In 1989, after the suicide death of her son, Virginia Bender sought support groups to aid in her grief recovery. She discovered that there were no organizations in the greater Portland, Oregon area that was specific to suicide. Virginia began to reach out to numerous other support organizations expressing a desire to meet with others that had such a tragedy occur in their lives – not only children, but any member of a family or close friend that had experienced a suicide. She began hosting support meetings in her home and as information of the group was proclaimed to other organizations – including crisis lines, psychologists, grief support organizations, religious affiliations and many other groups – the number of people attending grew. A second meeting group materialized in Vancouver, WA as a result. By the end of this year, Virginia had organized a group of volunteers to aid in the publication of a newsletter that helped in the continued growth of contacting others that had experienced the death of a loved one to suicide.
By 1991, a core of volunteers discussed the option of applying for a non-profit status. The name of Suicide Bereavement Support was agreed to and the volunteer group applied for and received their 501(c)(3) status by 1992.
From 1992 through 2000, additional support group sites were added. A total of 6 support groups were active – NE Portland, Tigard/Beaverton, Astoria, Gresham, Oregon City and Vancouver, WA.
Due to attrition, sickness and other factors, the organization’s participation began to decrease. Still, a core group offered meetings. The groups non-profit status was not renewed.
In late 2010, the group reached out to other professionals and created a new board. By late 2011, the volunteers had been able to have the status of a non-profit organization reestablished.
The volunteer organization is now comprised of professionals in many disciplines that will aid in its growth. Both legal and financial groundwork has been established, goals and directives created and becoming reality, financial grants and aid has now been requested and applied for, additional facilitation training has been created, and the addition of meetings places and times are being established to help and support those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
Suicide Bereavement Support, Inc., is moving ahead to spread the word of our mission. Help us help others by volunteering for our desire to aid others in their grief process.