Pacific Southwest School and Mental Health Grief Readiness Series

Join us to get ready, together, to support ourselves, our staff, and each other during the holiday and winter season 

Register here for the Grief Readiness Series by Monday, November 15, 2021  


For this series, the Pacific Southwest MHTTC is partnering again with Workplace Resilience, a national non-profit and leader in peer-led collective grief care, and with the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. Together, our faculty offers deep experience with grief, life after loss, and working in grief-centered workplaces. 



In spring 2021, we hosted a pilot program entitled School Mental Health Grief Readiness Lab. The spring Readiness Lab built on the session that Workplace Resilience led at the MHTTC Grief Sensitivity Virtual Learning Institute in fall 2020. 



This November-December 2021, we open the program not only for school mental health providers, but also for the general mental health workforce in our region to learn together.  

The output of this series will be deepened grief sensitivity, and both the framework and vocabulary for a Grief Readiness Plan. The Grief Readiness Plan you develop for your department or organization can be geared towards supporting your clients or students, supporting your workforce, or both.   



The School and Mental Health Grief Readiness Series is on November 18, December 2, December 9, December 16.* All sessions are from 3-5 p.m. PT / 1-3 p.m. HT / 12-2 p.m. American Samoa (view your time zone).  

*Note that December 16 is an optional session for open office hours with faculty for extended support. 



We’re specifically inviting school and mental health systems leaders and influencers (state, district, county) from the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, California, Nevada, and Arizona. Together, we will explore how grief is impacting your workforce, as well as help you hone your skills and gain knowledge to become more grief literate.  


Sample roles who might benefit from this series include, but are not limited to: 

  • Mental and behavioral health professionals (clinician, psychologist, social worker) 

  • Foster support services professionals 

  • Youth and young adult peer professionals 

  • Recovery/addictions specialists 

  • Educators or education systems leaders or administrators 


While we highly encourage teams to attend, we warmly accept individuals to come as well.  



Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, there's an increasing need to develop infrastructure, policies, training, and awareness regarding grief sensitivity

According to research conducted by the Grief Recovery Institute, organizations lose $76 billion dollars a year due to mismanaged loss and grief. At the time of the research, it was estimated that one in four people are experiencing a loss at any given time; in 2021, we could easily argue that number is much closer to four in four, since almost every adult knows someone who has died due to the pandemic—whether family member, friend, or colleague. 

Ensuring your teams are grief literate, with a clear plan in place for how to navigate moments of grief-related absenteeism or presenteeism, is no longer a nice-to-have but rather a need-to-have when it comes to building strong organizational culture and effective team dynamics.  


Series Learning Objectives: 

  1. GRIEF READINESS 101: Gain deeper understanding of the emotional, social, and physical effects of grief, and its impact on school and mental health workplace dynamics.  

  1. TAKING STOCK: Reflect on current culture and policies (including crisis readiness) around grief and loss in your clinics, departments, service agencies, CBOs, schools, and districts, identifying areas in need of growth or change.  

  1. WHAT’S POSSIBLE: Define what Grief Readiness means to your school system, county, district, provider workplace, and beyond. Identify what the ideal scene would be for responding to grief and loss in your workplace, brainstorming solutions to the challenges surfaced.  

  1. BUILDING SKILLS: Discuss and practice management and leadership strategies to create a culture of support for grieving colleagues, staff, and employees.  

  1. GETTING READY: Develop your own Grief Readiness Plan to begin implementing in your workplace.

  2. CEUs are available through full participation in this series.  


 Register here for the Grief Readiness Series by Monday, November 15, 2021


About the Facilitators:


Carla Fernandez, Lead Facilitator  

Carla FernandezCo-founder, The Dinner Party & Workplace Resilience. Carla is a social entrepreneur and community builder focused on helping healing ideas enter culture. She is the co-founder of The Dinner Party, the only in-person, peer-led community for grieving millennials, now active in 100 cities and featured in NYTimes, NPR, and OnBeing and as a case study in almost a dozen books. Combining her decade of experience building The Dinner Party, and her tenure as founding team member and General Manager of creative agency enso, Carla and team have developed a training series for workplaces to develop deeper cultures of support when it comes to handling loss and hardship. Workplace Resilience has trained staff at organizations like Banner Health, Redfin, Warner Music Group, Google, and others, supporting individuals, teams, managers, and leadership on how to create psychologically safe workplaces that are better for employees struggling with a loss, and better for the bottom line.


Sundari Malcom, Co- Facilitator 

SundariDirector of BIPOC Wellbeing, The Dinner Party. At 27, and after seven years of being her Caregiver, Iana lost her mother to breast cancer. At 31 years old, she lost her father to brain cancer. Since then, Sundari has dedicated her life to the support of Caregivers and all those managing life after loss. Outside of her work as the Director of BIPOC Wellbeing for TDP, Sundari is a birth and death doula. She is a yoga and meditation teacher and leads wellness retreats worldwide with her company Bliss Out Retreats. She is currently traveling around the U.S. and Canada in a converted school bus with her husband and pit bull; writing about racial injustice on her blog; and talking about designing your life post pandemic on her podcast, The Collective Reset.


Dr. David Schonfeld, Support Facilitator 

David SDr. Schonfeld established and directs the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (, located at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He is Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine. For over 30 years, he has provided consultation and training to schools on supporting students and staff at times of crisis and loss in the aftermath of numerous school crisis events and disasters within the United States and abroad. Dr. Schonfeld frequently speaks on the topics of crisis and loss; has authored more than 150 scholarly articles, book chapters, and books; and has conducted school-based research.




Making Your Workplace Safe for Grief 

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