There are many local and national support groups for grieving parents, but finding one that’s right for you may take time. If a group does not feel right, you should continue to search for that place where you feel at home. The Rady Children’s Hope Bereavement Program maintains a list of local support groups to help your family know the options that are available.
Bereaved Parents of the USA, San Diego North Inland Chapter
The San Diego North Inland Chapter of the Bereaved Parents of the USA is a non-profit, self-help support group for parents, grandparents and siblings who have suffered the death of a child, grandchild or sibling. It is part of a national organization (www.bereavedparentsusa.org), with sister chapters across the United States. This chapter meets at 6:30 p.m. at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Poway on the fourth Thursday of the month. Facilitators are certified bereavement facilitators and are bereaved parents. There is a concurrent sibling support group for children ages 12-18. Please call or email prior to attending.
The Compassionate Friends
The San Diego Chapter of The Compassionate Friends assists families in the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child and provides information to help others be supportive. The Compassionate Friends is a national, nonprofit, self-help support organization offering friendship and understanding to families who are grieving the death of a child of any age, from any cause. The chapter meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Scripps Mende Well-Being Clinic, 4305 La Jolla Village Drive in San Diego. Parents, siblings, adolescents and children are welcome.
The Elizabeth Hospice
The Elizabeth Hospice offers a range of grief support services for children and teens, free of charge. At bi-monthly support groups, held in North County and Central San Diego, children meet with their peers who are experiencing similar struggles to share their stories and gain coping skills. Camp Erin San Diego, a weekend summer camp, gives children the opportunity to be a kid again while remembering and honoring their loved one. One-on-one counseling sessions are also available.
Empty Cradle is a self-help support group for parents who have experienced the loss of a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. Support is offered by a parent network, monthly meetings and written materials. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church in El Cajon and at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of the month at Palomar Universalist Fellowship in Vista. Guest speakers talk for the first hour, followed by sharing circles for the entire second hour. Individual telephone support is also available through a network of trained parents who have also experienced a loss. A lending library is available as well. Pre-registration required for the groups. There is no fee.
Hospice by the Sea
Please call for up-to-date support group information.
San Diego LGBT Community Center
Individual, group, couple, and family counseling is provided by professionals. Sliding scale and other fee options are available. The Grief & Caregivers Support Group meets weekly Monday evenings at 5:30 p.m. Please call for more information.
Sharp Hospice Care
Sharp Hospice Care offers a variety of bereavement support groups for individuals who have experienced the death of a loved one. Ten-week adult groups, widow/widower groups, children/teen groups and parallel parent groups meet days and evenings. Pre-registration is required. The Straight Talk about Loss drop-in group meets in the evening; no registration is required. There is no fee for group participation. The Journey to My Heart annual family bereavement camp is offered in May for $35 per person, although a sliding fee scale is available
Individual and group support are provided to those who have lost their twin. This is a unique service addressing the needs of the twinless.
VITAS offers free bereavement support groups in 10 different locations, serving all of San Diego County, including Spanish-speaking only groups and a men’s grief group. In addition, VITAS offers free memorial services at Scripps Mercy Hospital, holiday grief programs, grief counseling, telephone reassurance, and referral services.
If you have a support group for bereaved parents and siblings and would like to be added to this list, please call Chaplain Ryan Sey at 858-966-7493.