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PostHeaderIcon Benefits of Bereavement Support Services

Because we live in a society where death and dying are rarely talked about and fears and discomforts with the issues involved keep the subject taboo, grieving is generally a lonely experience for adults and kids.  Sometimes teachers and parents are concerned that bringing up the subject, by sending a child to the support groups or camp, will make their pain worse or cause them to act out more, especially when they seemingly are doing ok.  Because there is a lot of pressure on the children to be ok and because they do not want to create more worries and stress for their grieving surviving parent, they tend to keep some of their grief issues hidden.  However, the pain is there.  At Courageous Kids we conduct an intake with each new family, to assess together the appropriateness of timing and kind of services for the youth.

Here are some of the benefits of participating in a support group or at camp as reported by the families:

  • Peer support: Children and teens alike tell us that the experience of being in a group setting with others who are dealing with loss is most helpful to them.  They can see that they are not the only one who has feelings of loneliness or anger or guilt, or who worry about someone else in the family dying.
  • Information and validation: Coming to a place where it is ok to talk about one's feelings and thoughts (or not!), where questions can be asked, where they don't have to worry about making a family member feel bad or sad, where they receive validation for their own individual experience, where they can share worries and fears, that only time will ease and where laughter co-exists with tears, can be a relief.  In addition, participating parents receive information about children's grief (what is considered normal and what is cause for concern) and how to support their child's process.
  • Opportunity to express grief non-verbally: The expressive art activities provide ways in which the children can express their inner states without having to use words.
  • Increased communication: Even when families report they have good communication between them, they often experience an increase with their children.