Peer Support Groups
Willow House peer support groups bring together children, teen, young adult and adult family members who share the profound experience of the death of a loved one. These groups provide a place in which the challenges and feelings of the grieving experience can be expressed, where loved ones are remembered and honored, and where stories can be shared in a safe and non-judgmental place.
Willow House groups are free of charge thanks to the generosity of our donors and volunteers.
Currently, the following group sites are available in Illinois:
A Typical Evening
Families come together on group night for approximately two hours. The evening begins with a dinner which allows time to transition from busy days and to interact with others.
After an opening circle, Children and Teens gather in age appropriate groups led by trained facilitators. These groups offer activities designed to provide opportunity for expression of feelings, memorializing loved ones and sharing experiences. Children gain support, understanding and comfort knowing that their experience is “normal” and that they are not alone.
Young Adult groups bring together those who are grieving the death of a loved one and whose grieving process may be all the more isolating as they are also challenged in their new and changing adult lives, perhaps transitioning in their living arrangements, school, work and life of greater independence.
Adults gather in groups according to their loss. These sessions provide opportunities for mutual support and sharing. Education about the unique challenges of parenting grieving children and teens is an important component of the group meetings for parents.
Willow House group facilitators are staff members and volunteers who are carefully screened and dedicated to providing support to grieving families. All facilitators participate in a comprehensive 20-hour training; some have personal grief experiences and many are mental health professionals.
Survivors of Suicide Loss
Survivors of Suicide Loss support groups are held at Willow House in Bannockburn, IL. These groups are provided for children, teens, young adults and families who are grieving the suicide death of a loved one.
When a loved one dies by suicide, life is changed forever for the entire family. The isolation of grief is often complicated by the stigma of suicide. Parents and other care-givers usually have questions and concerns for themselves and their children. At Willow House, we know that grieving is a normal reaction to such a devastating loss. The emotions, feelings, thoughts and significant life changes that come with grieving a suicide death are challenging and frequently misunderstood.
Join a Support Group
For more information regarding services or if you would like to register yourself or your family, please call (847) 236-9300 or submit an inquiry below.
If you are interested in groups or grief support services outside of Illinois, please visit the NAGC website to find support for children, adults, or families in your area.
Expressive Arts Programs
Expressive Arts groups take place at Willow House in Bannockburn, IL. Group members participate in a range of activities together where they will remember their loved ones, develop coping skills and share their stories in a safe space. Expressive Arts groups are a hands on experience for family members of all ages.
Monthly Expressive Arts Groups
Participants from all group locations are welcome to attend and bring family or friends to Expressive Arts groups. Themes are sent out in advance and include a wide variety of activities, such as:
Summer Expressive Arts Series
Willow House offers two unique series of Expressive Arts over the summer. This year, projects included creating a memory pillow that incorporates the five senses, using photography to create a canvas of loved ones, and participating in relaxation exercises.
"The aftermath following these losses was the darkest and most difficult period of my life; for a long time there was only sadness and pain. All of that changed after my family found Willow House..."
"They are with others who are in the same situation, not having a dad (or mom) anymore. They can open up and not feel strange talking about losing such an important person..."
“I firmly believe that as we look back on the pivotal, early years of our loss, it will be through the efforts of Willow House that we were able to move forward, not afraid to look back, fully understanding and accepting our loss.”