Support For Those Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide

Losing a loved one to suicide is an extremely painful experience that very few people can understand.

Resultingly, Samaritans established New York City’s first “suicide survivor” support group program to provide those who have lost someone they love or are close to with a supportive and caring environment designed to help them cope with their loss in the company of others who have had the same experience.

Safe Place is the name of Samaritans suicide survivor support group program which hosts meetings twice a month that give survivors the opportunity to grieve and explore whatever thoughts and feelings they are having tied to their loss in an accepting and non-judgmental setting, without any undue familial, social or other pressures.

“The compassion and understanding I found at Safe Place after the suicide of my husband showed me I was neither isolated nor alone. Talking with others who have also been there helps us to heal, rebuild and eventually rejoice.” Carla Fine, No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

A Safe Place For Suicide Survivors

Many survivors say that Safe Place is the only place where they can openly address what they are experiencing without having to be concerned about other people’s attitudes or judgments, which can range from being blamed for their loved one’s death to undue fascination with the details of the death to being completely ignored or ostracized from normal family or community activities.

Those who attend Safe Place suicide survivor support group meetings include people coping with the loss of a parent, spouse, child, sibling, life partner, best friend or other loved ones. Their loss may be as recent as a few months previous, a year, or 5, 10 or more years. Individuals attend on a regular basis, on occasion and/or at those times like an anniversary or before the holidays where group support is so important.

“I can’t even begin to explain how much your listening, guidance and level of commitment, no matter what, has meant to me. Safe Place continues to be the single most healing place for me to be when the grief or sadness over my brother’s death unexpectedly returns. I will forever be grateful for that.” A Safe Place Participant

Attending a Safe Place Meeting

Safe Place meetings are free and offered twice a month at easily accessible locations in New York City. Only survivors–those who have directly lost a loved one to suicide–can attend these meetings and participants must be 18 or older. There are no exceptions.

Meetings are run by trained facilitators that are, also, respected Samaritans volunteers who are experienced in dealing with the complex issues surrounding suicide and its aftermath. The meetings are run as peer support groups, where the people participating have the opportunity to focus on their thoughts and feelings, challenges and difficulties coping with their loss, without any undue pressures or expectations or other people judging them or giving them advice.

In response to the health and safety issues presented by COVID-19, Samaritans will be hosting meetings on Zoom during the pandemic, and has spent the last few months making the adjustments necessary to effectively facilitate a meeting on a video platform.  

To register to attend a meeting, click here.

To learn more about attending a Safe Place meeting, click here.

To download a Suicide Survivor Support Group Flier, click here.

Please Note:
For immediately accessible, ongoing emotional support, survivors are welcome to call our 24-hour Crisis Hotline at any time to speak with one of our trained volunteers about their thoughts and feelings tied to their loss. The hotline number is (212) 673-3000. Please note that every individual who calls the hotline is assessed for suicide risk and is asked about their feelings, what is going on for them now, and whether they have thoughts of suicide (no matter how they identify themselves or their stated reason for calling). The hotline is often used as a complement to other forms of support, such as therapy or a support group.