Becoming Grief-Informed: A Call to Action

Professional pubs

Grief is a natural response to loss. How people grieve privately or publicly varies based on many factors, including their personality and what their social context has shown, taught, or demonstrated as “appropriate.” Mainstream society — as well as proponents of pathologizing some people who are grieving based on a set of “symptoms” — often implies that something is wrong with you if you don’t grieve in the “right” way and for the “right” length of time.

Here’s the problem with that thinking: Everyone responds to grief in a unique way and grief can last a lifetime…and that is completely normal. After listening to and supporting thousands of children, teens, young adults, and adults who are grieving the death of someone in their lives, and with pandemic-related deaths increasing, and more than 2 million deaths worldwide, over 400,000 in the U.S., it is time, now more than ever, to understand what it means to be grief-informed.

“Becoming Grief-Informed: A Call to Action,” written by Dr. Donna Schuurman and Dr. Monique Mitchell, Dougy Center’s Senior Director of Advocacy & Training and Director of Training & Translational Research respectively, is more than a position paper: It’s a Call to Action.

It is time that we as a nation take a stand and acknowledge grief for what it truly is: a natural and normal response to loss that is interwoven into a sociocultural context. Grief is not an experience that needs to be “silenced,” “treated,” or “pathologized.” Grief, and all the many complications it imposes on the griever, is an experience that needs and deserves understanding, support, and community.

Download the Position Paper

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