What is Peer Support?
Peer support at The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is where we meet as equals to give each other support on a reciprocal basis. Having support during the grieving process after a child dies is an important part of the healing process and journey. This support can come in many different forms from professional through to family support.
TCF organisation is a peer support community whose members understand grief and have survived the death of a child, sibling or grandchild. Members of TCF NSW are there to provide knowledge support and friendship to families whose daughter, son, sister, brother or grandchild has died. One of the ways TCF NSW offers support is through groups who meet in various forms with other bereaved people and give each other support. Ways in which we meet include meetings, (formal & informal), lunches, talks, an annual weekend gathering, and an annual candle lighting.
All TCF NSW members ’have been there done that’ and are therefore in a position to listen with understanding and to foster the physical and emotional health of bereaved families. Members are not trained counsellors but offer help through the principles of respect, and have a mutual agreement to support each other. TCF NSW is not affiliated with any specific religion of philosophical ideology and reaches out to all bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents irrespective of their religion, race, financial status or nationality. Members are free to express their individual views, understanding that every bereaved person has individual needs and rights.
TCF NSW does not suggest that there is a correct way to grieve or that there is a preferred solution to the emotional and spiritual dilemmas raised by the death of a child. Members are given the opportunity to speak and be heard and learn from other bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents whose sorrow has softened and who have found fresh hope and strength for living.
Members can find connections with others that assist them in their day-to-day living and our peer groups offer a safe place to talk with others who have had similar experiences.
The Value of Peer Support
Research has shown that peer support groups are of great value to people who have experienced loss since they offer a safe place for the bereaved to talk through their grief with other individuals who have had similar experiences.
Peer support groups can:
- Build networks to help people find their way
- Provide understanding from other members of TCF NSW who have taken a similar journey
- Complement formal support that the bereaved may receive (such as counselling).
- Give people hope, as they can see others who are bereaved continuing with their lives.
- Help combat feelings of isolation by connecting people in similar situations and building networks.
The Compassionate Friends of New South Wales invites helping agencies and professionals to refer their clients who have suffered the death of a child or a sibling to our organisation.