Support group Faq's

How big are the groups?

Most have between 8-10 people, never more than 12.   

 

Are they “drop-in” or “closed” groups? 

They’re “closed,” which means the same group of people stay together for the ten-session cycle, creating the opportunity for a deep, rich experience and a strong sense of connection and community. Members often develop friendships through the group and stay in touch outside of meetings.

 

Who facilitates the meetings?

Every group is facilitated by a member of the Coping After Suicide® Support Group Facilitator Corps, a selective group of highly skilled professionals who are all survivors of suicide loss themselves, with decades of facilitation and training experience and a deep wealth of knowledge about suicide bereavement. 

 

Is there a curriculum?

The facilitator always has a structure and topics in mind for each meeting and sometimes there will be journaling or other exercises to do in between meetings, but it’s not like taking a course, there isn’t a “curriculum” per se.

 

My loss is very new – do I have to wait before joining a group? 

Most people tend to join between about two months and four years from their loss, but we’ve had people join within a couple of weeks and others join when it’s been a decade or more. 

 

Why is an intake conversation required before registering?

Sharing personal, vulnerable thoughts and feelings in a group setting can feel challenging. We want to make a personal connection with you, answer any questions you might have, and explore whether the timing feels right for you to share your experience and, importantly, be present to other people sharing theirs. Because it’s a closed group, we do our best to make sure the fit feels right all around. 

 

How should I decide which group to register for?

Trust your gut. Some people lean towards a group based on relationship loss (like Adults Who’ve Lost a Parent). Others want to be with their demographic (like Twentysomethings or Men). Still others appreciate the powerful benefit of a wide range of perspectives (like the mothers in the Wednesday Group who listen intently to what bereaved siblings have to say because it helps them relate to their own surviving children). 

 

Even when everyone in the group shares certain things in common, there will be always a diversity of individual experiences. It’s understandable to want to seek comfort in the familiar, but our experience has been that often the most profound support ends up coming from the most unexpected source. Once you’ve decided which group feels right, just email that group’s facilitator to set up a brief intake conversation.

 

Can I try a meeting and then decide if I want to do the whole cycle?

Coping After Suicide® groups are so powerful because everyone is “all-in” for the same ten-session commitment. Opening up about something as painful as losing someone to suicide isn’t easy, especially at first. Knowing that everyone in the group is in the same situation and will all be back next time is critical to creating mutual support and trust. 

 

What if I join one group and then decide I’d rather try a different one?

It’s not possible to “mix and match” between meetings within a cycle, but you can absolutely try a different group for the next cycle.

 

I can’t make the first meeting of the cycle - can I still join?

As long as you’re able to start by the second meeting of the cycle, it’s absolutely fine. To preserve the continuity inherent in closed groups, after the second meeting groups don’t take in new members. If scheduling is a challenge for you right now, it’s best to just wait until the next cycle. 

 

What if I have to miss a meeting?

No worries. While the goal is for everyone to attend every meeting in the cycle, we realize that life can get life-y, and sometimes you need to miss a meeting (or two). Just please understand that the registration fee can’t be prorated or partially refunded.

 

Can more than one family member be in the same group? 

Up to two members of the same family can be in a group together but consider how helpful it can be for people who are all grieving the same loss to each have their own separate, safe space to share their thoughts and feelings. 

 

Will the things I share in the meetings be kept confidential? 

In order for the group to feel emotionally safe, everyone needs to trust that what they share will be kept confidential and that everyone will be respectful of one another’s privacy. 

 

Do you take insurance?

Because Coping After Suicide® groups aren’t therapy groups, we’re not able to take insurance and the registration fee won’t be covered by health insurance (even as an out-of-network benefit). But many group members have successfully submitted for reimbursement through their FSA or HSA accounts.

 

If they’re not therapy groups, why aren’t they free? 

Coping After Suicide® support groups are professionally facilitated, so members receive not only the comfort of peer support, but also a wide variety of resources and strategies for coping with this uniquely complicated and painful loss, including evidence-informed psychoeducation about suicide and grief theory. We understand that cost may be an issue for some people, and there are many other excellent resources for coping with suicide loss that are free of charge.

 

What happens at end of the 10-session cycle? 

Typically, about 75-80% of group members sign up for a subsequent cycle (some do three or four cycles), which speaks to just how meaningful and valuable they’ve found their experience to be. Current members are given access to early VIP registration and a discounted registration fee for the next cycle. 

 

Some members decide to press pause, take a cycle or two off, and then rejoin down the road. Others find they’ve gotten what they needed or realize that the group just isn’t for them. No matter what, there is always room to warmly welcome new members at the beginning of each cycle. 

 

I’m the survivor of a suicide attempt, can I join? 

Coping After Suicide® groups are for those who are grieving the loss of someone to suicide. If you’re looking for support after a suicide attempt (or because you have a friend or family member who is suicidal or has made a suicide attempt), we recommend that you go to https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Support-Groups or https://www.dbsalliance.org/support/chapters-and-support-groups/find-a-support-group/ and wish you all the best in your healing.

Contact Me

JOANNE L. HARPEL, PRESIDENT 

Coping After Suicide

45 w 54th street, suite 3c

New York, NY 10019

joanneharpel@icloud.com

917.584.1200

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Coping After Suicide, LLC (and Joanne L. Harpel, MPhil., JD, President) serve solely as a suicide bereavement and postvention advisor/coach and are not licensed mental health professionals. Advice provided is not intended to constitute therapy or mental health counseling, and shall not be so construed.  Responsibility for seeking psychological counseling and/or medical advice rests solely with the user. Coping After Suicide, LLC and Joanne L. Harpel, President, are not governed by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).  

 

If at any time you are in crisis and/or feeling suicidal call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at  800-273-TALK or 911, text “HELP” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go the nearest emergency room.

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