As there are no free grief services specific to children and youth in the Nipissing and Parry Sound district, their main objective is to support children and youth with helpful resources for grief and loss. The project includes creating a package in English and French (tailored to ages: 3-5, 6-9, 10-13, and 14-16) which includes: a grief workbook, a blanket, an electric candle, a writing journal, pens and pencils, an age-specific toy, and a pamphlet of resources for children and their families about grief and bereavement. This project aims to provide practical support to children, youth and their families, and a way to break down broader level myths and stigma around grief in children and youth. The grief packages can be used as a method of starting a conversation with people who regularly interact with this population, such as schools, and other local organizations.
Children who experience grief through the death of someone they know, need unique support. This project aims to assist in building connection and community within the children/youth bereaved community. In this project, children and youth who have experienced bereavement (and provided consent) will have the opportunity to share their stories and experiences through a video diary. These diaries will be shared with other bereavement groups and children/youth involved with one-to-one support. The project hopes to create greater connections and awareness for the child grief community, assist in diminishing the taboo topic of death and children’s grief within society, and create another layer of support for children.
In May 2022, these videos were released on Youtube. Check out the full playlist here.
Kids Grieve Too and Teens Grieve Too groups help children and youth address grief that accompanies a death and provides them with tools to deal with future emotions. In these programs, participants take part in different activities, while parents and guardians are offered support in another group setting. Both programs run for 6 weeks and offer a grief support group for parents and guardians as well. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a greater need for age-appropriate peer grief support. Palliative Manitoba has understood this and created a training program for professionals in the industry to learn how to facilitate support groups in their own communities in Manitoba. The program will allow children all across Manitoba (including many rural areas) to access support, work through their grief and gain the tools needed to successfully handle future losses in a constructive, healing manner. The training program will also be translated in French, so it can reach and support more Manitoba families.
Kids Grieve Too is a therapeutic and educational support group for children ages 4-12 who have a family member who has died from cancer. Using an evidence-based curriculum, children are able to explore emotions, fears and connect with a community of peers with shared experiences around the loss of a family member from cancer. The program explores the many misconceptions children have around cancer/death, provides education, coping tools and skills, as well as empowers children by normalizing their feelings and experiences of grief. In order to engage the children online, children will receive a package mailed to their home full of therapeutic program supplies, which will be utilized during the weekly support group sessions. Supplies will include art-based activities and materials which will promote self-expression, emotional intelligence and effective coping strategies. Parents and caregivers will also be provided resources that help foster a further dialog at home and assist with promoting healthy coping strategies and maintaining connections within the family home.
The death of a loved one is one of the most devastating life experiences for children. It disrupts a developmental path and can have long-term negative psychological consequences. The Standing Alone and Receiving Support (STARS) Family Program is a 1 hour per week, virtual grief support group for children and youth in the City of Kawartha Lakes. The objective of STARS provide a safe, supportive virtual space for children to express their grief, and learn about the grief journey. The program runs 4 times per year in 8-week sessions. The STARs program will focus on art and play through activities exploring what is life and death, preparing for special memory days, how to interact with big feelings, finding support and supportive people, calming exercises and moving forward with a new self-identity. It will also include discussions of pandemic grief. Children participating in the program will receive kits of handouts, art materials, journals and tactile items to engage in the program. Parents or caregivers will receive letters with tips on how to talk to their child and engage in the activities.
This is a 3-day specialized art therapy summer camp for children between the ages 6 to 12 who have lost a loved one or have a loved one undergoing terminal illness. Children will have the opportunity to learn about, express, and understand their current grief.
Children will learn a variety of skills that will help them with remembering a loved one or adapting to a change in a relationship because of a recent loss. The main benefits of the grief camp include learning coping skills that will help children to understand and express their emotions, and building connections with others so participants are able to seek support when needed while feeling that they are not alone in their experiences.
A young carer is a child between the ages of 5-18 who is in a significant caregiving role, which can directly impact their physical and mental health, as well as their emotional and socio development.
As young carers experience anticipatory grief for the loved one they are caring for. This program will help each young carer to find the language to identify and communicate their feelings about loss and provide support to process their grief.
To help identify and communicate their grief, young carers will participate in 7 weekly 2 hour sessions for facilitated art-based activities designed to elicit conversations and feelings about grief.
Teddy bears often provide comfort and ease anxiety for children in times of stress. They are sometimes buried with the children and are very important to recipients.
To help navigate terminal illness and grief, children and their siblings at McMaster Children’s Hospital will be provided with a bear by a trained volunteer. The volunteer will ensure the child receives a new friend (the bear) to help them through their trauma. The bears will provide a warm hug, a symbol of support, someone who understands and will be there for them 24/7 during their journey.
