Responding to COVID-19 | Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
Responding to COVID-19
Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences have caused significant loss, including lives, livelihoods, social/physical connections, our usual ways of life, and how we grapple with death and mourning.
Grief is the emotional, cognitive, functional, and behavioral reactions a bereaved person might experience as a result of loss. Although grief is a normal process, in some it becomes prolonged or complicated, requiring intervention. Moreover, aspects of COVID-19 have made the grieving process more difficult, such as ambiguous loss that has no resolution or closure (e.g., social isolation during shelter-in-place), the need to isolate hospitalized patients, rendering families unable to visit or say goodbye, and disruptions in mourning rituals (e.g., not gathering for funerals).
Mental health and school mental health personnel are often not fully trained on helping patients manage grief, loss, and bereavement, especially in the types of situations seen during this pandemic.
Here, we highlight MHTTC training and technical assistance products and resources related to grief, loss, and bereavement, as well as a compilation of resources from other reputable organizations. A virtual learning series on grief sensitivity and grief counseling during COVID-19 will be available in the coming weeks.
MHTTC Upcoming Events:
Rural Social Isolation and Loneliness Series
Mountain Plains MHTTC
July 14, 10am PT / 1pm ET >Register
July 22, 7am PT / 10am ET >Register
July 28, 10am PT / 1pm ET >Register
Crisis Readiness, Response, and Recovery Webinar Series: When school starts back: Helping students, staff, and yourself cope with crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic
Pacific Southwest MHTTC
August 4, 3-4:30pm PT / 6-7:30pm ET
MHTTC Products and Resources:
This webinar gives you an overview of what grief looks like at any time but especially during a time of ambiguous loss. We talk about how to care for yourself and others in a time of uncertainty.
Talking about death and dying is always difficult, but communicating to families during pandemics like COVID-19 poses special challenges. This presentation discusses strategies for respectfully communicating with Latino families about COVID related end of life issues.
This document informs on what complicated grief is and how the Hispanic and Latino children and youth express it. It provides key aspects of Hispanic and Latino culture and three evidence-based interventions that have been proven to work to address the grieving process with Hispanic and Latino children, youths, and their families. Also, it covers how school personnel can manage this process.
Crisis Readiness, Response, and Recovery Webinar Series | Pacific Southwest MHTTC
Bereavement outside the context of a crisis is common – the vast majority of children experience the death of a close family member or friend. These deaths have a significant and often long-term impact on learning, social and emotional development, behavior, and adjustment. This series provides practical suggestions on how schools can talk with and support grieving children in general.
- Part 1 - Principles of Commemoration and Memorialization: Commemorative activities and memorialization in schools present opportunities for students and staff to take an active role in constructing an enduring memory related to a crisis event and to honor those whose lives were lost. This session reviews key considerations for planning commemorative and memorial activities in school settings.
- Part 2 - Supporting Grieving Students During a Pandemic: The current pandemic is associated with a large and growing number of deaths. This presentation provides practical suggestions on how schools can talk with and support grieving children in general. This presentation also highlights the unique challenges for supporting students during the pandemic and describe free resources from the Coalition to Support Grieving Students that can be used to address these challenges.
- Part 3 - When school starts back: Helping students, staff, and yourself cope with crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic: Registration link available above!
Pandemia: Restoring the Wounded Soul. Latino Reflections on the Meaning of Loss, Grief, and Rituals | National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC
This webinar discusses the experience of loss and grief for Latinos during the current pandemic, including physical and symbolic losses. The presenters discuss Latinos' values and rituals as they relate to the current pandemic. The importance of the therapeutic relationship is discussed as well as approaches and strategies that promote new rituals, new meanings, and transformative experience. Two case studies are included for group discussion.
Recording coming soon!
Rewriting Stories of Grief and Loss | Great Lakes MHTTC
This workshop looks at how clients/patients can find healing in the midst of the pain and suffering associated with loss through counseling and tools. Those losses can be the obvious losses due to the death of a loved one, the many losses associated with drug addiction, the losses of divorce and job loss, but also those ambiguous losses (death of an ex-spouse, decline due to dementia/Alzheimer's, loss of mental health, infertility, termination of a pregnancy, etc.).
Recording coming soon!
This guide highlights how school mental health leaders can – and do – work with and through crises; provides an overview of the crisis continuum; explores the intersection between school crises and school mental health leadership; and examines each component of the school crisis continuum (readiness, response, recovery, and renewal) by learning from voices of experience from the field. A complementary Reflection Worksheet is designed to help readers work through the guide.
This is the third and final session of the three-part webinar series, Making a Good Connection: Engaging Students and Families in School Tele-Mental Health, that is geared toward providers who are making the transition from in-person to telehealth services. Session content focuses on practical strategies and equity concerns related to engaging children, adolescents, and families using distance technology.
Dr. Pauline Boss explains ambiguous loss, its effects, its differences from ordinary loss and PTSD, and its complicating grief. She presents six culturally inclusive guidelines for treatment and intervention, useful regardless of your discipline. She also addresses self-of-the-therapist issues for these uncertain times.
Webinars and Trainings
Fact Sheets and Tip Sheets
Toolkits and Guidelines
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline is standing by 24/7 to support you during the pandemic & beyond. Toll-free, multilingual, & confidential support services are available to all residents in the U.S. & its territories. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained counselor.