A support group for family and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide will hold its biennial memorial service on November 19.

Bonnie Lethaby, chairwoman of the Support Group for those Bereaved by Suicide (SGBS) says the group has now been operating for 11 years, and is there for anyone who has lost someone to suicide.

"Everyone in the group has lost a loved one, so we are all 'walking the walk'."

Mrs Lethaby says it doesn't have to be a recent suicide, as the grief process is so different from any other.


"Suicide is sudden and there are no answers."

The grief from suicide presents differently for people, Mrs Lethaby says. "Some people bury their grief, and they can bury it for many years."

Those who do bury their grief will say they thought they could handle it, but it is made worse because the person has not come to terms with their loss.

"All sorts of things come back later."

Mrs Lethaby explained that in some cases there could be a trigger that would take the person back, and they could experience vivid memories of the suicide.

SGBS is strictly an emotional support group, and if a qualified counsellor is required, they will refer people on.

"Our group is open-ended; people come and go if they feel they need us."

Mrs Lethaby said they received calls from people and visited them in their homes to tell them what support was available and left a leaflet. SGBS has a buddy system, and a number of people do use it. Those who come for support can also borrow from their library free of charge.


The organisation was also thankful to the Dempsey and Forrest team, which continues to support their cause.

The candlelight ceremony will be at 7pm, November 19, at Dempsey and Forrest, in Guyton St.

For more information: Bonnie, 06 343 7573; Chris, 06 344 2223 or the 24-hour helpline, 027 684 3386; www.bereaved-by-suicide.co.nz