Grief group looks to support young adults through loss

Mar 7, 2019

As the number of lives lost to opioids continues to grow in the Rochester area, a new support group has formed to reach out to young adults who have lost friends and loved ones.

Becky Baker, who helped organize the group, said an all-ages grief group that formed last summer has been so popular that it’s outgrown successive meeting places from an Irondequoit garage to a church.

A flier invites young adults to a newly formed support group.
Credit Becky Baker and Kelsey Hansen / Substance Overdose Awareness Recovery Services

But, Baker said, the group has lacked a space devoted to the needs and experiences of young adults.

Those people “need a place where they can go as well, and maybe talk more freely than they would with a bunch of us old farts,” Baker said.

Recent research has also found that young adults can experience grief differently than older adults, and they may benefit from different kinds of support.

But deaths due to opioid overdoses are happening so often, Baker said, that young people are almost becoming immune to it.

“They bury a friend, and then they just go on,” she said. “But you gotta get it out, you gotta talk about it, because I think down the road, it will affect you.”

Baker, who lost her son to an overdose in 2016, now dedicates much of her time to helping people get into treatment for addiction.

She often fields calls from young adults looking for advice on how to get treatment for themselves or a friend. And she said a shortage in treatment facilities locally means those people too often end up dying.

“My phone doesn’t stop ringing,” Baker said.

The most important aim of the new group is to help young people who have lost someone they love to drugs or other causes to know that they are not alone, said Baker.

Weekly meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursdays at Unity Hospital in Greece.