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Grief Out Loud

Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by Dougy Center: The National Grief Center Children & Families in Portland, Oregon. www.dougy.org
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Now displaying: January, 2024

Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon.

Jan 19, 2024

When Sat Kaur Khalsa, MSW, was three, her older brother died in a drowning accident. After his death, he continued to disappear - his photos were taken down and no one talked about him. As she grew up, she learned the implicit lesson to be a good kid because her parents were already dealing with enough. She also learned that grief wasn't something you talked about or shared with others. Now, as an adult, she's working to make sure kids her age get to have a different experience. Sat Kaur is the Family Services Coordinator at Dougy Center where she supports children of all ages and their families after a death. In that role she has a special love for working the youngest kids - those who are 3-5 years old - and helping them have the chance to do what she didn't: talk about their people, express their emotions, and be with others who get what they are going through. 

We discuss:

  • Sat Kaur's role at Dougy Center & personal connection to the work 
  • What she remembers about being three when her older brother died
  • How his death changed her family and their dynamic
  • Learning the implicit lesson to be a good kid to not make things harder for her parents
  • Her commitment to being more open about grief with her own child
  • Why she loves working with preschoolers who are grieving
  • How preschoolers grieve similarly and differently to older kids and teens
  • Suggestions for age appropriate ways to talk about grief and loss
  • What adults can do to support preschoolers who are grieving a death

Be sure to check out our  Youngest Grievers Toolkit for books, Tip Sheets, activities, and more. 

 

Jan 12, 2024

What does it mean to be grief-informed? In 2020, Dr. Donna Schuurman, EdD, FT, and Dr. Monique Mitchell, PhD, FT, authored the paper, "Becoming Grief-Informed: A Call to Action," which outlines: what it means to be grief-informed, why it's so important, and Dougy Center's 10 Core Principles and Tenets of Grief-Informed Practice. This paper is based on the foundational understanding of grief as a natural and normal response to loss that is interwoven into a sociocultural context. It recognizes grief not as an experience that needs to be fixed, treated, or pathologized, but one that deserves understanding, support, and community. 

Donna L. Schuurman, EdD, FT, is the Senior Director of Advocacy & Education at Dougy Center. Dr. Schuurman was the Executive Director of Dougy Center from 1991–2015. Dr. Schuurman is an internationally recognized authority on grief and bereaved children, teens, and families, and the author of Never the Same: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Parent (St. Martin’s Press, 2003), among other publications. 

Monique B. Mitchell, PhD, FT is the Director of Training and Translational Research at Dougy Center. Dr. Mitchell is a nationally recognized authority on children, teens, and families who are grieving in foster care, and the author of The Neglected Transition: Building a Relational Home for Children Entering Foster Care (Oxford University Press, 2016) and Living in an Inspired World: Voices and Visions of Youth in Foster Care (Child Welfare League of America Press, 2017), among other publications.

We discuss:

  • Donna and Monique's connection to this work
  • What it means to be grief-informed
  • Why it's necessary to be grief-informed
  • Examples of responses that are grief-informed and not grief-informed
  • Seven core principles that describe what grief is and is not
  • Three core principles that address how to provide grief-informed support
  • Suggestions for how we can all work to be more grief-informed - for ourselves and others

Sign up for our Grief Education Webinar - Becoming Grief-Informed: Foundations of Grief Education. Thursday, January 18th, 2024, 10 - 11:30 am PST. 

Jan 5, 2024

The reality for Black individuals and families living in the U.S. is that death happens more often and earlier on than for their white counterparts. In the last two decades, these higher rates of mortality resulted in 1.63 million excess deaths for Black Americans compared to white Americans. Doneila McIntosh brings her personal and professional experiences with this reality to her work as a researcher studying the intersections of disenfranchised grief among African American families. Disenfranchised grief occurs when a loss isn't recognized or seen as valid, often the result of stigma. The disenfranchisement of Black grief is rooted in racism, which influences both the disproportionate rates of mortality and the lack of support for grief and grief expression. 

Doneila McIntosh is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota in Family Social Science with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Doneila has a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) in Theological Studies and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (M.A.). Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, she worked as a chaplain for nearly 10 years.

We discuss: 

  • Doneila’s current research on understanding the impact of disproportionate rates of death and grief in the African American community. 

  • Her personal and professional motivation to do this work. 

  • The desecration of sacred Black grief spaces. 

  • How structural racism leads to Doneila and other researchers having to “prove” the reality of disproportionate rates of death for Black people living in the U.S. 
  • The disenfranchisement of African American grief. 

  • How the language we use to talk about grief is rooted in culture and how that can be a strength.  

  • The gap in the research literature about Black and African American grief. 

  • Culturally specific interventions to support grief. 

  • How culture shapes grief expression. 

  • Doneila’s work to become literate in the historical & current context of Black grief and the cultural strengths she uncovered along the way. 

  • How her family honors her grandfather’s legacy. 

Follow Doneila on IG @doneila_mcintosh

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