The National Directory of Bereavement Support Groups and Services, my first book, published in 1995, received wonderful reviews and was awarded the “Best New Directory of the Year, First Edition” by the SIMBA Directory Publishing Association. It took phone and mail research over a 9 month period, a wonderful database programmer and graphic designer to pull it together.
With the internet, the print edition was less needed. But I still keep the national listings current because from there, you can find help in your community.
Over the past 35 plus years I’ve been in the bereavement field, as well as so many personal losses, the frequent question I get is this…is it more effective to go to a support group vs. a therapist.
Both have their pros and cons. But my recommendation is this…start with the support groups I’ve listed here. Find the one that best suits your needs and call their national office. Ask for the closest group or contact person.
No one will ever understand and empathize with you more than another individual who has gone through the exact type of grief you are now experiencing.
Later, if you get stuck or you feel the need to have someone there for you every week, search for a competent therapist who specializes in grief therapy. Nothing is more frustrating when you realize you’re paying a therapist to give them on-the-job training. You find yourself teaching them more than they’ve helped you.
So here is a list of national organizations that can lead you to support groups or contact persons in your area. There is no fee to participate or use their services, although please consider giving a donation to sustain their important, often volunteer, work.
Here is a list of national organizations that can lead you to support groups or contact persons in your area. There is no fee to participate or use their services, although please consider sending a donation to sustain their important, often volunteer, work.
The mission of these dedicated people, at the other end of these hotlines, is to help you through a difficult time. Whether you’re depressed, feeling hopeless and helpless, suicidal, or need to simply talk through a horrible day when you’re in crisis, I encourage you to take advantage of their help. Your conversations are confidential and will help alleviate your stress. Talking it out will help you feel you’ve been heard and give you perspective about whatever you are going through.
Working with the Samaritans, here you will find an excellent comprehensive list of crisis helplines and centers both internationally and within the USA with detailed contact information.
CBN 700 Club
Virginia Beach, VA
(800) 759-0700 / www.cbn.com
Trained volunteers listen to your pain, pray with you and offer hope from a Christian perspective.
Crisis Hotlines Around the World – MaryMac.info
Extensive list of hotlines to help you when you are in need of assistance. Don’t think twice; someone is there to listen and help.
(800) 273-8255 / www.contact-usa.org
Offers referrals to local hotlines throughout the United States, which provide trained volunteers to listen to your pain 24 hours a day as well as support group and counseling referrals in your community.
Girls and Boys Town National Hotline USA
Boys Town, NE
(800) 448-3000 / www.boystown.org
Trained volunteers assist young people and their parents with their problems 24 hours per day, every day.
National Hopeline Network
(800) SUICIDE / (800) 273-8255 / www.suicidehotlines.com
An excellent comprehensive website to suicide hotlines in the United States, Canada and other international countries and toll-free immediate assistance. You do not need to be suicidal to speak with their counselors. If you are having a challenging day, they are happy to listen. They can also refer you to help in your community for your specific type of grief.
TeenLine Hotline Help Center
(714) 639-8336 / www.teenline.org
Located in Southern California, assistance is available to teens Monday through Saturday, 4:00 pm to 10 pm Pacific Time.
Youth America Hotline
(877) 968-8454 / (877) YOUTHLINE / www.youthline.us
Peer to Peer hotline network which links callers to community-based peer counseling hotlines throughout the USA. Offers live chat with professional trained crisis prevention counselor.
Death of a Child
Alive Alone, Inc.
Van Wert, OH
(419) 238-7879 / www.alivealone.org
Network of parents whose only child or all their children have died.
Bereaved Parents of the USA
Park Forest, IL and Lewisburg, WV
(708) 748-7866 / www.bereavedparentsusa.org
Offers information, referrals, newsletter, phone support and conferences for families grieving the death of a child.
Better Not Bitter Mom
New Berlin, WI
Assists bereaved mothers and holds an annual Mother’s Day Brunch to bring together mothers who have lost children at any age.
(602) 279-MISS / (888) 455-MISS / www.missfoundation.org
Assistance for those who have experienced the death of a child.
The Compassionate Friends
Oak Brook, IL
(630) 990-0010 / (877) 969-0010 / www.compassionatefriends.org
Assists families who have experienced the death of a child in any manner. Support groups and contact persons nationwide.
Death of an Infant Child
Center for Loss in Multiple Birth (CLIMB), Inc.
(907) 746-6123 / (907) 274-7029 /
Support by and for parents who have experienced the death of one or more, both or all twins, triplets or higher multiples during pregnancy, at birth, in infancy or in childhood.
(800) 221-7437 / www.firstcandle.org
Assists families whose infant has died from stillbirth, crib death/SIDS, or other sudden unexpected infant death. Referrals to local affiliate support groups and contact persons nationwide.
