Support group for suicide survivors can help

October 22nd, 2009    Author: Staff Report    Filed Under: Community

Every 18 minutes someone dies by suicide in this country. About 90 percent of those individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death (most often depression or bipolar disorder). Despite the fact that many suicides are preceded by a traumatic event, like a break up, losing a job, bankruptcy, etc., this is not generally the cause of the suicide.

This event is more like the straw that broke the camel’s back. It is generally the catalyst in a lifetime of emotional distress that contributes to the person’s condition. Much like another individual who contracts an infection as the result of a long battle with cancer and loses the fight, so too is the individual who loses the fight and dies by suicide as the result of a long battle with depression.

Anyone who’s lost someone to suicide knows it is a very long, dark, and difficult journey to follow.

Survivors after suicide (those left behind after a suicide), often have enormous feelings of shame, guilt, and self-blame. Unlike other deaths, there is a stigma that surrounds suicide. Families who lose a loved one to suicide often don't receive the same compassion and acceptance to grieve openly and honestly. The community often doesn't know how to handle such a death and may even blame the family, leaving families to feel even more alone and isolated in their grief and pain.

For so many survivors, a crucial part of their healing process is the support and sense of connection they feel through sharing their grief with other survivors. The most common way this sharing occurs is through survivor support groups. These groups provide a safe place where survivors can share their experiences and receive support from one another. Clermont County's Survivor after Suicide support group meets the first Monday of each month from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board, 1088 Wasserman Way, Suite B, Batavia. For more information on the group contact Liz Atwell at (513) 721-2910, ext. 13, or You may also go to the Mental Health Association's website at to look up this and other survivors' groups in the greater Cincinnati area.
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