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Online Support Groups

Grief After Suicide: Support is Just a Mouse-Click Away

By Karyl Chastain Beal, Founder of the POS-FFOS Internet Community

“I’m sorry, Ma’m, but someone you care about took his own life.”

Those are some of the most devastating words anyone could ever hear. How can those left behind go on in the face of such news? Where do people go for help when they experience a tragedy that confuses the mind and shocks the heart?

Some people search for help on the Internet. They google words like suicide, grief and support, and links to Internet support groups come up. Online groups emerged in the early 1990’s, and over time, they have become a popular source of support, information and inspiration.

What is it that draws people to an Internet support group?

When members of on-line groups are asked what they get out of being in the group, the number one response is that they find out that they are not alone. They feel relief when they realize that others have experienced losses similar to theirs.

In the group, the members can read the experiences, thoughts, feelings and memories of many other people who are walking the same road they are on. Some of them may have lost their loved one years ago, while others may have just found out. Some of them may be in Tennessee or Idaho or Alaska; some of them may be in Australia or Ireland. The common bond of suicide loss pulls them together, no matter who they are or where they are from.

The members of an on-line group also appreciate the fact that they can write to the group and tell them about the person who died without fear of being told it’s time to move on. They can also write to the group about their experiences, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, they discuss things that they could never talk about with people in person.

One of the best reasons for joining an Internet support group, however, is the fact that the members can connect with group 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

 Not only is the group accessible at any time (as long as there is a computer and Internet connection), but it can be reached almost anywhere in the world, from the comfort of one’s home to wi-fi coffee shop, libraries, airports, and more. With increased use of smart phones, getting connected to the group is amazingly quick and easy toda

Finally, Internet support groups today provide much more than an e-mail connection. The members may socialize with each other in private chat rooms or on facilitated group phone calls. They post photos for others to see; they work on special memorial projects together, and they may also meet in person.

Why are the Internet groups effective?

One size does not fit all, so Internet groups may not be for everyone, however, many people believe that the groups give them a connection to others who truly understand. The members care about each other. The acceptance they give is remarkable.

When someone writes to the group saying they are drowning in sorrow, it doesn’t take long for someone else to write back and say, “I care. I’m reaching out to you. Would you like to take my hand?”

What’s even more remarkable is that today, as soon as someone hears the sad verdict that someone they cared about has died by suicide, they can find help within moments; Internet support groups are just a mouse-click away.

Internet Bereaved by Suicide Support Groups

The main web site is www.pos-ffos.com

To join POS (Parents of Suicides) or FFOS (Friends and Families of Suicides), the quickest way is to either email Karyl Chastain Beal (arlynsmom@bellsouth.net) and ask for an application, or to go to  http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/parentsofsuicides/ to sign up for POS

or to http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ffofsuicides/ to sign up for FFOS.


06/13/2015 at 12:42 PM
Sandra Welch
Lost my oldest son 4 yrs. ago today, do to suicide. I don't want to leave the house and sometimes cannot stop crying. I've tried other groups, but it made it worse.
05/31/2015 at 3:11 PM
My whole life I haven't felt their was much to live for. I was in foster homes and abused in every way. As I grew older I got into a few mentally abusive relationships and a very bad physical relationship that I escaped. I have taken responsibility and been careful who I have in my life. I have been with my boyfriend who is the father of my only child for 4 years and we have a 2 year old. I felt that I was getting to where I wanted to be. I'm currently on an unpaid intern so I'm always stressing bills. I sit at home and care for my son and spend my days off taking care of the house and working online for slave wage which I usually get ripped off for. I have opportunities for change but the cards I've been dealt in life make me feel like giving up. My boyfriend gets home from work and he seems to always be mad, he usually takes all his frustration out on me and I feel very alone. I have no relationship with living family except my mother and father which were more of friends growing up. I have tried to build what I feel is a family....My love is unconditional but I feel like its worthless. I moved to another county and in the 2 and a half years I've lived here have not met one trustworthy friend. I show compassion and understanding, I do my best to make every one smile. Sometimes I feel as though I'm cursed. I'm sorry for my rambling but I really have no where else to reach out anymore. I strive for change and things get a bit better only than for things to usually get worse than ever. My car was recently impounded due to my boyfriend. I just don't know what to do. I love him and just want his support in my time of pain. He mentally punishes me if, the pond filters are off, theirs any dirt in the house, the food is not cooked, just about anything. I spend every second working to please him and it doesn't get me anywhere. I'm finally taking a step back to get help because I'm starting to scare myself. I haven't really done anything for myself in years meaning like going to the movies or doing anything fun. I've lost about 40 lbs and I'm only about 100lbs right now. I need someone to please help me. I have school starting up again next semester, I'm doing things to keep myself busy but the pain is outweighing anything good in my life. Some of the people I cared most for in the world have died, my best friend is losing her mind, and another childhood friend has passed from cancer earlier this month. RIP. Thanks for reading, I feel a bit better but I still feel very nervous and have a lot of anxiety.
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