9 September 2022

Griffith Community Centre hosts support groups for bereavement, alcohol and drug addiction

| Oliver Jacques
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Emily Fishenden next to a sign

Dedicated Griffith Community Centre volunteer Emily Fishenden. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

The Griffith Community Centre now hosts free, regular support group sessions for those struggling with bereavement and grief, as well as alcoholics anonymous (AA) and narcotics anonymous (NA) groups.

“A community centre should be somewhere where anyone can go to for support without having to worry about costs,” centre coordinator Peta Dummett said.

“There was an unmet need for these types of services; we received calls from people wanting them. It’s great we can now offer them. All are welcome to attend.”

Each group offers strictly confidential support with a qualified facilitator.

A bereavement and grief support group is run on the first and third Tuesdays of every month, from 10:30 am to 12 pm. It is facilitated by Sister Teresa Foley of the Mercy Sisters of Griffith or counsellor Sheridan McGregor.

“Anyone who has had a significant loss that affects them is welcome to attend,” Sister Foley said.

“It might be a death in the family, but it doesn’t have to be – you might be someone struggling to cope with a traumatic event in your life, like a flood or fire.

“I can’t believe there wasn’t something like this in Griffith before.”

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Group members are encouraged to share their experience and be supported by others. There were six people in attendance on Tuesday 6 September.

“It helps people going through different circumstances but the same situation,” one participant said.

Another group member said, in some respects, it can be more helpful than counselling.

“I once had a counsellor tell me, ‘I know what you’re going through’. How can they? Unless you’ve been through the situation yourself, you can never understand.

“The only people who know what we are going through are the people in this group … it feels good to be able to speak to people who know what I’ve been through.”

Griffith Community Centre outside shot.

Griffith Community Centre. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Most group members agreed that the support sessions are filling an unmet need in Griffith.

“There aren’t enough counsellors out there, and very few of them are qualified or experienced enough to deal with grief,” a group member said.

“Even in Sydney, there aren’t many groups like this.”

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Ms Dummett said the centre may look at introducing a night-time grief and bereavement support group at some point in the future, if there is sufficient demand.

The centre also offers the following support groups:

Alcoholics Anonymous – every Thursday at 8 pm.

Narcotics Anonymous – every Wednesday at 7:30 pm.

Drug Information Family Support – every Monday at 5:30 pm.

The Drug Information Family Support group provides help for those who have a family member struggling with addiction.

Ms Dummett also said all were welcome to the monthly Community Drug Action Team meeting, held on the second Monday of every month at 12 pm. This group is for those who would like to share ideas on combating drug abuse.

Those interested in any of the above groups can message the Griffith Community Centre through their Facebook page or call them during office hours on weekdays on (02) 6962 4144. You can also just attend the centre at 1 Olympic St (next to the pool) at any of the times mentioned above.

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