We offer SafePlace meetings virtually via Zoom. Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide can attend SafePlace meetings to connect with others who have experienced a similar loss. Read the answers below to determine whether a virtual SafePlace meeting is right for you, and to prepare for your first meeting.
My loss is recent — how do I know if I’m ready to attend a support group?
Everyone is welcome to join our meetings at any time after their loss. For some people it’s a few weeks or months, and for others, it may be many years before they are ready. Before joining, we suggest you reflect on the following questions: Am I ready to talk about my loss? Will I be able to share the airtime with others? Will I be comfortable listening to others talk about their losses? If the answer is no, or you aren’t sure, we suggest you start with a Survivor to Survivor visit, where trained suicide loss survivor volunteers will meet with you privately.
Will I be on video?
When you join the meeting, your microphone and video will be disabled for privacy reasons. You can enable these once in the meeting, and we ask that you do join with video. It’s helpful to see each other while sharing and to offer non-verbal support.
I’m worried about my privacy in a virtual meeting.
Privacy concerns are completely understandable. We ask all participants to respect the confidentiality of others in the meeting as they would want their confidentiality to be respected.
Everyone who has access to the meeting link has lost a loved one to suicide. They have filled out a form on our website requesting access, which has been screened by Samaritans staff. Our meetings are password protected, and we have the most updated versions of Zoom with the most recent and up-to-date security features.
I don’t want people to see my full name.
You can remove your last name from your Zoom display name to help protect your identity before joining a meeting. There are websites that give guidance on changing your participant name. NerdsChalk provides information for different ways to change your participant name on different devices.
What is the format of the meetings?
Two volunteers who are themselves suicide loss survivors facilitate each SafePlace meeting. We start with some housekeeping, ground rules, a go around, open the meeting for discussion, and wrap with closing reflection.
Participants are free to chime in as they’re able. We encourage you to share and respond to one another. Raise your hand to indicate you’d like a chance to share.
How will I know who will be there?
These virtual meetings are drop-in. Because of this, we can’t guarantee who or how many people will be at any given meeting. We recommend trying any given meeting more than once because who’s at the meeting and what people need from the meeting will be different each evening. You may also attend on a different evening to meet different facilitators and participants.