For Linda Duran, the need for a grief and loss support group emerged when students in her school had already experienced tragedy.
For 22 years, her group “Dealin’ with the Healin'” helped children heal from the pain and trauma of death, illness, family loss, and more. She was even able to help faculty members dealing with grief.Duran’s school’s climate improved greatly, and her group was well received by students, staff, and parents. They even witnessed an increase in academic achievement!
For anyone interested in starting a grief and trauma support group at their school, consider the following:
- Decide if it’s important enough to have a group. Are there serious underlying issues in your hallways, or do students simply need an adult they can trust?
- Get administrative approval.
- Prepare a parent permission form.
- Get referrals from teachers/students/parents. Keep in mind that there are instances where anonymity is important.
- Meet with each student individually to explain the group process.
- Keep clear communication with staff, including an attendance sheet, hall passes, a meeting calendar, etc.