The tragic loss of three young team mates on Bainbridge Island has set us all reeling. Friends, families, classmates and teachers who knew the girls are grieving. The sense of loss, sadness, and triggering of memories extends to many more of us on Bainbridge Island, a close knit community. We think about our own past experiences, losses and close calls. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the young girls. This loss is superimposed upon the stress, anxiety, and often increase in depressive symptoms resulting from the pandemic. It is time to pause and care for ourselves as well.
The Dougy Center has excellent resources and activities for families, teens, children and others. I urge you all to view their wonderful website at www.Dougy.org. Additionally, this is an opportunity for all of us to consider learning skills of Psychological First Aid, a public health response that can be administered by anyone. Please go to bainbridgeprepares.org/teams/PFA to learn more.
– Linda S. Semlitz, MD, AHB Board President
Resources for Parents Supporting Grieving Kids
Raising Resilience board member, Lisa Gsellman, sat down with grief counselor, Nani Baran, MA, LMHC to ask how parents can support their kids as they process and grieve the loss of their friends and classmates.
Nani shared wisdom from her years in private practice and leading grief support groups through Harrison Medical Center. In the video, Nani answer’s some of the following questions:
- What does processing look like in teens?
- What are helpful conversations to have with our kids?
- What are some conversation starters?
- What if our teens need help beyond what we can offer them?
- How do we process our own grief while staying present for our kids?
Raising Resilience interview with Grief Counselor -Nani Baran, MA, LMHC from Raising Resilience on Vimeo.
Here are some top takeaways:
GRIEF IS A VERB
Each person’s grief is unique. Grief is both private and shared and the torrent of emotions is normal. Struggling with the paradox of holding grief and pain while wondering how life continues to swirl around us is also normal. We can hold beauty and sorrow at the same time.
REGULATING EMOTIONS HELP PARENTS SUPPORT CHILDREN
As much as possible, parents should rely on their own support systems to help them process and regulate their own emotions so that it’s easier to be there for their children.
DON’T RUSH THE PROCESS
Parents are the rock children’s waves cash against. At first those waves might be intense but over time the intensity, duration, and frequency will minimize. It’s natural for us to want to stop the pain our children are experiencing, but don’t rush through the natural emotions that are necessary for them to return to a more balanced state.
WATCH FOR ESCALATION
If your child was already experiencing anxiety and depression, be aware that a tragic loss of this nature can elevate that anxiety and depression. Double down on coping strategies like breathing and getting outside and seek professional help if you/they need it.
Resources and events to help you and your children through this process:
Bainbridge Youth Services: Bainbridge Youth Services – Supporting the whole student, every step of the way. (askbys.org)
Youth ages 13-21 can make an appointment to talk to a counselor on theirwebsite, or just swing by their office during our hours. Counselors are available to talk, support, and listen.
Helpline House: Social Services Bainbridge Island | Helpline House
Helpline House has therapists available during this time. Appointments can be made quickly with no expectation beyond single appointments to enter into an ongoing relationship with a counselor.
Tips for grieving teens: https://www.dougy.org/assets/uploads/Tips_for_Grieving_Teens.pdf
Teen Link (help line for teens):
Teen Link is a confidential and anonymous help line for teens. Trained teen volunteers are available to talk with you about any issue of concern. No issue is too big or too small!
AACAP Resource Library on Coronavirus (American Academy of child and Adolescent Psychiatry) (A great list of resources for coping with difficult situations):
The Dougy Center has excellent resources and activities for families, teens, children and others.
Bainbridge Review list of resources to deal with tragedy:
- Saturday, April 10, 2021
- 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
- Wild Grief Virtual Hike Habits are an opportunity to come together for grief peer support and nature connection from the comfort of your own home.
- Thu, Jun 24,2021 10:00AM & Sun, Jun 27, 20219:00 PM
- Explore the wilderness in your own neighborhood and meet with peers twice a day during this virtual, intensive 4-day experience. You’ll help one another deal with loss through reflection and guided activities.
1. GAP (Grief, Acceptance & Peace) 3-hour pop-up campThis mini camp will help you cross over the GAP from grief and trying to control everything to acceptance and peace.
Move from Darkness into LightRather than avoiding these feelings or trying to control everything that feels chaotic or out of control, we’re going to face these difficult emotions and cross the GAP to feelings of peace and tolerance.
Take Control of Your Emotions Some good news: even the most painful feelings don’t last forever. Using the Dream Up Now journal, you’ll discover that emotions are impermanent, and that you have everything you need to decide how you feel and what you think. Learning to take control starts today.
2. Transformational 6-Week Workshop Right now, at this very moment, you have feelings about many things: your life, your family, your friends, your school, your body, your home, your future, your food, your music . . . the list may seem endless. One emotion may be stronger than all the rest, or you might be feeling 10 different emotions all at once. Relief comes with the realization that every dark emotion has a companion, a “light” emotion. Both are normal and can happen anytime to anyone. Once you’ve faced your darkness, you can drag it out into the light and use art to change it in whatever way best serves you. This guided journal is your creative tool to turn your darkness(es) into light. Dream Up Now shows you how to use the power of a good day to make your life go the way you want. We believe that if you’re experiencing feelings of happiness, of confidence, and of power, then you’re in the perfect state of mind to begin building the life you want to live.
Move from Darkness into Light
This workshop will help you figure out who you are, what really matters to you, and where you want to go in life. You’ll learn how to have more confidence, strength, and self-belief when you use creative ways to turn your darkness into light. Take Control of Your EmotionsSome good news: even the most painful feelings don’t last forever. Using the Dream Up Now journal, you’ll discover that emotions are impermanent, and that you have everything you need to decide how you feel and what you think. Learning to take control starts today.
· Talking About Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child, Earl A. Grollman
· When Someone Very Special Dies, Marge Heegaard
Dream Up Now ™: The Teen Journal for Creative Self-Discovery, Rayne Lacko
- Thu, Aug 12, 20217:00 AM – Sun, Aug 15, 20217:00 PM
- Goat Rocks Wilderness (map)
- Teen Wilderness Trek is a 4-day backpacking trip for teens 13-18 who have lost someone significant to them.