A Seed Grant Initiative: Rebuilding Lives and Healing Hearts

Suffering the loss of a loved one from suicide is a devasting experience, and the grieving process after a suicide can be incredibly complicated and last longer than other types of bereavement.

BC Bereavement Helpline (BCBH) helps people find hope in the wake of such devastation and they are finding that interest in their programs – from both those who have been bereaved and from professionals offering these critical services – has been overwhelming.

A four-week discussion group series for suicide-bereaved people that BCBH created in summer 2023 saw an overwhelming 200 attendees attend by Zoom. In the face of this demand, the sessions were altered to accommodate the large number of participants by removing verbal interaction and replacing it with an annotation and chat option.

Despite having chat feature on Zoom turned off, one participant stated, “I haven’t been able to talk to anyone until today, I really appreciated it.”

Initially, grief professionals and service responders were able to register for the discussion group as well, but with the sessions quickly reaching capacity, the professionals were asked to cancel their registration (if they were not themselves suicide-bereaved).

This showed that there was a clear need to support these professionals with a grief series designed for their particular needs. However, BC Bereavement Helpline’s limited funding and staffing means they are not able to offer this support now.

“As someone who is suicide bereaved, I wish sessions like these were available after losing my brother 16 years ago,” Pam Bilusack, Executive Director of BCBH says. “I’m so grateful to the BC Centre for Palliative Care (BCCPC) for their support of this program.”

BCBH’s efforts continue to build a compassionate community by supporting solidarity among those who are suicide bereaved. Their thoughtful and creative approaches to providing education and opportunities to connect with others are guiding the way to a brighter future for so many.

Over five funding cycles, BCCPC has awarded almost $425,000 to fund 101 projects province-wide through our Seed Grants Program. The most recent cycle of funding focused on creating compassionate communities in BC.

BC Bereavement Helpline was one of our latest grant recipients.

The BC Centre for Palliative Care’s (BCCPC) All Together – Spreading Community Innovation Seeds Grant Program, allowed BCBH to launch Part 2 of their “Building Hope” series in the Fall of 2023. This highly successful and series is outlined on BCBH’s website, Facebook and Instagram.

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