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Support group for women leaving polygamy is starting up

Published August 13, 2013 7:35 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Breaking up is hard to do. Especially if you happen to be a woman leaving polygamy.

In an effort to help women leaving the polygamous lifestyle behind, Safety Net's Shelli Mecham is organizing a support group. It'll more or less be what you imagine: people sitting around in a circle discussing the challenges of a major life change.

Mecham — who works as Safety Net's Clinical Coordinator — said she has been wanting to organize the group for months in response to at least half a dozen people mentioning a desire for a place to meet like minds. The transition out of polygamy can be a disruptive one, and Mecham said the group will focus on topics in including parenting, life skills and dealing with change. She added that participants will ultimately determine the group's focus and direction.

"I don't want to restrict it," she said. "I look at it as a place to heal and move forward."

Information discussed in the group also won't be shared outside, Mecham explained, saying that confidentiality is a major concern in her profession.

The group will be limited to 10 women who have left polygamy. However, Mecham said that she is willing to organize other groups — for couples, practicing polygamists, or anyone else with a connection to polygamy — if demand arises.

The group will begin meeting in early September in Salt Lake City. For more information or to participate, contact Mecham at 801-487-7778, extension 1315. Child care will be provided.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @tribunepolygamy