A recent study conducted by The Voices of Grief Support and Education Center, in partnership with psychology professor Dr. Rachel Weiskittle, revealed that 84% of respondents had experienced significant grief. And yet, what does society teach us about dealing with grief? Generally, we are taught to suppress our feelings of loss, despite it being so prevalent. This is concerning because grief can affect us physically, mentally and socially.
The Voices of Grief Center exist to combat this critical social issue. With a mission to transform the way people encounter grief, the organization is working to shift the narrative around grief. The agency’s vision is to create supportive spaces to honor the natural process of grief and to educate our community in healthy expressions of grief and mourning. Strategies include support, partnerships, and education.
In visiting with Program Director, Sarah Lee, I learned that the grief network in our community is very disconnected. Their strategy around partnership is intended to fill the gaps and create coordination. The previously mentioned survey also unveiled that 33% of those surveyed were unaware of any resources for grief support in our community. Educating the community on the resources available; as well as promoting the importance of healthy grief and mourning is key to advancing this work.
Currently, the Voices of Grief Center is providing support groups using the Companioning Model to come alongside folks and give them space to grieve. This method provides a safe place where participants can be heard, accepted, and their grief can be acknowledged. The agency is building their foundation through expanding their facilitator team and increasing the opportunities. Additionally, they are building their support network through sponsorships.
Like many young nonprofit organizations, their biggest challenge they are facing is getting the word out about the resources available. Next month the Voices of Grief Center will publicly launch their work with two community programs. World renowned author, educator and grief counselor, Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt will speak on Exploring the Need to Grieve and Mourn and Exploring Grief After Suicide. Details on the workshop and registration can be found here. You can also learn more about this important work by checking out their website or reaching out to email@example.com.