Support Groups - Mental Illness

Purpose: 

To provide an opportunity for people living with a loved one who has a mental illness to share their thoughts and feelings and receive emotional support, understanding, and education.

Locations

Belleville, IL (Main St.)

Carbondale, IL

Clinton County, IL

Holland, MI

St. Louis, MO

Greater Milwaukee area, WI

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OUR APPROACH:

  • Reading, discussion, and education based on the nine strategies found in the book “A Balanced Life” for families of anyone with a mental illness.
  • 90 minute meetings monthly or bi-monthly.
  • Check-in opportunities allowing participants to share their experiences and receive feedback from the group.
  • Trained support group facilitators.
  • Provide periodic expert panels discussing topics ranging from medication, counseling, legal, or grief.
  • Individual or in-home family support sessions outside the full support group setting (Visits with Families).
  • Provide financial aid for additional individual counseling as needed by a family member without insurance. 

 IN PREPARATION FOR YOUR FIRST MEETING:

Our mental health support group focuses on KSF’s nine strategies for coping with the mental health problems of your loved one. Each meeting begins with introductions and short “check-in,” then we focus on one of the strategies. Cross-talking, sharing, and responding are welcomed and helpful throughout the meeting. Support groups are provided at no cost to attendees. Pre-registration is not required. Contact info@karlasmithfoundation.org for more information.

The Karla Smith Foundation (KSF) support groups offer the opportunity to share openly and learn from other family members and friends who experience similar situations.

 KSF knows that attending a support group for the first time might seem intimidating. No one is forced to speak or share - often people come to listen and understand. We welcome this. Through experience, we have learned that often a collective head-nod from the group members goes a long way towards easing anxiety and knowing you are not alone. We always welcome new members to join our support groups.

A commitment to attend a certain number of meetings is not required. Attend once, twice, every meeting – as you are comfortable. We are here to help. Whether you attend one or multiple meetings, we have accomplished our mission if you have learned, felt supported, and you know that you are not alone.   Through our experiences, we have seen how a network of supportive group members can be a helpful aide when coping with suicide grief or mental health problems of your loved one.

Our mental health support group focuses on KSF’s nine strategies for coping with the mental health problems of your loved one. Each meeting begins with introductions and short “check-in,” then we focus on one of the strategies. Cross-talking, sharing, and responding are welcomed and helpful throughout the meeting.

KSF is a non-denominational organization and welcomes any person regardless of religious or non-religious preference. We do however close each KSF support group meeting with Karla’s version of the Serenity Prayer. A year before she died, Karla added the second verse to the widely-known prayer and prayed it daily. KSF believes strongly in Karla’s message for hope and peace through this prayer.

PLEASE NOTE:

We kindly request the consumer (the individual with the mental health problem) does not attend our family support groups. Please contact KSF and we will help you find a support group for the consumer.

I want to thank you both and the group for helping me cope with the loss of my daughter. I will be forever grateful. I still have my moments, but I could not have made it this far without KSF. Attending the meetings is one of the best things I did for myself.”
Susan Hall, O'Fallon, IL

The Tattered Tapestry:Buy the Book > The Tattered Tapestry Book
The Unique Grief of Suicide: Buy the Book >The Unique Grief of Suicide Book

Support Groups

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Emily Smith

"Because we are building a nationwide community of support and awareness."
Emily Smith