Local Support Groups

The following grief counseling and support groups are available in our region. These organizations offer help to people who have experienced loss through death. Your funeral director can offer additional information at your request.

Bereavement Support Groups in Des Moines
Below we have provided a number of local area support groups that you may want to consider after the loss of a loved one. All of the groups welcome new members and encourage you to be as active as you want to be. 

At the time of a loss and immediately after, friends and family provide a great source of comfort. But as the days pass, most of us find that the support and friendship of kindred souls who have suffered the same kind of loss is both helpful and healing.


BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUPS FOR :


Partnership Between Iles Funeral Homes and Amanda the Panda

Iles Funeral Homes and Amanda the Panda have partnered together to support children and families when someone they love has died. This support is provided through services which include: Weekend camps tailored to college students, children ages 6 – 17, and adults as well as support groups, Fun Days, and Holiday Support activities and programs. Amanda the Panda provides these services free of charge to our families. Amanda the Panda’s mission is to restore grieving children and families back into the mainstream of their lives through innovative services that provide hope and healing. For additional information call 1-877-533-4847 or visit www.amandathepanda.org

BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUPS FOR LOSS OF CHILD

Compassionate Friends
 Self-help organization for bereaved families after the death of a child.  Meets the first Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at Hamilton's on Westown Parkway, Children's Butterfly Garden Reception Room, 3601 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines.  Contact from other parents who have also had a child die, provides the opportunity to talk to someone who has "been there."  Lending library and newsletter available.  Sibling and grandparent support also.

Co-Chapter Leader: Cathy Peterson
catmarpet@q.com 515-993-4574
Co-Chapter Leader:  Mary Jane Nemetz 515-238-1198
Accidental Death:  Donnafred Hinman 515-226-2141
SIDA Death: Karen Wiederholt 515-274-3584
Suicide: Paul & JoyceScranton 515-965-2467

Iowa SIDS Foundation

The Iowa SIDS Foundation is a statewide non-profit health organization dedicated to providing emotional support to SIDS and SUID families, educating professionals and the general public about SIDS and funding medical research into the causes of SIDS.

406 SW School Street, Ste. 205
Ankeny, Iowa 50023
E-mail: info@iowasids.org
Contact: Patty Keeley patty@iowasids.org
515-965-7655 or 866-480-4741

Mommies With Hope

A biblically based support group for moms who have experienced the loss of a child (pregnancy, infant, or child loss). Moms are encouraged by connecting with and comforting one another through monthly "Hope" meetings and occasional social outings. Whether your loss is recent or abiding, all stages of grief are welcome.

www.mommieswithhope.com
E-mail: info@mommieswithhope.com
Contact: Teske Drake 319-404-0272

Loss of a Child for Parent Caregivers with UnityPoint

            Third Thursday of the month

            11:30 AM

            Iowa Methodist Medical Center

            Kelly Dining Room – Level B

      Contact Info:

     Anne Alesch, MDiv

     Bereavement Coordinator

     515-557-3169

     anne.alesch@unitypoint.org

 

     Heidi Larson, MA

     Bereavement Coordinator

     515-557-3204

     heidi.larson@unitypoint.org

 

BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUP FOR LOSS BY SUICIDE

Coping After A Suicide Support Group - by Polk County Crisis and Advcacy Services

Offers a safe, confidential support group open to anyone (older teens and adults) surviving the loss of a loved one through suicide. Meets the second Thursday of each month from 6-7:30 p.m. as well as the last Saturday of each month from 9-10:30 a.m. No charge.

Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services
2309 Euclid
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
Contact: Kate Gilmore 515-286-2029

AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has many resources for survivors; go to their website and search by zip code.

afsp.org

Homicide Survivors Support Group - by Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services

For family and friends who have lost a loved one as the result of homicide. Meets the third Tuesday of each month at our office from 6-7:30 p.m. No charge.

Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services
2309 Euclid
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
Contact: Sara McMillan 515-286-2026

BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUPS FOR LOSS OF A SPOUSE

Y.E.W.S. - Young Energetic Widowed Singles, Inc.

