Beginning in January, the City of Bloomington and Bloomington Meadows Hospital will establish a new suicide support group for teens and children in the community involving free ongoing monthly meetings for community youth affected by suicide. City of Bloomington Health Projects Manager Nancy Woolery and Clinical Social Worker Peter Link of the Bloomington Meadows Hospital will collaborate to facilitate the group meetings. To address the needs of grieving local youth after recent suicides in Monroe County high schools and IU Bloomington, Woolery and Link attended a training in Indianapolis conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or AFSP. This training focused on teaching adults the skills to facilitate a peer grief support group for teens and children. Bloomington hosts a similar support group for adults in the community. Woolery, who also co-chairs the Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition, said that the youth support group will have a different approach than its adult counterpart.
The youth suicide bereavement support group is the first of its kind in Bloomington, and Woolery plans to meet with the AFSP again soon for further guidance. According the AFSP website, their organization works to address suicide stigmas through public education. Woolery said Bloomington group will also make an effort to create a space where suicide is not viewed with stigma.
Meetings for the free adult group “Survivors of Suicide” take place in the Monroe County Public Library every fourth Sunday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. The exact dates and location for the youth support group have yet to be determined.