Suicide grief support

Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon Crisis Line Co-ordinator Paula Guidi and suicide grief support group participant Jeff Teale.

A support group for people who have lost a loved one to suicide made a big difference to Vernon resident Jeff Teale, who lost his son Dallas last year.

“I needed help to understand and cope with the extreme grief and trauma that I felt about losing my son,” said Teale.

“As I struggled through the pain, it was comforting to receive support from others who have suffered the same loss.”

Teale took part in the Canadian Mental Health Association’s eight-week Suicide Grief Support Group, which will begin another session Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at The People Place, 3402 – 27 Ave.

Teale said attending the sessions helped him gain knowledge and strategies to cope with losing his son to suicide.

“It’s OK to ask for help when you are feeling alone or troubled. You are important and not alone; there is always someone to reach out to,” he said.

Grief from losing a loved one to suicide can be complicated and intense.

“After losing someone, everyone needs to be treated with compassion and have their unique experiences respected,” said Julia Payson, executive director for CMHA Vernon.

“The tragedy of losing someone to suicide brings unimaginable pain, but when we listen, share and provide support, we build resilience and strength in our community,” she said.

The support group provides an opportunity to discuss and share feelings and experiences related to the loss of a loved one, including the impact of guilt, anger and regret, coping as a family, building a support network, honouring the memory of a loved one, and coping with birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

Suicide loss support groups are led by trained facilitators who have received specialized training in suicide grief support.

Pre-registration is required as space is limited.

For more information or to register, contact Paula at 250-542-3114 ext. 236, or email: support@cmhavernon.ca.