Suicide loss support group begins in November

Rhonda-KnottsPatricia-KotzenSuicide loss support group begins in November

Hospice of Queen Anne’s is forming a new support group for adults who have lost a loved one to suicide. HALOS – healing after a loved one’s suicide – will meet at Hospice of Queen Anne’s, 255 Comet Drive in Centreville beginning Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. The group will meet on the second Wednesday of each month. There is no cost to participate.

HALOS will be co-facilitated by Rhonda Knotts, MSCC, grief counselor for Hospice of Queen Anne’s, and Patricia Kotzen.

Kotzen, who lives in Kent Island, lost her son to suicide in 2010. “Our son took his life shortly after his 40th birthday,” she remembers. “This happened out of the blue; we had seen no signs that he was depressed or thinking about taking his life.”

Kotzen adds, “My husband and I looked for a support group and couldn’t find one locally. We did our best to make it through on our own.”

In 2013 Kotzen joined the board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and was trained to facilitate support groups. After participating in the AFSP Out of Darkness Walk in Columbia, Maryland, Kotzen decided to organize the first Mid-Shore walk. The Out of Darkness Walk raises awareness about depression and suicide, and provides comfort and assistance to those who have lost someone to suicide.

“I was overwhelmed by the turn out – over 300 people participated in the first Mid-Shore Out of the Darkness Walk on September 6,” Kotzen says. “At the walk we had a sign-up sheet for anyone interested in a support group, and many suicide survivors and health care providers looking for support for their patients signed up.”

The Hospice of Queen Anne’s HALOS support group is open to anyone 18 and older. Participants are welcome to drop in each month as they need support.

“Through the Hope & Healing Center Hospice of Queen Anne’s is committed to helping people face the many emotions associated with grief,” says Knotts. “This new group will focus on a particular kind of loss that carries with it guilt, shame and many other emotional responses to a loved one’s suicide.”

For more information about the HALOS support group, contact Rhonda Knotts, Hospice of Queen Anne’s, 443-262-4109, rknotts@hospiceofqueenannes.org or Patricia Kotzen, 410-643-7674, pskotzen@atlanticbb.net.  Learn more about other grief support programs available through the Hope & Healing Center by visiting www.hospiceofqueenannes.org/hopeandhealing.

Photos:

Rhonda Knotts, MSCC, Grief Counselor, Hospice of Queen Anne’s 

Patricia Kotzen, HALOS support group co-facilitator 

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