with Marcia Epstein, LMSW
Lawrence, Kansas, USA
If you read all this and believe I may be a right person to work with, please see the info about how to start that possibility at Support Services.
Support for People Living With Suicide Grief
Support Group: Healing After Suicide Loss
Personal Support for Individuals or Groups of Friends-Family
THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT SUICIDE GRIEF:
- Grief is LOVE.
- Each very close person had a unique relationship with the person who died, and has their own way of grieving. Try not to judge yourself or each other.
- Suicide grief has many facets, and represents the loss of this person in life, the loss of the person you were before this death, and the loss of the future that you had expected.
- There are no stages, timelines, or closure to grief. There is healing, though.
- Whatever you are feeling, thinking, doing, … as long as you’re staying safe, it’s ok.
- Feelings are real and true. Thoughts are not necessarily true.
- Suicide is not someone else’s fault. However, it is so common to feel guilty, and to sometimes feel blamed by others.
- You deserve to take really good care. As part of that, each day do something good just for you.
- You also deserve support from people who “get” you; and you have the right to limit your exposure to those who are not helpful to you.
- You have the right to decide how much you do or do not share with others.
- Few of us get to know the whole story of the why’s of our loved one’s death; and still we eventually are ready to stop asking why.
- Although we are changed by our experiences of losing important people in our lives to suicide, we are NOT less than. We are different, and those differences change through our learning to live well even carrying our grief and our love for our people. Over time, we likely recognize that we have become more compassionate, less bothered by the “small stuff”; that we are better people than before. And still, we are sad for the loss that sparked those changes.
- Remember and hold tight to what you did RIGHT!
Support for Individuals or Groups With Suicide Grief
Marcia Epstein, LMSW meets with teens, adults, families, or groups seeking support or information about suicide grief. Please see information at Support Services
Healing After Suicide Loss support group
Meets every other Tuesday evening from 6:30 – 8:15pm, on Zoom or in-person
Based in Lawrence, KS
Serving the Douglas County, KS & nearby area since 1990’s
This group is for any adult (college-aged or above) who is living with grief after the suicide death of a friend, partner/spouse, family member, or other person who is important to you. New members are always welcome, no matter how recent, or long ago, the loss. Before someone attends a first meeting, new members have a conversation with Marcia Epstein, to help determine whether this group is likely to provide what they are seeking. We can’t take away the pain of your loss, but we can help you survive, and even thrive. Sharing and listening with others who’ve walked in similar shoes can truly make a difference.
Members give and receive support and understanding about living with suicide grief. What is shared by participants remains confidential to those people. We share stories and mementos of our loved ones in life. We cry and we laugh. We recognize that our suicide grief is a layer in everything we experience. Some of our sharing is about happy news, as well as challenges in “growing our lives” while holding our suicide grief in our hearts. For the safety of all group members, any concern about imminent danger to self or others, will prompt one-on-one discussion and safety planning with Marcia.
With an estimate of 135 people affected by each person’s death to suicide, the number of people affected is huge, and the pain from these losses is huge. Sadly, in our country the number of people dying by suicide is very high. The USA has been experiencing higher and higher rates of suicide, with slight decreases in 2019-2020. However 2020 included increases of suicide in people of color. Other countries, even those with ready access to firearms, have not experienced similar increases.
Although no fee is required to participate in this support group, donations are greatly appreciated.
For additional info about our group in Lawrence, Kansas, including meeting dates and location, please contact Marcia Epstein, LMSW by text or voicemail to 785.331.6440, or email to M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com
IN ADDITION TO SUPPORT MEETINGS:
~ Group emails about our upcoming meetings, special events for people living with suicide grief, articles, and other helpful info. Email M.Epstein.LMSW@gmail.com be added to this mailing list.
~ Books about suicide bereavement for adults and for children are available for loan.
~ Annual (since 2007) Freedom of Expression retreat for people living with suicide grief. We retreat to The Light Center, south and west of Lawrence, Kansas for some structured and unstructured time in that peaceful, rural setting, away from technology.
