Grief Support

It can be challenging to find the right words and responses when we see our children grieving after a significant loss in their life.  Sometimes, as caregivers, we carry the extraordinary burden of trying to piece things back together in the most challenging of times.  We will all experience death and grief in different ways, at different paces, and express them in individual ways.  

It would be wonderful if we had a script of how to respond and make our loved ones feel better, especially our children.  Unfortunately, there is no magic wand or words that can make everything “better.”  While it can be challenging and overwhelming to be witness to someone’s grief while managing our own grief, there are some things that we can do to help our young people, and hopefully ourselves, have meaning and closure through the experience.  The most impactful thing we can do for our children is to be present, listen, and help give words to what our children are experiencing. 

Here are several resources that may help guide the conversation:

External LinkHow to Explain Suicide to Children and Young People

External LinkThe Effects Death, Traumas And Disasters Have On Mental Health

External LinkTips for Talking with Kids about Death

External LinkSesame Street in Communities (SSIC) — Helping Kids Grieve

External LinkHow to Talk to Kids About Death, Step by Step

External LinkCoping with Cancer: Helping Grieving Children and Teenagers 


Additional resources for support:

Ele’s Place: 616-301-1605

Ele's Place offers ongoing peer support groups two weeks per month for grieving children and teens ages 3-18 via Zoom. Groups are offered at no cost to the families and assistance with technology can be offered on a case-by-case basis.  Age groups typically include: Preschool/Kindergarten, Early Elementary, Upper Elementary,Middle School, and High School. Groups allow children to realize they are not alone in this process by connecting with individuals their age while being facilitated by trained volunteers with oversight from clinical staff. Support groups for the child's parents or guardians are available and facilitated by trained clinicians.  If you have a grieving child in your life, please contact your local Ele's Place location to gain support at no cost.

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Gilda’s Club: 616-453-8300

Grief Support groups hosted at Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids provide a place to share and learn with others who have experienced the death of a person, from any cause, in their life.  Facilitated by licensed professionals, we provide specialized groups for adults, children, and those who have experienced traumatic death.  All grief support groups are offered free.

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Arbor Circle (Children and Family Counseling):  616-396-2301

When a child or youth faces mental health or other challenges, it can impact many parts of his or her life— from school performance to behavior at home and in the community. Our team works alongside families as they face these challenges, often providing support individually and to the family as a whole.

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Private Counseling/Therapy Service Matrix

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