Comfort During Mourning
Support options exist to help individuals who have lost a loved one to substance use
Grief can be all consuming; it can make days extremely difficult, especially for individuals who have lost someone to a substance use or suicide. The Virginia Department of Health reported in 2020 there were 9,901 emergency room visits due to an opioid overdose, and there were 1,478 opioid overdose deaths in 2020. In 2021, there were 2,622 deaths.
“Grieving is an intensely personal process. There is no one right way to deal with grief but connecting with others is important. Sometimes sharing with loved ones is enough but on occasion more help is needed. Unresolved grief can fester and create mental health concerns,” Renee Norden, executive director for the Mental Health Association, said.
This means that there are many family members and friends who are struggling in the wake of a loved one’s death. “I’m not aware of any (resources) that specialize in disenfranchised grief at this time,” Becky Boxx, chief operations officer for SpirtWorks Foundation, shared. “This is why we are working so hard to start one, and offer it to the loved ones.”
When asked if she had a tip to share with individuals grieving the loss of a loved one due to an overdose, she said: “Learn what substance use truly is about, and why people are drawn to the use of them.” By learning this information, it will help individuals process the grief they are feeling.
“Grieving can be complicated by a death from overdose. Emotions run the gamut – anger, sadness, guilt, despair. Connecting with individuals, who have faced similar challenges, helps the grieving process. Participating in a support group like the one SpiritWorks offers creates a healing network,” Norden explained.
There are places both locally and virtually that people can go for support with grief, and substance use, even if you are under-insured or uninsured, there are free support options. Here is a list of some of the resources available in our community and online. This is not a comprehensive list, but a starting point for individuals that are seeking assistance and options.
Fauquier Free Clinic
Fauquier Free Clinic accepts Medicaid and the uninsured, and provides tele-mental health services. For more information, visit https://www.fauquierfreeclinic.org/, or call 540-347-0394.
NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group
NAMI Piedmont offers several in-person support groups, which are held at Fauquier Hospital in the Sycamore Room. Registration for the groups is required and can be done by contacting Kathy Weigel by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 540-347-9104. Visit the website for a full list of in-person meetings. For more information, visit namipiedmontva.org.
SpiritWorks Foundation Center for the Soul
SpiritWorks Foundation is a nonprofit organization is based in Williamsburg, VA, but there is a local office in Warrenton. It is a peer-led addiction recovery and wellness organization that provides services to children, youth and adults living in recovery from the disease of addiction. SpiritWorks offers a bereavement group for families who have lost loved ones to a substance related death. The group is offered in-person and via Zoom.
Spiritual Care Support Ministries
Spiritual Care Support Ministries is a free, faith-based support organization that is now offering Mourning Coffee. This new grief support group includes a weekly seminar and support group for individuals who are grieving the death of a loved one. The group is facilitated by Chaplain Liz Danielsen. Mourning Bereavement Support will meet on Mondays from Feb. 6, 2023 through March 6, 2023, from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at the SCSM Center located at 7179 New Hope Lane, Warrenton. SCSM requests RSVPs for this group. Call 540-349-5814, or email email@example.com.
Survivors for Life
The Survivors for Life support group meets on the third Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. The meetings are held at Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services. This group is specifically for individuals who are grieving over a life lost due to suicide and need to work through grief. For more information contact Alan Rasmussen via firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 434-825-8913.
The SEE Recovery Center
The SEE Recovery Center offers an array of recovery-oriented groups, meetings, and the opportunity to speak with someone about mental health or substance use recovery. A staff member will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to assist with attending appropriate groups or other services. First Responders, Law Enforcement, and Emergency Department Personnel; please call 540-825-5656, option 7, to arrange connection with services at the SEE Recovery Center. The SEE Recovery Center is open to all in need of recovery services in the area, free of charge.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
The AFSP offers numerous resources. These include healing conversations, support groups, and a digital guide. It also has information on local chapters, which is how they directly offer education, support, and services.
Compassionate Friends provides comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild. For more information, call 877-969-0010, or email email@example.com.