Two new grief support groups in Wake Forest aim to help children and teens cope with loss.
I've written about Zahnow before. She lost her son and only child, Cameron, to suicide. Her book recounts Cameron's final days and provides information about mental disorders; teen depression signs and symptoms; meth and addictions; and survival after suicide. Through her book and speaking engagements, she has worked to educate parents and children about the signs of depression.
The new support groups will meet in the Storyteller's Book Store, 158 S. White St., in downtown Wake Forest.
Cameron’s Kids Grief Group will support children ages 6 to 12 who have suffered a loss from any type of death. Participants will share their information about the death then break into creative and constructive playtime. The group will last 90 minutes, starting at 6:30 p.m., on the third Tuesday of each month. Releases will be required for participation.
Save the Teens Grief Group will meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The teen group is for 13 to 18-year-olds who have experienced the loss of a family member or a friend. Teens will be allowed to share their stories of loss. Grief projects will be available to help heal grieving teens.
"Grief that goes unmanaged can lead to depression, substance abuse, self-harm, and school problems." according to a press release about the new groups. "Attending a support group provides a safe place for children to share their thoughts about death and see that others in their peer group feel the same way, which can contribute to healing."
Zahnow and Lauren Bridges, a licensed counselor with offices in Wake Forest and Raleigh, will facilitate both groups. Zahnow also recently completed grief facilitator training for adolescents and teens with The Dougy Center and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The groups will not provide counseling, but a safe environment to work through grief. Attendance is free. The groups will be ongoing. Donations and sponsors are needed to help purchase supplies and refreshments for both groups.
For details, go to the Grief Support Groups page on the Save the Teens' website.