Hospice Muskoka has offered one on one and group grief support to adults over the age of 18 for 25 years. Many of the families that attend grief support have children in their family circle that could also benefit from grief support.
Currently, in the Muskoka region, there is limited grief support available for children and youth. This project will focus on training staff members at Hospice Muskoka in providing children’s grief support. Staff will attend the certificate program offered by Andrea Warnick at Sick Kids Hospital. The staff members can then train other volunteers and new staff members at Hospice Muskoka to help provide children’s grief support and develop workshops.
This program will aim to support 24-30 families in the first year.
In Mission British Columbia, there is limited children’s and youth grief support. This area is home to many at-risk populations, who sadly, have seen multiple losses, many of which have been traumatic.
This 8-week program will support two grief support groups – one for children and one for youth. Both programs will include age-based activities for children and youth to share their experiences, such as art therapy, play-based therapy, field trips and outdoor activities. Parents and caregivers will also receive guidance for supporting grieving kids and youth at home.
Their aims include: helping children and youth understand that they are not alone in their grief and that others have also experienced loss. They want to emphasize that support is available to help them.
Currently, in New Brunswick, there are no services offered for youth experiencing the loss of someone by suicide.
This is a youth program for those experiencing the loss of a family member by suicide. The program involves a weekend retreat facilitated by grief therapists who have experience supporting grieving children and youth. Youth will participate in activities that include a peer support group, art therapy, music therapy, outdoor activities, and mindfulness. After the weekend retreat, a monthly follow-up program will be offered to keep youth connected.
They aim to promote a sense of inclusion for youth experiencing stigma and isolation around suicide loss while helping them connect with other youth experiencing loss by suicide.
Hospitals can be incredibly overwhelming and life-altering environments for children and their families. Recognizing this, the Children’s Hospital of Manitoba has implemented a remarkable hospital library program. This program offers families and children access to books, pamphlets, and CDs containing up-to-date and accurate child health information.
In line with their commitment to providing comprehensive support, the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba has set out to expand their existing Children’s Hospital Grief Package. This expansion will encompass the areas of oncology and the emergency department. These packages are distributed to families following the loss of a child, regardless of age. They contain vital resources such as contact information for local funeral and burial services, suggestions for creating legacies, a list of community support resources, as well as books on grief. All of these resources are intended for families to keep. The foundation aims to procure new books and bereavement items to enhance these packages.
Hospice Huntsville has partnered with up to three local libraries to organize events in November to raise awareness for National Grief and Bereavement Day and Children’s Grief Awareness Day.
During these events, families and children will have the opportunity to engage in various creative activities aimed at honouring their loved ones. Library sessions will also be conducted, providing access to children’s grief books that can be borrowed. Additionally, local support resources will be made available to attendees, facilitating awareness and access to services within the Huntsville area.
The primary objective of these events is to foster community awareness regarding National Grief and Bereavement Days while promoting knowledge of local support networks and services.
Canuck Place Counselling and Bereavement is dedicated to offering various forms of counseling and bereavement support to children enrolled in their program, as well as their families.
Recognizing the importance of providing a comfortable and expressive environment, Canuck Place aims to expand their existing range of bereavement tools. Through the use of music, art, and play therapy, children can better comprehend and express their emotions. The project’s goal is to upgrade and diversify these tools, which will include a play hospital, a doctor’s costume, sand therapy tools, music therapy equipment, bereavement books, and other related items. These resources will be directly utilized by children during counselling and therapy sessions, assisting them in processing experiences such as coping with a life-limiting illness, being a sibling of a child enrolled in the program, or navigating the grieving process.
As the sole organization in Central Okanagan providing compassionate care, comfort, and support to individuals of all ages facing the challenges of dying or grieving alone in the community, Central Okanagan Hospice Association plays a vital role. The increase in unexpected deaths related to mental health and overdose crises in our country has led to more complex cases of grief, particularly among children and youth.
COHA’s project aims to expand its current programming. This expansion will offer a greater number of local children and youth access to timely and relevant grief and bereavement support. Included in this initiative are one-to-one professional grief counselling and expressive Art Activity nights tailored specifically for the unique needs of youth.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, recent statistics reveal a notable increase in bereavement among youth in North America. Many grieving youth and young adults often feel misunderstood by their peers, leading them to seek connections with those who have undergone similar experiences. Recognizing this need, Crossroads Hospice Society introduces “Hearts into Arts,” a series of art-based support groups tailored for grieving peers.
The Hearts into Arts program aims to address the challenges faced by grieving youth by offering (a) opportunities for peer connections, (b) art activities to explore grief, and (c) an introduction to new coping tools. Art has been chosen as a transformative pathway for this expression, acknowledging the diverse range of mediums available to cater to various grieving individuals. Through “Hearts into Arts,” they strive to offer a supportive and creative space for young individuals to connect, share, and navigate their grief journey together.