Thank you to Peggy E. Galimberti, LMSW, ACSW and Nancy Biehn, from Ele’s Place Ann Arbor who donated their time and expertise to teach us how important it is to recognize grief in children, teens, young adults and their families. Although Washtneaw FAN’s mission is to help reduce the overdose deaths in our community, it is a reality our families are faced with in increasing numbers, especially during the COVID pandemic.
In their powerful presentation for our July Family Forum, Peggy and Nancy shared tips on how to provide support for a grieving person, particularly youth:
- Acknowledgment is the Best Medicine – Simply saying “I see you”.
- Be as honest as possible. Tell the truth, even when it is hard.
- Use simple, concrete, age appropriate language.
- Keep it simple at first. Giving too much information or too many
details can be overwhelming.
- Layer on information – adding on more details over time.
- Reassure the child that their thoughts, feelings or behavior did not
cause the death.
- Invite questions anytime.
They also pointed out there are common times we can re-experience loss:
- Holidays, birthdays or anniversaries of the death
- Life transitions such as moving or starting at new school
- Special events such as graduations, proms, a child’s sporting event or recital
- Grief triggers: A song, smells, or places that bring back memories
These suggestions are offered to assist in helping children and teens to mourn in a healthy way and continue life with hope and confidence. Both Peggy and Nancy encourage a visit to their website, Elesplace.org for more information, resources and guidance.
You can watch the recording below.