Support group helps those grieving a loss to suicide

Sat, 06/22/2019 - 8:45am

LincolnHealth’s Coulombe Center for Health Improvement has partnered with a local therapist to provide support for those who have lost individuals to suicide. Lisa Beth Hammer, MTS, LCSW recently completed a six-week suicide support group for those who have lost a child to suicide. Ten parents were active participants in the group.

Over the course of the year, four six-week suicide loss groups will be offered in Lincoln County, with two of those designed specifically for parents who have lost a child to suicide. The groups are offered free of charge, thanks to funding from the Coulombe Center for Health Improvement.

“The loss of a loved one by suicide causes a grief experience that is unique, consuming and often long-term,’’ said Hammer, who started facilitation training at the Portland Center for Grieving Children in 2015 and has been leading grief support across the state since. “When a parent experiences the loss of a child to suicide, the complexity and intensity of grief is compounded and often results in profound suffering.”

“Parents long for a place where they can explore their feelings and address their isolation and uncertainty,’’ she said. “Whether you have survived the loss of a child to suicide recently or years ago, this support group is a place where you will find understanding and hope, strength and comfort and a sense of community.”

The support group was initiated by the Hope & Resiliency Coalition, a group of concerned and committed community members who gather regularly out of concern for those struggling with hopelessness, mental health challenges and suicide loss. Since forming in 2016, regular Survivors of Suicide support groups have been offered three times a year in the six-week session format. Hammer, the Coulombe Center and MaineHealth are committed to continuing to offer these groups to fill the need in the community.

A group designed for anyone who has suffered a loss to suicide will begin on July 11 and end Aug. 15. As is the case for all groups, it is a six-week group and pre-registration is required. The facilitator does ask that those who are interested in joining the group make an effort to attend all six meetings in this session. There is no cost to attend.

To register, or for more information, please call Hammer at 978-853-1950.