New initiative brings grief support into the community

Categories: Community Engagement.

Target Adult Resource Centre in Donaghmede, Dublin 13 is running the first grief support group this month aimed at adults who have been bereaved for at least six months and less than 2 years.

The initiative is being run in conjunction with The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and Breffni McGuinness, Bereavement Training and Development Officer with the IHF explained, “The idea is to set up bereavement support groups on an ongoing basis in the community. Lots of times bereavement support is available, maybe through hospitals or hospices, but there’s not as much available in the community itself. Support should be available when people needs it and in a way that they can access it easily.”

He said the group helps people to move through their own grief. “This is a space for you. Often times when we are grieving we are looking after others or trying to manage other people in the family. Often we can’t say what we need to say in the family – so this is a place where you can look at your grief and learn some skills on how to cope.

“Just by being with other people experiencing the same thing can make such a difference. We learn from each other,” Breffni said, giving an example of how a previous support group had had a positive impact on one man in particular.

“He had never walked down the street where his nephew was killed and one person in the group said, ‘I’ll walk with you’. They went down the street and because he had someone with him he was able to do it. It was a huge thing. Sometimes we get the strength to do things with the encouragement of others.”

The grief support group is facilitated by professional counsellors with specialised training and experience in grief counselling. The role of facilitators is to make sure that the grief support group is a “safe place” and that each person has an opportunity to participate and share.

The first group is suitable for adults who have been bereaved for at least six months and less than 2 years. Breffni said, “Six months after death is the time when, for most people, the reality of death begins to kick in. The second year for some people, is often more difficult than the first. That’s what we are aiming the first group at.”

The grief support group will take place on Tuesdays in .St Kevins National School, Newbrook Road, Donaghmede and the first group begins on February 23rd.

You can find out more information by contacting Trish / Emma in TARGET @ 01-8671967 or email   There is a cost of €40 in total to cover material and handouts used in the sessions.                 

You can also listen to this interview on Near FM – which gives more information on coping with grief.

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