(682) 365-4308 / www.hannah.org
Christian organization for those who have experienced infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth or other infant loss.
SHARE Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Inc.
St. Charles, MO
(800) 821-6819 / (636) 947-6164 / https://nationalshare.org
Provides support and the positive resolution of grief following the death of a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or neonatal death. Referrals to support groups and contact persons nationwide.
Air Craft Casualty Emotional Support Services (ACCESS)
New York, NY
(877) 227-6435 / www.accesshelp.org
Assists families and friends of air disaster victims and survivors.
Offers seminars and referrals to support groups in the USA from a Christian perspective.
Twinless Twins Support Group, International
(888) 205-8962 / www.twinlesstwins.org
Offers support to twins and all multiple births, who have suffered the death of their twin, triplet, etc. Assists in networking with others who share common experiences. Publishes newsletter.
Foundation for Grieving Children, Inc.
Founded by Mary M. McCambridge (MaryMac), the F4GC is the first national public charity whose mission is to raise funds and provide grants to community-based organizations which assist, educate, counsel and comfort children, teens, young adults and their families after a loved one’s death, regardless of the manner of death. It also educates families, society and professionals to the needs of the grieving child.
National Center for Grieving Children and Families
(503) 775-5683 / www.dougy.org
Associated with the Dougy Center, offers training programs for individuals and organizations who wish to serve the emotional needs of grieving children.
Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS)
(573) 346-4911 / www.concernsofpolicesurvivors.org
Assists families whose loved ones were killed in the line of duty. Support groups and contact persons nationwide.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
(800) 438-6233 / (214) 744-6233 / www.madd.org
Assists those who have experienced the drunk driving death of a family member or friend. Referrals to support groups and contact persons nationwide.
National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)
(800) 879-6682 / (703) 535-6682 / www.try-nova.org
Offers crisis intervention, counseling, crisis response training and technical assistance for victims and survivors of violent crimes and disasters.
Parents of Murdered Children (POMC)
(513) 721-5683 / www.pomc.org
Assists families after the murder of a loved one. Referrals to support groups and contact persons.
RID-USA, Inc. (Remove Intoxicated Drivers)
RID Victim Center
(518) 372-0034 / 393-HELP / www.rid-usa.org
Referrals to support group meetings and contact persons who have experienced the death of a loved one in a drunk driving crash.
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Inc. (TAPS)
Anchorage, AK and Washington, DC
(800) 959-8277 / (202) 588-8277 / www.taps.org
Provides peer support for survivors of military line-of-duty deaths. Referrals to support groups and contact persons nationwide.
These organizations assist adults and children whose precious pet is either terminally ill or has died.
ASPCA Pet Loss Support Hotline
New York, NY
(877) 474-3310 / www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-loss/
Iams Pet Loss Support Center and Hotline
This manufacturer of premium pet food offers assistance for grieving pet lovers Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm EST.
Louisiana State University
Best Friend Gone Project
Baton Rouge, LA
Offers telephone counseling on pet loss.
Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline
North Grafton, MA
Available for calls Monday through Friday evenings from 6:00 – 9:00 pm EST. Summer hours vary; call for further information.
A compassionate site for those anticipating or enduring the loss of a beloved pet.
American Association of Suicidology
(800) SUICIDE / (202) 237-2280 / www.suicidology.org
Offers referrals to suicide survivor groups nationwide. (800) SUICIDE provides toll-free, 24-hour access to crisis intervention/suicide prevention services.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
New York, NY
(800) 273-8255/ www.afsp.org /
Text TALK to 741741
Provides information and referrals to survivor support groups nationwide.
Friends for Survival, Inc.
(916) 392-0664 / www.friendsforsurvival.org
Publishes newsletter. Offers referrals to local support groups and resources.
Colorado Springs, CO
(719) 596-2575 / www.heartbeatsurvivorsaftersuicide.org
Referrals to Heartbeat chapters and counseling resources for survivors of a loved one’s suicide.
Suicide Information and Education Centre (SIEC)
Calgary, AB, Canada
(833) 456-4566 / Text 45645
SIEC is a special library and resource center providing support group referrals and information to survivors of suicide in all areas of Canada.
Modern Widows Club
(844) 4-A-Widow / www.modernwidowsclub.org/communities/
Communities and Support Groups for Widows both online and in person.
National Widowers’ Organization
The National Widowers’ Organization is a virtual toolkit for men coping with the loss of a loved one, a place where men can meet others going through the same transition. There are a lot of things men suffer alone.
Society of Military Widows
(800) 842-3451 / www.militarywidows.org
Serves the interests of women whose military husbands have died.