The Good in Grief 

By: Stefanie Williams, Preventionist

On March 27th 2024 The Mental Health Association hosted the agency Good Grief whom provided an extensive and informative, four-hour training to staff members. Good Grief is an organization started in 2004 that provides direct programming to children and their families who may lack advocates in their grieving process. With locations in Morristown and Princton, Good Grief provides Peer Support Programs such as; Nights of Support, Peer Support, and Enrichment Programs.

The training was built to educate participants in learning the critical issues in childhood bereavement. It was said that “1 in 12 children in the U.S will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18”. We took an in depth look at what grief looks like and how it can be presented. Grief is not just an emotional reaction, it is an emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual experience. Often when we think of death and dying we think of the physical- the loss of a person or loved one. However, loss can come in the form of divorce, deportation, deployment, illness, incarceration, loss of innocence, and so much more.

During the training, PIK staff Stefanie Williams and Megan Gaeb, along with MHA staff emersed themselves into an interactive experience similar to that of a Support Group to which participants of Good Grief would look like. They shared stories of their “Loss Lines” (a journey or story of loss that is personal to them) and sat with their group in silence without feedback or consolation. Everyone was able to share their Loss Line stories without interruption and share whenever they felt comfortable to. After everyone was finished we debriefed and shared our thoughts as a group. The experience was cathartic and non-stigmatizing.

The training presented by Good Greif was able to personally bring out deep rooted feelings that an individual may not have been in tuned with previously with its interactive nature. The presenters were engaging, empathetic, and interactive. During the training they left us with a quote from Brene Brown, “We live in a culture where people need us to move through our grief for the sake of their own comfort and grief does not have a timeline.” It is said that it takes up to 6 years to deal with loss however, Good Grief is there to support you and your loved ones for as long as you need.