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coping after suicide Support Group Guidelines

Please read the following Guidelines carefully, they’re meant to help our meetings feel emotionally safe and meaningful.

  1. Coping After Suicide® peer support groups aren’t therapy groups. They’re professionally facilitated peer support groups, a space to share your experiences openly, honestly, and respectfully.

  2. Our meetings are all about interaction and conversation. Bring your sense of curiosity, ask lots of questions of your fellow group members, be gentle about assuming you know what someone else feels, steer clear of giving advice, and please share the airtime.

  3. While it’s fine to state the method your loved one used to take their life, please be careful to avoid graphic details or visual descriptions that could be upsetting to other group members.

  4. Everyone needs to trust that what they say will be kept confidential. It’s fine to discuss your thoughts and feelings about the group with non- members, just don’t reveal any identifying details.

  5. We communicate via group emails that include everyone’s full names and email addresses (including your parent/guardian if you're under 18). Feel free to reach out and be in touch with group members outside of the meetings. Many deep friendships have started this way.


    • One of the most powerful things about our groups is that people from across the country and around the world come together in small, intimate settings to support one another. Meeting by Zoom makes that possible. Yet unlike most other Zoom meetings in our lives, ours are about vulnerability and sharing sensitive truths, and depend on each of us being fully present and attentive.

    • The single best guiding principle is this: Treat the Zoom meetings as if they were in-person. You couldn’t imagine someone getting up and walking around the room in the middle of an important in-person meeting. Or checking their phone, eating dinner, or talking to someone who wasn’t a group member. Our undivided attention is a gift we give one another.

    • Sit somewhere you’ll have privacy for the full 90-minutes of the meeting and ask family members and roommates to please give you this time uninterrupted. Other people shouldn't be able to see your screen or hear our conversation. 

    • Minimize background noise: use headphones and turn off phones, notifications, and anything that buzzes, chirps, or beeps. Make sure dogs are happily settled so they’re not barking during the meeting.

    • Take yourself off mute to help smooth the flow of the conversation.

    • Everyone needs to have their video on.

    • Please get comfortable and put your phone, tablet, or computer on a table (not in your hand or your lap). We’ve all been on Zoom when people are constantly shifting position, walking from room to room, or in a moving car. Not only is it really distracting it can also make some of us a little seasick 🤢.

  7.  It’s expected and in the best interest of the group that everyone attends all the meetings and is on time. If for some unexpected reason you’re going to be late or you have to miss a meeting, please contact your facilitator directly (add them to your contacts for easy access):

  8. Bear in mind that being in the group can feel uncomfortable or even painful at times, especially in the beginning; you may even feel like you don’t want to come back. Be patient and gentle with yourself and your fellow group members and trust the process.


May you feel seen, heard, and understood. May you find warmth, comfort, support, and understanding. Grieve fully. Heal well.

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