There’s an epidemic affecting the lives of millions of Americans. Loved ones dying by suicide or drug overdoses. It’s happening here in our community too. Parents, children, family members and friends are all touched by this tragedy. We are fortunate to have a wonderful resource in our community for those grieving over the loss of a loved one.
The Neighborhood House of Long Island (TNH) was created to help the bereaved cope with their grief from the loss of a loved one from suicide or drug overdose. They felt that there was a lack of hope, a lack of resources for those who so very much need help. This devastation does not discriminate, all around New York people are suffering. In Suffolk county, amongst the 7.5 million people who live here, we have the highest rate of both suicides and drug overdoses in the state. Our community very much needed a program like this. As the country struggles with the COVID-19 crisis, TNH has also developed support groups for those suffering from the loss of family from this virus as well.
Founded in 2013 by people who were surprised at the lack of resources in the Long Island area, TNH looks towards restoring hope in our community. After suffering an unexpected loss, the bereaved need a place to turn, a place to find comfort. The Neighborhood House is that place. Some of the services they provide to our community include:
- Support groups for friends and family who have lost a loved one due to an overdose or suicide
- Support groups for those who have lost someone due to COVID-19
- Community workshops on suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, internet/social media safety
- Support and help for those dealing with grief during the holidays
- Motivational speakers at schools
- …….and much, much more
At this time, due to COVID-19, support groups are meeting virtually, but the TNH is hoping their next session will be in person. The support groups are known as their Connections Program. All of those attending support groups began the meetings by sharing a meal together, and then break out into subgroups. After the meetings, the entire group will then rejoin each other for an art project. Starting and ending the sessions all together really fosters the feeling of community support and togetherness. The groups met for 8 week sessions and these programs are at no cost. If you would like to register for the Connections Program, please call 631-589-0055 or you can fill out an intake form here.
Home cooked meals are part of what makes the support groups feel welcoming and warm. TNH relies on these meals, and has set up a Neighborhood House Dinner Brigade. Through this, you can sign up for a date to provide a hot meal to the group participants. For more information, visit TNH online, call 631-589-0055 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this unique time in our nation’s history of quarantining during the pandemic, the support TNH offers is more important than ever. Executive Director, Michelle Virga, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Co-Founder of The Neighborhood House, specializing in bereavement counseling. “Grief can be misunderstood,” shares Michelle. “People don’t always realize it's a lifelong process that you don’t really get over; you just learn to live with it."
If you are not in need of TNH resources, but you’d like to offer assistance; there are many ways you can help this pillar of our community. Monetary donations are welcome and can be made by a check payable to The Neighborhood House of Long Island and mailed to 132 Clyde Street, #1B, West Sayville, NY 11796 or via PayPal using their website. You can also apply to become a volunteer, and help out in the office, with fundraising, or wherever help is needed.
We are fortunate to have such a wonderful program supporting individuals in our community. According to their mission statement, “We believe that by connecting with one another, we can restore hope, and with the restoration of hope, people will heal.” These words ring more true now than ever, and is something we can all take to heart.