Bereavement support group in Picayune

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 16, 2018

Forrest General Hospice provides a monthly bereavement support group for community members dealing with the death of a loved one.

According to an article by the American Psychological Association, those suffering from severe or complicated grief can suffer mental and physical complications. People who have lost a spouse may see a 40 to 70 percent increase in their mortality rate in the six months after the spouse’s death, the article states. Those who suffer from such severe grief often need additional professional help and community support to overcome their pain.

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Chaplin and bereavement coordinator Ken Roberts said the group allows those suffering with the loss of a loved one a chance to connect with others who are grieving.

He said sessions are held around a table and begin with attendees introducing themselves. It also provides them with the opportunity to talk about their loved one and how they passed. He said a facilitator is present at each meeting, but the group is mostly an open discussion between attendees. People are encouraged to talk about their experience, but it is not necessary.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, ‘I’m not here to talk, I’m just here to listen,’ but then halfway through they started talking,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the goal of the group is to give people another venue to find help to overcome complicated grief.

Chaplin and group facilitator Scott Downes said he has seen positive change in those who take advantage of the group. First timers to the session are often overcome with grief. But, by the next meeting, they may come in with a smile. He said being able to connect with someone who is going through the same thing helps.

“Some lost a spouse, some lost a child, but they’ve both lost a loved one,” Downes said.

Downes stressed that the meetings are not just for Forrest General Hospice patients. The sessions are open to anyone in the community experiencing grief.

The bereavement support group meets every third Tuesday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Highland Community Hospital private dining room. For more information, Forrest General Hospice can be contacted by calling 601-288-2500 or toll free at 800-844-8797.