Support Groups for Loss of a Child

Parent Q&A

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  • Grief support group

    (1 reply)

    Does anyone know of any support groups for parents who have lost a child to addiction?

    NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has support groups that can help.

    There are several in Alameda County:

    Also, I'd suggest calling the facilitator of one or two of the groups that meet near you. They are very knowledgeable and can point you in the right direction.

    I'm so sorry.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Support Group for Grieving Parents

Nov 2011

Good friends of mine lost their toddler suddenly last year and, understandably, they are still having a very difficult time coping with their daily lives. I think they are covered with therapy in general, but I don't think they have found a support group for people who have been through something similar. Could anyone recommend a support group or resource in SF or East Bay for parents who lost a young child. Thank you. Concerned Friend

The organization ''Compassionate Friends'' offers support groups for parents whose child has died. I hope this is of help to your friends. Yvonne

My 27 year old daughter passed away suddenly in March 2003. I was absolutely devastated but found the Compassionate Friends Organization to be very helpful. They are a non-profit, self- help support organization for families who are grieving the death of a child, of any age, from any cause.

There are no dues or fees and all bereaved family members are welcome. There are chapters in Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Leandro, San Francisco, etc. As these families have gone through a similar experience they understand your pain. I cannot recommend them highly enough. B.

There are many resources from the organization HAND (Help After Neonatal Death). See their website

I am so sorry to hear about your friends' loss of a child. Circle of Care, a program of the East Bay Agency for Children, in Oakland, provides ongoing grief support groups for parents/families who have lost a spouse or a child. Groups meet twice monthly on a Wednesday or Thursday night, depending on the openings. There are groups for kids, aged 3-17, and groups for adults that all meet simultaneously, so everyone in a family can receive support from their peers. I coordinate this program and would be happy to talk to you and/or your friends about the program. 510-531-7551 Shoshana

Loss of child, blame, and depression

May 2009

My husband blames me for him feeling so depressed and then blames me for not wanting to be more intimate or affectionate after he has totally isolated me. We have recently suffered a horrific loss in our family (one our children) and since that loss I have done nothing but try to comfort him and myself. With that kind grief I understand wanting to blame everyone, but when it starts to be feel really abusive and mean spirited and directive, i think it has gone too far. I don't want to be treated like this on top of all that we have been through there must be better ways to cope. He is now turning to meds and alcohol as a source of comfort and like many people said going into kind of a ''man cave'' where we spend little time together and never asks me how i am doing or noticing when I am having a really hard time. It is like what i am going through is not happening. I feel so lonely and isolated that I am deciding weather spending time out of our home (separation) would be best thing for my own health... Anon Mom

First I want to send my condolences on the death of your child. I have experience that might be helpful to you, but don't feel comfortable broadcasting it on such a wide audience. Please feel free to contact me directly.

Compassionate friends, which is a support group for bereaved parents, has a chapter in Oakland.
Chapter Name: TCF of Alameda County Chapter Number: 2110 (510) 835-3579 Deanna Meeting Info: 2nd Tuesday of the month 7:00-9:00pm Park Blvd Presbyterian Church - 4101 Park Blvd 
remember: you may feel alone, but many people have walked this shadowy road and found healing. There is help for your and your husband.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss it further. Best wishes

My husband and I went through something like this and we were very happy with the help that we got from Marilyn Steele 510-540-0777. My thoughts are with you. anon

Overwhelming grief over son's death in Iraq

Feb 2009

My relative lost her son, a Marine, in Iraq. This was two years ago. Recently, she asked me if I knew of some places or persons she could go to who would help her to work with her overwhelming grief. She lives back East but does come to the Bay Area on visits. Any suggestions that I could forward to her would be appreciated. Thank you.

I am so sorry to hear of your relative's loss. She must be heart-broken. Dealing with the death of a child is the most painful of losses. Hospices often have bereavement departments, and she could check with a local hospice to find out what they offer. Compassionate Friends is an organization that helps parents whose child has died, she could check online to see whether there are groups near her. Does the VA offer any bereavement counseling? Most grief work takes time so I think she might be better off finding support near her. Looking for a therapist who specializes in bereavement counseling would also be a good idea. I hope this is helpful. Yvonne Mansell, MFT

Have her contact her local chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers. This is an organization comprised of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in war: See: The organization was formed after World War I to offer to support for other grieving mothers and has continued to this day and our current wars. Jane

When I worked at Kaiser in San Rafael, we sometimes referred patients to Hospice of Marin for grief counseling groups, and received excellent feedback. So perhaps your local hospice (or hers would be a good place to start. There is also a new website called which so far has info for Northern California. On the peninsula, I can recommend Dr. Siew Kuek, Psy.D. Very wise and compassionate, and has done a lot of work around bereavement issues. I believe she is in San Mateo. Ilene Diamond, JD, PsyD

Support Group for parents who have lost a child

Feb 2007

Dear BPN members, I am a pediatrician and am writing to see if anyone knows of any support groups or therapists for parents who have lost a child. Unfortunately, I only know of some in Oakland or Berkeley, but the family lives in Tracy, but would travel to Pleasanton or Castro Valley easily. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Laura

Hi -- I would start with Compassionate Friends ( ) - they are a national organization with many local chapters. Most local chapters have a weekly support group and they can also help connect to other resources. eva

Please check out Circle of Care ( - this is an organization specializing in grief, loss and trauma. They have groups appropriate for living with loss and living with illness for all age groups and they offer these services for free. They are located in Oakland. Buddy