Suicide bereavement group to meet weekly

A free, weekly support group will offer an outlet to those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The Alex Panton Foundation is working with the Bethesda Counselling Centre to offer the service.

The group will meet every Monday from 24 June to 29 July at 6:15-7:15pm at the Bethesda Counselling Centre at 86 Mary Street in George Town.

Licensed mental health counsellor April Lewis will facilitate the bereavement group with the mission of providing private, confidential support in a safe location.

“I am delighted to be working with the [Alex Panton Foundation] to launch and facilitate this support group. Suicide is such a sensitive subject and those who have tragically lost loved ones to suicide need all the support they can get to come to terms with their loss, and start the long road to healing.” said Lewis, who has 20 years of counselling experience.

“As attendees will learn tools to help them through their journey, they will be surrounded by others who have experienced similar circumstances.”

Foundation chair Jane Panton recalled the pain of losing her own son, for whom the organisation is named, to suicide in October 2010.

She said the support group will enable participants to share and heal together.

“I have experienced the deaths of loved ones and my parents through normal circumstances but losing my beloved son to suicide was like a wrecking ball that just kept swinging at me over and over again,” she said.

“I was very fortunate to have most wonderful friends and family supporting me through this but I always felt like I was becoming too heavy for them and did not want to lean on them too much. I think through this support group, we can share our experiences without feeling like we are being burdensome to our supporter/listening ear.”

Panton said she hopes to attend the first group meeting on 24 June to share her own story.

The Alex Panton Foundation offers a range of mental health services. To learn more about its programmes, visit www.alexpantonfoundation.ky. To request more information about the bereavement group, email [email protected]