Your questions answered
Who can attend the groups? Are there any restrictions?

Anyone over 18 who has lost someone to suicide more than three months ago, can register to attend a Facing the Future support group. Many people experience shock when they are first bereaved and it can take several months before they are able to share their experiences, and hear the experiences of others in the group.

In order to get the most out of the group sessions, participants are encouraged to talk about their experiences and feelings and to support other participants who might be struggling.

Aside from this, this is no time limit and people often join our groups many years after losing someone as they recognise they are still not coping as they would wish.

As the groups take place online, there are no geographical or mobility restrictions, but a reliable broadband signal and a suitable device are essential.

(If you are a healthcare professional who believes a group would suit your client, please encourage them to complete the online registration form themselves.)

What happens after I register? How committed am I at this point?

As soon as you register your interest (by completing the online application form), your details will be placed on our database. You will receive an automated reply confirming that we have received your application, together with information that you might find useful.

You will receive a call (using the phone number you provided) to talk with you about the groups. Please note that this call may not happen for several weeks. We have a waiting list but will work through this, in order, as quickly as possible.

In our call, we will confirm the information you provided in your application, and gather a few additional details, explain how the groups work and answer any questions you may have. If we are able to assign you to a group, we will confirm this in the call and then follow up with a confirmation email around 2 to 3 weeks before the start of the group and re-confirm the dates of the group sessions, provide the Zoom link and an emergency contact number. We will also ask that you confirm your intention to attend the group.

At any point before the group starts, if you feel our support groups are not right for you, please just let us know. We may be able to signpost you to other sources of support and remove your details from our system.

If you do still want to join a group, but the timing is not right (perhaps you feel you are not quite ready to be in a group setting or something has come up in life which makes it impossible for you to make your assigned group dates), we can work with you to find a way around this; assigning you to an alternative group for example.

We would simply ask that you give us as much notice as possible by either sending an SMS to the emergency number you would have received in the confirmation email, or emailing us at ftf@cls.org.uk. We can then offer your vacated place to someone else on our waiting list.

Will the people facilitating the group know how I feel? Will they have lost someone to suicide as well?

​All volunteers facilitating our groups will have received full training on how to support those bereaved by suicide, whether they have personal experience of this or not. However the focus of the group will be the experience of the participants, all of whom will have lost someone to suicide.


Is what I say in the group private?

Everything discussed in the group sessions is confidential to the group. The importance of privacy and confidentiality is stressed to all participants at the first group session (and before). However, please note there may be instances where we may have to break confidentiality if we feel you or someone else is in danger.

Can I attend a group on behalf of someone else?

Supporting someone bereaved by suicide can be very hard. Attendance of the groups is 'experiential' which means the bereaved person needs to be actively present to benefit from the experience and as such, the group support can not be delivered via a third party (which would also compromise the confidentiality of the group).

If you want to get support for someone else (whether a friend/relative or in your professional capacity for a client), please pass the details of our service on to them and encourage them to visit our website and register their interest themselves.

Can I bring a friend with me?

The groups are closed and only registered participants can attend, so a friend cannot attend the group with you. We know that attending a support group can feel scary, but our facilitators are there to create a safe and non-judgemental environment that is comfortable for everyone. It is important that all group members feel they are in a safe space and with people who have similar experiences.

I and a family member/friend have both been bereaved by suicide. Can we attend the same group?

We do not put members of the same family or two unrelated people who knew the same person who took their life, in the same group. Our experience shows that if friends or family members attend the same support group they might not be able to express themselves fully, for fear of upsetting the other person.  

My group doesn’t begin for a while. Is there anyone I can speak to now?

If you need to talk with someone while you are waiting to join a group, both Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Support are here for you.

Samaritans provide emotional support by phone to anyone who is struggling to cope. Their number 116 123 is free to call from both landlines and mobiles and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  

Cruse Bereavement Support National Helpline is open for information, advice and emotional support, from 9.30am to 5pm Monday and Friday and 9.30am to 8pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The number is 0808 808 1677 and is free to call. 

In addition there are other organisations who may be useful to you.

Survivors of Bereavement By Suicide (SoBS) have launched an online forum. This community offers peer-to-peer support for survivors of bereavement by suicide. Details about the forum can be found here.

Support After Suicide has details of organisations and individuals that are working across the UK to support people who have been bereaved by suicide. 

Help is at Hand  is a guide that provides people affected by suicide with both emotional and practical support.  

Winstons Wish supports children and young people after the death of someone important to them. Their freefone number is 0808 802 0021.

Child Bereavement UK helps families to rebuild lives when a child grieves or when a child dies. Their freefone helpline number is 0800 028 8840.

The Compassionate Friends run weekends for bereaved parents including those bereaved by suicide. Their helpline number is 0345 123 2304.


Can I join a group half way through?

No, after the first session no one else can join the group.

What if I can’t make all of the group sessions?

We suggest you to join a group where you are able to attend at least five of the six sessions as you will get much more out of the experience this way. Multiple absences can upset the dynamic of the group and can be unsettling for other group members. You must attend the first session.

If you have to miss more than one session we will discuss with you whether this is the right time for you to be attending a group.

I am unable to make a group session, who should I contact?

Prior to your group's first session we will send you an emergency mobile number. In the event that you are unable to make a session for any reason, we would ask that you send a message to this number which will be picked up by one of your facilitators. If you do not attend a session without notifying us beforehand, we will call you to check in and make sure you still wish to participate in the group. 

Please also use this number if you have any technical problems getting into a session.

What if I don’t get on with other people in the group?

Our facilitators have been trained to create a non-judgemental environment that is safe for everyone in the group. However, if you have any difficulties with another participant we encourage you to email one of the facilitators after the group session on ftf@cls.org.uk so that we can find a solution.

When the group finishes, what support is there for me?

At the end of your group, you will again be signposted to other organisations. In addition, other sources of help may have been discussed in your group.

We have found that many participants wish to continue supporting each other after the group has ended. They typically choose to set up a WhatsApp group which is formed and administered entirely independently of Facing the Future. There would be no obligation for any participant to share their contact details with other group participants, or to join the WhatsApp group if they did not wish to.

What do I do if I have a complaint?

Should you have a complaint about the Facing the Future service please contact us via email ftf@cls.org.uk or telephone 0207 758 0667. We investigate all complaints thoroughly in accordance with Samaritans complaints policy.

Is the service evaluated? How do you know if you are making a difference?

After your group ends, you will receive an email from us which includes a link to a survey so you can provide feedback on your experience of the group.

This feedback is anonymous in order to encourage everyone to give their opinion freely, and we structure the questions so that we can try to understand what impact the groups have had, evaluate different aspects of how the groups are run and learn from your comments to improve the service for future groups.

We would therefore be very grateful if all participants would complete the survey which take around 10 minutes to complete.