Benefits of a bereavement support group
What is a bereavement support group?
Bereavement support groups come in various forms – from formal talking circles to relaxed befriending groups, from small gatherings to larger factions.
Whatever form they take, such groups are an opportunity to allow grieving people to talk about their loss and feelings openly with others that understand and, by providing peer support and empathy, groups help attendees to feel less alone in what they are going through. Some also have trained facilitators who can offer additional support to those who need it.
If you’re looking for support, it might be worth trying a couple of groups to see which one is the best fit for you. Everyone’s needs are different so different group layouts will appeal to different individuals.
What are the benefits of a bereavement support group?
Whilst everyone takes something slightly different from bereavement support groups, the most common benefits include:
- A chance to be heard: Commonly in grief, it can be hard to talk to those closest to us for fear of upsetting them or having them worry about us. Or sometimes we just don’t have anyone we can talk to about how we’re feeling. Bereavement support groups offer the chance to be listened to which helps to make sense of all that has happened.
- They validate our feelings: Talking about our feelings with others who understand where we’re coming from validates our feelings, making us feel less alone with them and helping us to heal.
- They help fight loneliness: Being surrounded by people doesn’t guarantee that you won’t feel lonely. You’re missing that one specific relationship and nothing can fill that gap. However, talking to people who are going through something similar and being understood can help you feel less alone in your grief journey.
- A chance to meet new people: It’s common that friendships can change after a significant loss. People often find that some of their friends tend to withdraw and distance themselves if they are uncomfortable around your hurt. Bereavement support groups are a good chance to meet new people who won’t be afraid of your emotions, because they have them too. They can relate to your new situation and you can lean on each other for support. Many of the attendees of our Dandelions bereavement support groups contact each other between group meetings, some have even been on holiday together.
- Gives a purpose for the day: It can be hard to stay motivated at times when grieving a loved one. It can feel like our purpose has disappeared and that no one would notice if we just stayed in bed and hid from the day (which is fine to do upon occasion). Attending a bereavement support group is a personal mission for the day. It’s something to get up and moving for, as well as bringing you the benefits listed above.
- They often have shorter waiting lists and are cheap to attend: Groups can accommodate more people at a time so often have short or no waiting lists. They also tend to be quite flexible – giving you the freedom to just turn up rather than having to book and are often free or only a few pounds to attend. This makes them a useful interim method of support if you’re on a waiting list for 1:1 formal counselling.
Grief is a personal experience so, what works for one person, might be unhelpful for another. The best advice we can give is to try a group or two and see how you feel about them. If they aren’t for you, it’s worth looking into alternative methods of support and finding something that suits you best.
If you’d like any information on the bereavement support options available through Dandelions, please contact Fay Bloor on 01332 345268 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting https://www.wathalls.co.uk/bereavement-support/