~ Additional retreats and workshops for people living with suicide grief, and for people living with grief for beloved pets and people who died by any cause: Grief IS Love, Messages: After Life Communication, and other.
~ Annual (since 2014) Words Save Lives performance event in Lawrence, KS on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10
~ Annual International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day (ISOSLD) Community Workshop in Douglas County, KS includes group discussion, art activities, and information from the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention. ISOSLD is always in November on the Saturday before American Thanksgiving.
SOME SUPPORTS FOR LIVING WITH SUICIDE GRIEF:
For some info about Grief from all causes, and some supports for living with that Grief:
- Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors online groups & info https://allianceofhope.org/
- Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors articles about “Supporting Children and Teens After A Suicide Death” https://allianceofhope.org/find-support/children-teens/supporting-children-and-teens-after-a-suicide-death/
- From the American Association of Suicidology, online handout “Resources for Suicide Loss Survivors”, https://suicidology.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Resources-for-Survivors-of-Suicide.pdf
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website area https://afsp.org/ive-lost-someone
- For Children, many helpful resources from The Dougy Center, the national center for grieving families and children https://www.dougy.org/
The “suicide grief of children” part of their website: https://www.dougy.org/resources/cause-of-death/suicide
- Coalition of Clinician Survivors (CCS) for mental health providers with suicide grief from their professional and/or personal lives. In 2022, CCS replaced the American Association of Suicidology Clinician Survivor Task Force.
- The Emotionally Naked blog of Anne Moss https://annemoss.com/
- Friends for Survival Sacramento, CA based suicide bereavement support group with many online support groups and great resources https://friendsforsurvival.org/
- Lemon Aid Kansas, financial assistance for recent survivors of suicide loss, a program of Six Feet Over based in Detroit, MI and funded by a grant from KDADS, Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services
- The blogs at www.OurSideOfSuicide.com
- From Refuge in Grief, the book It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine (even though it’s not only about suicide grief) https://www.refugeingrief.com/book/
- Responding to Grief, Trauma, and Distress After A Suicide: U.S. National Guidelines https://sprc.org/sites/default/files/migrate/library/RespondingAfterSuicideNationalGuidelines.pdf
- The Kansas City area support network SASS-MoKan, Suicide Awareness Survivor Support: Missouri and Kansas firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.sass-mokan.com/
- Our Lawrence, KS based support group has Facebook “private group” Thriving While Living With Suicide for people who are part of that group.
- The Topeka area support group Topeka HeALS, Healing After Loss To Suicide Topeka.Heals@gmail.com https://www.facebook.com/HEALsTopekaArea/
Our Lawrence, KS based support group has a lending library of books about suicide grief. You are welcome to ask for suggestions, or if you’re in the Lawrence, KS area, to arrange to borrow books. Two of the books particularly helpful to people whose spouse/partner died by suicide are No Time To Say Goodbye by Carla Fine and Figuring Shit Out by Amy Biancolli. Two of the books particularly helpful to people with children who died by suicide are My Son, My Son, by Iris Bolton and I Keep Trying To Catch His Eye by Ivan Maisel. My Son, My Son was the first book specifically addressing suicide grief.
Additional resources for and about survivors of suicide loss:
Although I am not able to keep this information constantly updated, some of the local and national resources at the above link may be helpful to you.
In the USA, Free, 24/7 Support for You or Someone Else
CRISIS TEXT LINE: text START to 741-741
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: 800-799-7233, https://www.thehotline.org/
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formerly National Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 988 or 800.273.8255
RAINN, Rape Abuse Incest National Network, 800-656-HOPE (4673), https://www.rainn.org/
TRANS LIFELINE: staffed by trans and nonbinary people, for trans and nonbinary people,
https://TransLifeline.org , 877-565-8860
THE TREVOR PROJECT: for LGBTQ+ teen and young adults, hotline plus chat and text options
included on the website https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ 866-488-7386
VETERANS CRISIS LINE: hotline plus chat and text options included on the website
VeteransCrisisLine.net , 800-273-8255 Option 1 (soon to be through 988)
Plus, although not 24/7, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Helpline,
800-950-NAMI (6264) or email@example.com