Started in 1984, the YEWS group is a social support group for adults who have experienced the death of their spouse. The regular monthly dinner is held on the 2nd and 4th Thursday night of each month. The group dines out in a local restaurant with social conversation and dinner at 6 p.m. There is no meeting, just conversation, laughter and fun.

Contacts: Virginia Powers 515-255-1950
Volney Smith 515-987-3388

Grieving the Loss of a Spouse/Partner with UnityPoint

Women’s Group Discussion

            First Monday of the month

            10:00 AM

            Iowa Lutheran Hospital

            Conference Room 1 – Main Level

 

Men’s Group Discussion

            First Monday of the month

            10:00 AM

            Iowa Methodist Medical Center

            Bierring Dining Room – Level B 

 

Social Coed Luncheon

            Third Monday of the month

            11:30 AM

            Iowa Lutheran Hospital

            Cafeteria – Level B

      

      Contact Info:

     Anne Alesch, MDiv

     Bereavement Coordinator

     515-557-3169

     anne.alesch@unitypoint.org

 

     Heidi Larson, MA

     Bereavement Coordinator

     515-557-3204

     heidi.larson@unitypoint.org

 

BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUPS FOR GRIEVING CHILDREN

AMANDA THE PANDA SUPPORT GROUPS

Children (ages 6-17) grieving the death of a loved one meet in separate groups with two facilitators per group for 8 weeks on Monday evenings in the fall, winter and spring. Starting at 6:00 p.m. a meal is served and groups conclude at 7:30 p.m. No Charge.

www.amandathepanda.org
1000 73rd St., Suite 12
Windsor Heights, Iowa 50324
Contact: Charlene Kiesling 1-877-533-4847

CAMP AMANDA - for grieving children, teens and adults

This weekend grief camp is held in April and September for grieving children (6 years and older), teens and adults. Camp dates and application forms are posted on the website. No charge.

Contact: Charlene Kiesling 1-877-533-4847

DADDY'S LITTLE ANGELS - ages 12 and under

A support group started in 2006 for children ages 12 and under, whose dads have died. There are monthly activities planned, either a meeting, a social or an outing.

E-mail: jnichols511@msn.com
Contact: Jana Nichols 515-962-0614

STEPPING STONES - ages 3-5 and 6-10

A six week program designed to encourage children, who have experienced the loss of a loved one, to share their experiences, identify and understand their feelings, clarify misunderstandings about death and dying and strengthen their faith in Jesus. Meets in conjunction with GriefShare.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
8301 Aurora Ave., Urbandale, Iowa 50322
www.gloriadeionline.com
Contact: Pastor Tim Phillips 515-276-1700

GRIEF RELIEF - by Hospice of Central Iowa

Grief Relief is a three hour event, twice a year; open to grades 7-12. This session is about handling the grief that comes after someone dies. Free of Charge. Call for location and registration.

www.hospicesofcentraliowa.org
Contact: Bereavement Counselors 515-274-3400

TEENS TOGETHER GRIEF SUPPORT - by Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

An interactive discussion-based curriculum which helps teens who have lost a loved one go through the grief process with others who are experiencing the same emotional situations. Activities take place at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.

www.gloriadeionline.com

Contact: Pastor Tim Phillips
tphillips@gloriadeionline.com

515-276-1700

BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUPS FOR ALL

TOG
TOG "Touching Our Grief" is ongoing grief support sessions for adults surviving the death of someone loved. Support group available in West Des Moines. No charge. Call for dates, times and locations of groups outside of West Des Moines.

2910 Westown Parkway, Suite 200
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
www.hospiceofcentraliowa.org
Contact: Bereavement Counselors 515-333-5810

SEASONS OF GRIEF - byUnityPoint Hospice 

 Grief support group for adults over age 18. Group meets the first Monday of every month. Group is offered at Iowa Lutheran Hospital from 10:00 a.m. to noon. No charge. 

