The Compassionate Friends Victoria offer a range of online support options to provide opportunities for bereaved people to connect with others who understand the grief journey, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from any location.
Skype “Video Chat” Support
Proudly supported by WESTPAC COMMUNITY GRANTS
Skype support is an opportunity to “video chat” one-on-one with another bereaved parents/sibling/grandparent, someone who is often further “down the track” in his/her grief. It is a safe environment to share thoughts, emotions and experiences, as well as gain insights into grief journey.
At present, the Skype program is only provided for TCFV members in regional Victoria. It will, however, extend to TCFV members in the Melbourne metropolitan area in the first quarter of 2018.
Below are answers to questions we often get asked about the Skype “Video Chat” Support program. If there is something else you want to know please contact The Compassionate Friends Victoria office on (03) 9888 4944. Outside Melbourne metro Free Call 1800 641 091.
What benefits does this peer support service offer?
Skype allows you to video chat with other Skype users. Often-times bereaved parents and siblings report a preference for face-to-face contact rather than phone contact. At the same time, they are restricted from support groups due to geographical distance, health issues and/or scheduling clashes. This is the principal reason why a Skype support service has been established. With that in mind, if you are not facing the above restrictions, we still invite you to use this service, as TCFV offers multiple services for the purposes of catering to individual preferences.
The Skype program offers the same peer support benefits of any other service (aside from a hug!); you benefit from the warmth, empathy and experience of someone who has travelled a very similar road.
How can I access this service?
To enquire about, discuss and/or access this service, please contact The Compassionate Friends Victoria – (03) 9888 4944 / 1800 641 091 (freecall from a landline) / firstname.lastname@example.org
When you enquire about this service, we can then organise for a peer supporter to contact you.
Is Skype a free service?
Using the Skype service is free if you are communicating from laptop-to-laptop, PC-to-PC, or mobile phone-to-mobile. You will need to have downloaded the Skype application (https://www.skype.com/en/) to be able to use it.
Who will my peer supporter be?
If you are bereaved parent, your peer supporter will be another bereaved parent, often-times someone who is further down the track in their grief. Similarly, if you are a bereaved sibling, your peer supporter will be another bereaved sibling, again often someone further down the track in their grief. If you would prefer to speak with someone of the same or opposite gender, or of a similar age, we will do our best to accommodate that, but this is of course subject to the availability of given peer supporters.
How often can I be in touch through skype with the peer supporter?
We all grieve differently. Many parents don’t feel the need of a support group until years after the death of a child. It’s all right to come whenever you are ready, whether it’s soon after your child’s death, months later or years later.
To ensure this service can be distributed to a wide range of bereaved parents or siblings, our policy is Skype contact between you and your peer supporter every 2-4 weeks. Whether it is every 2 weeks, 3 or 4, is negotiable between you and your peer supporter. The duration of a Skype conversation is 30-45 minutes.
If you find you are desiring further peer contact and support between Skype calls, we highly encourage you to access other peer support options: the phone support line (03 9888 4944, or 1800 641 091 free call from a landline), the Facebook page, the Guestbook (below) .
Given that a peer supporter is not a counsellor, what type of support, then, does she/he provide?
It is important to remember that a peer supporter does not provide the specialised guidance and support of a counsellor. A peer supporter instead offers support through empathy and shared understandings. However, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, complex mental health issues and/or extreme isolation we urge you to contact a professional counsellor and also, in the case of struggling with suicidal thoughts, counsellor-trained telephone support through Suicideline (1300 651 251) and Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467).
Is this a crisis service?
No. If you or someone you know is in immediate risk of harm we urge you to call 000 (police and ambulance). If you are struggling with feelings of suicide, we urge you to speak with a counsellor at Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) or Suicideline (1300 651 251). This is not a suitable service for crisis counselling, and if is used as such can pose emotional, mental and physical risks for both you and your peer supporter.
Is this service confidential?
Yes, like with support groups and telephone support, services strictly follow the tenets of confidentiality. Skype calls are not recorded, and the peer supporter confers with you solely, unless you specify you would like another peer supporter to be in attendance with him/her.
How long does my Skype contact with my peer supporter run for?
Again, this is something that can be negotiated with your peer supporter. One year is the set length, but if you wish to conclude your Skype contact before that time, that is okay. Equally there may be the possibility to extend it beyond one year, if this works for each party. In any of these cases, though, it is highly recommended that the relationship comes to a formal close. Otherwise, you or your peer supporter might be concerned about the welfare of the other.
What if I don’t “click” with my peer supporter?
Even with the best of intentions we do not always “click”. Although shared grief is a powerful unifier, we always need to take into account we are all our own unique personalities, and if a relationship doesn’t “click” this is not a failing of either or both parties. If you feel you do not “click” (and typically it takes 2 to 3 Skype contacts to determine this), please contact TCFV. We are always very happy to link you in with another peer supporter. Alternately, if you would prefer to cease using the Skype service, we are always very happy to accommodate that.
The TCF Victoria Guestbook is available for bereaved parents and siblings to write poems, stories, ask questions or simply write how they are feeling at that moment and to read posts by others. The Guestbook is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You will also find email addresses of other people in similar circumstances in the book that you might like to make contact with via email. You do not have to fill in your full name or your email address if privacy is an issue.
Please be mindful that while we are all travelling the grief journey, our journey is individual to us and we need to respect people may have different views. By using the Guestbook, you agree to follow The TCFV guidelines. These guidelines are designed to ensure the Guestbook remains safe and supportive for all participants.
To view all Guest Book entries prior to 2016 please click here as these entries are now archived.
The Compassionate Friends Victoria have a number of Facebook pages for bereaved members to connect with others, share posts and stay up to date with what is happening within the organisation.
We also have a closed (private) group for bereaved siblings; established by the Canterbury Siblings Support Group.
If you would like to be part of this group (where you can interact with other siblings through posting comments and links) click JOIN and one of the page administrators will be in contact with you.
Lived Experience Forum
The Compassionate Friends Victoria have partnered with SANE Australia to provide a moderated, confidential forum for bereaved parents and siblings. You can access the SANE Forums here. Once on the SANE Forum page, type in the search box a bereaved topic you are interested in and then select a topic relevant to you.
Please note this is an external link and The Compassionate Friends Victoria takes no responsibility for content and views expressed.
Disclaimer & Guidelines
Participants who utilise The Compassionate Friends – Victoria Inc. online support services agree not to publish any material, which is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive or violates any law governing vilification, harassment, copyright and intellectual property, contempt or privacy.
Please notify The Compassionate Friends – Victoria Inc. regarding any complaint about material. While The Compassionate Friends – Victoria Inc. accepts no liability for any material or links posted, The Compassionate Friends – Victoria Inc. will investigate all complaints. The Compassionate Friends – Victoria Inc. may remove any material in whole or in part without notice. The Compassionate Friends – Victoria Inc. may also re-publish some or part of audience messages.