It is imperative that every bereaved child, teen and their family from every culture and social circumstance have access to comprehensive, grief focused, trauma-informed, whole family, compassionate care. The Grief Club knows that investing in these vulnerable children and teens will help them build resilience and coping skills needed to adjust to a death and handle future challenges and in turn make contributions to building a healthier and safer society.
Grief is not a problem or an issue that can be fixed. It is a process of transforming pain and suffering into healing and hope.
Grieving children and teens is a significant issue in our communities that requires our immediate attention. Unprocessed and unaddressed grief can have a profound impact on the future well-being and mental health of those affected.
Nearly every state in the United States has a children’s grief center and many have more than one. Minnesota, however, does not have one focused on children. A professionally led grief center designed specifically for bereaved children, teens, and their families to receive grief services all in the same location and at no cost to the participants. Thus, leaving grieving children and their families with no central place to go for grief support. Grief resources for families are often fragmented, leaving mental health, academic, and behavioral services spread out across multiple systems in different locations.
This siloed approach limits the success of grief support due to various resources being difficult to access or to afford. A lack of insurance coverage without a diagnosis, and little funding for affordable or no-cost preventive services, are some of the barriers to obtaining high quality, comprehensive grief care. These barriers, among others, frequently deter families from receiving the support they need.
1 iN 14
According to the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM) 1 in 14 children in the United States are grieving the death of a parent or sibling. In Minnesota alone, over 71,000 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the age of 18 and that number more than doubles to over 181,000 by the age of 25.
Judi’s House. (2020). Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model. Retrieved from www.judishouse.org/CBEM.
Research has shown that childhood grief and trauma can lead to immediate and long-term social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties. Failure to support grieving children and teens can contribute to significant problems in the larger community. Individuals bereaved during childhood are at increased risk for psychological and behavioral health problems, including elevated rates of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress reactions, truancy, and substance abuse.
Additionally, difficulties with interpersonal relationships, academic functioning, and overall well being are commonly reported for bereaved children and teens. Research has also shown that these negative outcomes can be prevented through access to grief resources, which provide an opportunity to process, to adapt, and to grow. The Grief Club will not only provide this opportunity, but strive to meet this goal.