Grief & Bereavement Program

Children & Teens Dealing With Loss

Our vision at Omega House is to be a leader and resource for all community members including children and teens faced with the loss of a loved one.  At Omega House we realize loss can affect anyone at any time, especially those who experience it at an early age in life.   While there are programs and support groups for adults, – there are few educational materials directed at helping teens cope with change and loss.   Loss includes more than the death of someone close to us. Divorce, a friend moving away, an important relationship ending, a life changing injury or illness can all lead to significant grief responses.  Signs and symptoms of teen grief may include:  sleep disturbances, anger and hostility, issues affecting learning and focusing, emotional frustration and confusion, questions regarding mortality, and alcohol/ drug abuse.

For most children, death is a new experience. And like all new experiences, the unknown can be confusing and frightening. Most children do not know what to expect following the loss of a family member or friend. Young children may not understand what death really means and may be confused or even frightened by the reactions of other family members. In the case of traumatic death, the confusion and fear is even greater.  Each child grieves the death or loss of a significant person in his or her own way. As reactions can vary according to age, ability to understand loss, and personality, children in the same family may react differently. Some children develop traumatic grief responses, making it more difficult to cope. When this happens children get “stuck” in negative images, thoughts and feelings about the death. This can make it harder to do schoolwork, behave at home, and interact well with friends. Parents and caregivers can play a key role in helping children learn healthy ways to manage their feelings. In addition, adults caring for children who experienced the traumatic death need help with their feelings and reactions so they can support their children and model positive coping.

Omega House was awarded a grant from the Keweenaw Community Foundation through the Youth Endowment Fund.  We used these funds to purchase 2 sets of DVD’s that deal with coping and loss.  Below is a listing and description of the materials available at Omega House.

  • A Child’s View of Grief – Informative, easy to understand video by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, PHD explaining how children and adolescents grieve after a loved one dies.  It offers helping guidelines for caregiving adults.  An excellent resource for parents of grieving kids.
  • A Teen’s View of Grief – In this 40 minute video, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, PHD includes in-depth information and compassionate advice from actual bereaved teens. An excellent resource for caregivers, teachers and parents.
  • Dealing With Loss, Death, and Grief (DVD & Guide) – Middle-school students who experience a loss caused by divorce or the sudden death of a classmate, friend, or family member are often coping with this kind of devastation for the first time. This program combines real teens’ revelations with commentary by an expert to help students understand their many feelings, avoid negative ways of coping, and learn where they can turn for help during a very difficult time.
  • Helping Teens Cope with Death – This 21 minute video is a window into the lives of 6 grieving teens providing insight to the thoughts, feelings, and changes that teens often experience.  This video is a good resource for training purposes, or for general viewing by teens, parents, therapists, counselors, and others.
  • Understanding Suicide, Supporting Children – A must have resource for therapists, counselors, teachers and school administrators, clergy and anyone wishing to understand and support children, teens and families affected by suicide.  This 24 minute DVD provides a deeper look into the emotions and experiences of children, teens and families, and offer ways to help.

Our goal is to lend these educational videos to any student, family member or anyone affected by loss at no cost as a resource in working toward a positive healing.  All materials will be ready for use by February 1, 2017 and can be checked out from Omega House by calling us at 906-482-4438 or e-mail me at michael.lutz@omega-house.org.