Local Resources Available For Teens Dealing With Grief

By Laura Heister

The hard reality of grief is that those who grieve for a loved one will likely do so forever. Learning how to cope with the experience of grief is unfortunately an obligatory part of life, but it can be even more difficult for a young person. Grief is complex – a labyrinth, and we all deal with it in different ways.

In order to help young people cope with their grief, adults need to educate themselves on the services that exist in their community. Because grief is different for each person, sometimes the best way to reach out to a child or teenager is through the help of other trusted adults.

Locally we have several services available for young people and their families that help with the grieving process.

In nearly every school in our region, an individual can make a referral to a Youth First social worker. They can help young people process grief through individual counseling and grief groups. Contact Youth First for more information at 812-421-8336. Another great local resource is Gilda’s Club, which works with youth in our community who have been impacted by cancer. Contact Chelsey Woolsey, Youth Program Coordinator, for more information at 812-402-8667.

There are also several great resources for coping with grief online. In the eCourse “Parenting While Grieving” from whatsyourgrief.com, parents are advised to face the difficult days with the knowledge that healing will come eventually.

“As time goes on the look and feel of grief will change,” the course guide states. “You’ll still have bad grief days from time-to-time, but eventually they’ll be outnumbered by good ones. And although you’ll still experience negative thoughts and emotions, their intensity will greatly diminish and in the space they once occupied something good will flourish. Because by making room for grief, you’ve drawn it out of the darkness.”

Another great website is www.dougy.org, the official site of The Dougy Center’s National Center for Grieving Children and Families. The grief resources are especially helpful as they are tailored to different age groups. Included on the site are resources on grieving for teens, written by teens.

By using local and online resources, adults can help to navigate the difficult experience of grief for a young person.

Laura Heister is the Vanderburgh County Teen Court Program Coordinator at Youth Resources.