Contact: Ann Alesch 515-557-3169 

"Supper Gathering"- Adults who are grieving the death of a loved one gather at a designated restaurant at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of alternating months. Supper is "Dutch Treat" ordered from the menu. Pre-registration is required. Supper Gathering provides socializing opportunity for people interested in Seasons of Grief (See above).

MERCY HOSPICE BEREAVEMENT SERVICES

"Soup Tuesday" - an opportunity to share a simple meal with others who have experienced the death of a loved one. Held the first Tuesday of every month, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Mercy Hospice-Johnston, 5820 Winwood Dr., Johnston, Iowa  50131

"Comfort and Coffee" - a monthly drop-in grief support group. Meets the first Friday of each month, 10 a.m., Mercy Hospice-Johnston, 5820 Winwood Dr., Johnston, Iowa 50131

"The Men's Group" - a non-denominational social group for men of all ages who have experienced the loss of a loved one: spouse, parent, child, friend. Times and dates vary.

"Pathways through Grief" - a multi-session grief education program offered several times throughout the year. Classes limited to 12.

"Managing Grief During the Holidays" - offers positive, creative suggestions for living through the holidays while experiencing the loss of a family member. Typically offered in early November.

 For more information, or to make reservations for any of the programs listed, please send an e-mail to mcasey@mercydesmoines.org or Contact: Mary Kay Casey 515-643-6147

Knitted Together: Crafting Through Grief with UnityPoint

            Fourth Friday of the month

            2:30 PM

            Clive Public Library

      Contact Info:

     Anne Alesch, MDiv

     Bereavement Coordinator

     515-557-3169

     anne.alesch@unitypoint.org

 

     Heidi Larson, MA

     Bereavement Coordinator

     515-557-3204

     heidi.larson@unitypoint.org

 

Grieving the Loss of a Parent with UnityPoint

            First Tuesday of the month

         6:30 PM

         Dinner at a designated restaurant

       Contact Info:

     Anne Alesch, MDiv

     Bereavement Coordinator

     515-557-3169

     anne.alesch@unitypoint.org

 

     Heidi Larson, MA

     Bereavement Coordinator

     515-557-3204

     heidi.larson@unitypoint.org

SUPPORT GROUPS

AMANDA THE PANDA SUPPORT GROUPS

Adults grieving the death of a loved one meet with two facilitators per group for 8 weeks on Monday evenings in the fall, winter and spring. A meal is served at 6:00 p.m. and groups conclude at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge. (Groups are available for children and teens 6-17 at the same time.)

www.amandathepanda.org

1000 73rd St., Suite 12
Windsor Heights, Iowa 50324
Contact: Charlene "Charlie" Kiesling
1-877-533-4847

 

GRIEF COUNSELING

CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE DIOCESE OF DES MOINES

Services provided to families, couples, and individuals struggling with a variety of issues including grief, loss, sexual abuse, and family conflict.

601 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Information: 515-237-5045

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES OF IOWA

Strengthening Families and Restoring Futures. Licensed clinicians that are caring and compassionate to assist families in healing through grief and loss and other life situations/events. A non-profit organization that provides counseling on a sliding scale or ability to pay basis for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. Evening hours available.

1111 University Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa
Contact: 515-288-1981

Fax: 515-288-9109

www.cfiowa.org

DES MOINES PASTORAL COUNSELING CENTER

Counseling that provides understanding, hope and healing in a variety of areas including: grief and loss, anxiety, depression, stress, self-esteem, relationship problems, parent-child issues, and spiritual matters. Compassionate counselors take a mind, body and spirit approach to helping individual adults, couples and families to live more fully. Innovative services for counseling children and adolescents. An independent non-profit organization providing counseling through insurance and/or on a sliding scale or ability-to-pay basis. Office hours 8-6 Monday-Friday, evening hours available.

www.dmpcc.org
2929 Westown Parkway, Suite 110
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Information: 515-274-4006

WESLEYLIFE GRIEF SUPPORT

"Growing in Grief"
3rd Monday of each month, 7-9 p.m.
5508 NW 88th Street
Johnston, Iowa 50131

Widower's Support

Meets simultaneously
For more information please call Char at 515-271-6765