Grief Support Services
Coping with death – the death of a student, a student’s parent or sibling, a teacher or staff member – is an unfortunate reality for school communities. According to Judi’s House/JAG Institute’s 2021 Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM) results, 1 in 14 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18. Children and teens whose grief goes unattended, are often at risk – emotionally, physically, socially and academically.
Due to COVID-19, Willow House will be conducting events and support groups both in-person and virtually. We continue to be available for schools and communities seeking support. We continue to be available for schools and communities seeking support. For more information, please contact us or learn more about our services during this challenging time. In-person services are subject to change and will follow all CDC guidelines and regulations.
Willow House school-based programs are designed to provide school personnel with the understanding and the tools they need to effectively support grieving students. Willow House has a long history of responding to schools needing immediate crisis support, professional development, and education on how to support a grieving student.
As advocates for grieving children and teens, we believe that students are best served when schools are proactive in their efforts to educate staff about the needs of grieving children and teens. Schools can be a natural and comfortable setting for students in need. Well-informed teachers and school personnel can be an important source of support.
During this program, qualified Willow House clinician(s) will provide a structured 8 Week Grief Group Curriculum and will work collaboratively with a clinician from your school to support a group of grieving students. School clinicians will feel empowered by taking part in this opportunity as they further their knowledge in dealing with grief related issues. Topics covered throughout the group may include grief education, identifying and expressing emotions, developing coping strategies, telling their story, recognizing and commemorating special days, preserving memories of the person who has died, while decreasing the feeling of isolation and building connections with those around the student. Groups can be held virtually or in-person at your school pending COVID-19 protocols.
A qualified Willow House staff member(s) will provide students at your school with an educational opportunity to enhance knowledge and understanding pertaining to issues concerning grief and loss. This will help “normalize” what goes on during the grief process and increase understanding and empathy for other grieving students. Education on how to support a grieving classmate can also be discussed.
An opportunity for teachers, school clinicians, staff members and community workers who are interested in furthering their understanding of what grieving individuals are going through and how to better support them through this difficult, ongoing process. This informative, educational opportunity can be conducted throughout the lunch schedule for staff members during the day or during an in-service time.
Willow House has developed a reputation in the greater Chicago-land area, answering the call to provide immediate and long-term services in the event of critical incidents such as the death of a student, teacher, or prevalent member of the school community. Crisis support can include debrief sessions, consultations, and grief educational workshops. We can address questions such as, “How do we deal with this community crisis?” or “How do we help our children cope with this crisis?” Unfortunately, our culture may have a difficult time supporting the needs of grieving students and families. Our goal is to educate and empower school staff to guide the grieving student or community.
Willow House also offers a full range of consulting services for those who seek more comprehensive information. Some examples include:
- Education consultation – how to help a particular student or family
- Support for anticipatory deaths within the school
- Provision of resources and educational materials
- Referrals to other mental health professionals when necessary