Bereavement Support Groups

 

I felt the group was fantastic for me. It was very hard, but it was great to be with people who were feeling the same things I was feeling.

 

What are bereavement support groups?

Support groups are a way of bringing people together in a safe space to share common life experiences. They provide a forum for participants to communicate in a mutual understanding of shared challenges and problems.

The strength of support groups lie in the connections and understandings that come from shared narratives.

Bereavement support groups provide ongoing help to participants in various ways, including:

  • normalising the grief journey
  • listening and sharing personal experiences
  • creating social networks and reducing feelings of isolation
  • discovering personal strengths and building resilience
  • providing relevant information.

Who can join?

These groups are for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one, whether that loved one be a child, a young person, parent, sibling, a close relative, friend, neighbour, or work colleague. ACGB offer groups for different ages, and therefore cater to meet the varying needs of adults, children and young people. There is also a group for people who have lost pets as companions.

When and where do the groups meet?

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) runs bereavement support groups in various locations in and around metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

What is the format of the groups?

Groups can be either open, ongoing groups (where new participants can join at any time), or they can take the form of a closed group, in which the group runs for a set number of weeks with the same participants present every week. Groups will usually consist of up to 12 people who meet together regularly to talk over their experiences. Experienced facilitators will be present to assist the group. The groups are non-religious and non-denominational.

Groups currently running

Coffee & Chat Support Group

This is an open support group in a relaxed setting that caters for adults who have experienced any form of bereavement. The group meets each month, Monday mornings, at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery Care and Wellness Centre.

Bereaved Partners

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement offer a range of support groups for men and women who are bereaved due to the death of a partner.

Groups include:

  • Younger Bereaved Partners (Box Hill - open and closed groups)
  • Bereaved Partners (Ferntree Gully)
  • Widows and Widowers (Croydon)

Children

Kids Grieve Too (KG2) is a support group designed to meet the special needs of bereaved children. A caring and supportive environment is provided to assist children to explore and express their bereavement journey and to develop the resilience and resources they need to manage their bereavement experience. KG2 currently operates in Box Hill only.

Death of a Parent

ACGB has a support group for adults grieving the death of a parent. The group offers participants an opportunity to find that special understanding that comes from talking to people who have had a similar experience. The group will re-commence mid 2017.

For Men

ACGB runs a support group designed to meet the specific needs of bereaved men. Bereavement @ the Bar meets in the relaxed atmosphere of a pub, but no alcohol is consumed during the group.

"We meet on the 4th Monday each month. The aim is to enable men to feel a freedom to grieve and to be open with emotions. It is fairly informal gathering, we start by introducing any new attendee, and start with usually soft drinks and general chit chat.  

Then we order dinner, with more conversation covering various subjects, sharing thoughts and experiences and supporting each other. The men that attend have experienced Grief, and have something to offer other men who have lost loved ones.

It may take a few meetings to get to the under-lying grief that he may be struggling with. The members do not shy away from the painful reality, they offer hope and inspiration to one another, taking small steps until his silence is broken, and he is able to deal with his grief. "

Pet Loss

A companion animal is any animal that you have a close bond with such as a cat, dog or a bird. When a loved pet dies, it can leave you feeling heartbroken. The grief you are feeling is real and should not be written off as less important than any other kind of grief. Our Companion Animal Loss Support Group is a non-judgmental and respectful place which gives those grieving the loss of a pet, the opportunity to share their grief stories. Participants can meet others on a similar grief journey which decreases isolation and allows individuals to support each other. ACGB in partnership with the Lort Smith Animal Hospital are currently running a Companion Animal Loss Support Group in North Melbourne, held on a monthly basis. 

How can I find out more?

If you are interested in hearing more about support groups and how they may assist you, please contact the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement on (03) 9265 2100 or contact us via email

Download the Bereavement Support Group Brochure