Good Grief Support Groups in Schools
On any day there are a number of youth in Ventura County who experience the death of someone with whom they had an important relationship: perhaps a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, a cousin, a teacher or a friend.
The death may be from illness, accident, violence, or suicide. In any school classroom at this moment there is likely one or more students in the midst of grieving. Although there are many common characteristics of the grieving experience, we each grieve in our own way and in our own time. Our reactions to grief are influenced by a number of factors, including the nature of our relationship with the one we have lost, and how the death occurred. Grieving students may need some support in coping with school demands while they are going through the grieving process.
Although grieving is a natural process, it is a process that may have a profound effect on school performance. Parents and teachers may notice changes in the behavior of a student who is grieving. Grieving students may find it more difficult to concentrate in class, more difficult to complete assignments, or more difficult to make decisions. Grieving students may be quieter, sadder or more withdrawn. They may be angrier, more irritable, more oppositional, or more aggressive. These changes in behavior may be expressed immediately after the loss, several weeks or months after the loss, or even a year or more after the loss. The anniversary date of the loss, holidays or other special events may trigger grief reactions.
Parents may consider informing the school counselor or school nurse about the loss. Easing some academic demands and providing more guidance in organizing and completing school assignments may be a needed support for some students who are grieving. Providing opportunities for students to talk or write about their grieving experience may also be very supportive. Parents or teachers may also refer a student to a support group if it available in the school or in the community.
Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice provides Good Grief Support Groups in
a number of schools in Ventura County for students during school hours. These groups are designed to provide students with a safe and comfortable environment that encourages each group member to:
- Explore and express feelings, thoughts and other aspects of the grieving process
- Improve understanding of the grieving process
- Decrease emotional pain
- Receive emotional and educational support
- Develop coping skills
- Encourage school success
- Create new social support systems
- Rediscover a sense of hope
For more information About Good Grief Support Groups or to make a referral to a Good Grief Support Group in the schools contact the School Program Bereavement Coordinator at (805) 642-0239 x775.