Frequently Asked Questions
What happens at a support meeting?
When you arrive, you will be greeted by our facilitator(s). You will sit in a circle so that everyone can see each other. Trained facilitators lead the group discussion. Generally, each person will “check-in” at the beginning of group, the middle part of the group is for sharing and/or education and the end of the group has a closing activity. During the meeting some members cry, remain silent, listen, talk, laugh, or hug. The meeting belongs to the group members and the facilitators provide a safe place for the members to grieve and share their stories and their pain.
Do I need to register for the support group? Does it cost anything to attend?
No registration is needed but you are always welcome to contact the group leader to ask questions or alert them that you will be attending. This allows them to get a sense of how many people will be present. You are welcome to come whenever you feel up to it.
There is never a charge to attend a Suicide Bereavement Support meeting. SBSNW is a nonprofit organization and all funds are raised through donations and grants. Please do not feel obligated. Donations are used to further our mission and continue providing our free services. If you wish to donate, your contribution is tax deductible.
How do I know when it’s the right time to attend a support group?
No one can say with certainty when is the right time to attend a support group. Sometimes people come shortly after the death, while other times they wait a lot longer. Some people who attend shortly after the death may decide not to come back until they’re more ready. We encourage you to listen to how you feel and honor your intuition. It’s always okay to give the group a try. And if it does not feel right, it’s okay to try at some other time or not come back at all.
My loved one died a number of years ago. Is it too late to come now?
It's never too late. We all grieve differently. Many don’t feel the need for a support group until years after the suicide occurred. It’s all right to come whenever you are ready, whether it’s soon after the death, months later, or years later.
Can I attend if the suicide was a distant relative, friend, co-worker or casual acquaintance?
Yes, absolutely! The fact that you are considering getting support for yourself means that this death has had an impact on you. We are here to support you and our facilitators are trained to help.
If I go to a meeting, will I have to talk?
No one is required to talk at any meeting. We understand how difficult that can be when we are grieving. Listening is a powerful tool as well. We each grieve in our own way. But consider that sharing your experiences may help someone else in the group.
How long do people come to meetings?
People attend meetings as long as it is helpful for them. Some attend just a few meetings while others come for years. We recommend that you attend at least three meetings to start. The first meeting often stirs up a lot of emotions and you may walk away from the meeting feeling like you do not want to go through the pain. However, the second meeting will often be one where you begin to realize the power in sharing your story and the healing benefits of allowing yourself to feel your emotions. The third meeting is often the deciding point; you will have a good sense of whether a support group is right for you at this time, or not. As always, you may discuss things with the group facilitator or you may call (503)-200-0382.
My spouse won’t come with me. Can I come alone?
Yes. We all grieve differently and your spouse or significant other may not be ready to take part just yet or may find other ways to grieve. Support groups are not for everyone.
Can I bring a friend with me for support?
Of course you can bring a friend, but we ask that they, as well as all members, respect each other’s privacy. It is important for us to be able to share freely within our group and be sure confidences will be respected.
How old should you be to attend?
We serve men and women 18 years of age and older. Young persons 14 – 17 may attend if accompanied by an adult.
Is Suicide Bereavement Support a religious based organization?
Even though several of our groups are held in religious institutions, Suicide Bereavement Support, Inc. has no religious affiliation. Your beliefs and values belong to you and our group guidelines support that we respect one another and withhold judgments.
How can I donate? Is my donation tax deductible?
By clicking the Donate button on the main page or by mailing to SBSNW at PO Box 2525, Portland OR 97208, and yes it is tax deductible, and thank you!