Support Groups

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"Because the stigma of mental illness is starting to be erased through our conferences, workshops, and through people becoming more willing to talk about mental illness."
Tom Smith

Support Groups - Mental Illness


Alton, IL

Belleville, IL (Main St.)

Carbondale, IL

Clinton County, IL

Fairview Heights, IL

Holland, MI

St. Louis, MO

Greater Milwaukee area, WI


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.

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 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.

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.

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

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