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Hospital gives grief group home

The Pike County Grief Support Group is making huge strides in becoming an important asset to the county. With the help of Troy Regional Medical Center, it now has a permanent home and another branch of the group specifically for grieving youth.

The group will meet for the first time at TRMC on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

"Troy Regional Medical Center has been of great assistance in trying to help the group move forward," charter member Jennifer Garrett said. "Due to so many tragic events in recent months, they see a need to help members of the staff along with the community as a whole."

Garrett said the hospital's Health Education Coordinator Terry Watkins has gone above and beyond in supporting the support group.

"Jennifer Garrett called me about a year ago and shared her personal story with me," Watkins said. "I was quite moved by that."

She said TRMC is working to expand its overall patient care to include family support and the Pike County Grief Support Group fits perfectly under that umbrella. The hospital in turn is helping the support group to expand its services to youth as well as adults.

"Teenagers grieve in such a way that makes it hard for them to get their grief out," Watkins said. "We need to focus on the kids as well as the adults and help the whole family."

For the first time, a youth support group will meet in conjunction with the adult support group on Thursday.

The support group is also putting a little more structure into their meetings, although sharing personal experiences will still be a big part of the group.

"The group is made of everyday people who have suffered a loss of a loved one or friend," Garrett said. "Most who attend find it helpful to talk to others who have had a similar loss."

The group's affiliation with TRMC gives them access to trained, reputable counselors who can speak to the group and give the members some guidance as they go through the grieving process.

"Susan Simmons will be our guest speaker (at our next meeting)," Garrett said. "She specializes in stress management. She plans on speaking to the group about stress during the grief process."

Watkins said Troy State University's counseling and guidance department, with the help of Dr. Casey Tobin, will also offer its services to the group.

The Pike County Grief Support group meets Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the TRMC boardroom. A special support group for youth will meet at the same time in a second-floor classroom. Garrett said adults and teenagers who are dealing with any kind of grief are welcome to attend.