for pet lovers who are grieving over the death of a pet or an ill pet. Here you will find personal support, thoughtful advice, The Monday Pet Loss Candle Ceremony, Tribute Pages, healing poetry like Rainbow Bridge & much more.
• The Sibling Connection (https://www.counselingstlouis.net/)
This site has been created as a resource for anyone who has lost a sister or brother. The Sibling Connection is a not-for-profit organization, based in St. Louis, Missouri. Our vision is that bereaved siblings will receive the support they need. Our mission is to provide resources to grieving siblings through counseling, the Sibling Connection website, education, research, writing, and to raise public awareness about the profound impact of sibling loss.
• Widow Net (https://www.widownet.org/)
This is the first online information and self-help resource for, and by, widows and widowers. Topics covered include grief, bereavement, recovery, and other information helpful to people, of all ages, religious backgrounds and sexual orientations, who have suffered the death of a spouse or life partner
Individuals, who are looking specifically for support groups to help them work through grief, should keep these things in mind:
• Find a support group whose members will understand your own unique pain and support your ongoing connection to your loved one.
• Go to at least three support group attendance meetings before you decide whether or not the group is a good fit for you.
• If you can’t get to a particular support group meeting because of transportation or other reasons check to see if online bereavement support groups are available. The Compassionate Friends is one organization that offers these services. Facebook also has a variety of closed groups that support bereaved individuals who have experienced all kinds of loss.
Dave Roberts, LMSW is a retired addiction professional and an adjunct professor of psychology at Utica College. He is a HuffPost contributor and a speaker on grief and loss locally and nationally. Dave is also the chapter leader for The Compassionate Friends of the Mohawk Valley. Dave may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org