Dear Friends of Good Grief,
It is my honor to share that as a finalist for the NJBIZ 2019 Healthcare Hero Award , Good Grief was recognized as an organization making a significant impact on the quality of healthcare in New Jersey.
Childhood bereavement is not a public health outlier; it is a consistently unaddressed public health threat.
According to the JAG Institute , 1 out of 7 children experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 25 in New Jersey. The lack of attention childhood bereavement receives is, in part, the result of this public health threat falling victim to a culture that is uncomfortable with its mortality. This discomfort comes at an extraordinary cost to children, who find themselves in a world in which adults and institutions do not know how to address the emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of their grief.
Childhood bereavement is a public health threat because on the other side of death awaits diseases of despair and toxic stress for those children who are not in responsive environments that provide support, empathy, and resources. While grief is a normal part of the human situation, our culture’s lack of resources and responsiveness made available to children facing this adversity put them at risk.
THERE IS GOOD NEWS! THERE IS A WAY TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF THOSE GRIEVING.
Every month, Good Grief supports more than 750 participants at its Morristown, Princeton, Newark, and Jersey City locations. We support children in classrooms and at our summer camp . We educate their parents. Additionally, Good Grief advocates for children through thought-leadership and national partnerships like Option B and the Funeral Service Foundation . While there is a wellspring across the nation with programs in many communities there still is not nearly enough.
HOPE CAN BE FOUND IN GOOD GRIEF’S RESULTS.
In the centers:
- 94%: Good Grief is a supportive community that improved their sense of connection and belonging with others.
- 90%: Good Grief provides a safe environment to explore their feelings.
- 94%: Grief helped to reduce their sense of isolation and loneliness.
- 93% learned how to be resilient.
- 95% learned the impact of loss and adversity on health and wellbeing.
- 93% learned how to identify and express their emotions to others.
- 95% learned healthy coping options in response to adverse experiences.
- 92% learned the importance of empathy to support peers facing loss and adversity.
WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR NJBIZ’S RECOGNITION, AND I’D LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO CALL UPON:
- Communities to enter into dialogue about the social and emotional wellbeing of children facing adversity. We need childhood bereavement to come out of the shadows.
- Foundations to urgently address childhood bereavement by responding appropriately with increased investments in adverse childhood experiences, particularly childhood bereavement since there is so much work to be done as a result of its stigmas and the scope of its far reaching impact.
- Corporations to address grief in the workplace and support bereavement programs in the communities where you are established so that your employees and their families have the support they need.
- Schools to teach resilience and engage the difficult lessons in life.
- And all of us to respond to those around us who are grieving.
There is no quick fix to childhood bereavement.
Childhood bereavement requires all of us to think differently, respond empathically, and change how we care for and educate children. It starts with opening a dialogue about this difficult topic so that our discomfort is lessened and we can be fully present to our children, who will soon be the healthy adults we need them to become.
Joe Primo, Good Grief CEO
NJBIZ Public Health Hero Finalist