More than 40,000 children have lost a parent due to COVID-19. Black children, who constitute 14% of children in the US, are 20% of those who have lost a parent. Chances are good, then, that some of your patients have been through one of the most significant losses they will experience in their whole lives. The support they receive now to grieve in a healthy way can make the difference between their ability to thrive and their descent into adverse outcomes ranging from school failure to death by suicide.
COVID-19 has changed the way children experience the death of a loved one. Although difficult under any circumstance, bereavement is even harder when mourners can’t gather. Barriers to comforting mourning rituals and supportive social communities can make it harder for children to grieve in healthy ways, while increasing the risk for maladaptive grief reactions.
“The training provided an interactive learning experience for a highly salient topic with limited community resources. The specific tools provided (for screening, treatment, and follow-up) and the network of providers are so valuable for sustaining this in practice.”