This post, part of our special series on the Coronavirus outbreak, was co-written by BGCA’s own Brian Hill and Kate Endries, both members of the National Alliance for Grieving Children.
The coronavirus pandemic has stopped the world in its tracks and required all of us to question the safety and security of things we once took for granted (hand shakes, restaurants, hanging out with friends). We have all been forced to forge a new path forward without ever stopping to breathe and process what is going on. It has shaken our collective foundation as human beings, which has caused a lot of complicated and sometimes confusing emotions for people.
Mad, sad, frustrated, anxious, annoyed, bored, scared, focused, hopeful, doubtful are just a few of the many, many emotions we find ourselves rotating through as the days of social distancing pass by. But another emotion, that many of us are feeling might surprise you: grief.
We are grieving. Grieving that the world we once knew is now different. Grieving for the experiences that we don’t get to have like vacations, weddings, graduations, funerals, concerts, baby showers, birthday parties. Grieving for the experiences that our Club members will miss out on, like school, Club programs, field trips, competitions, sporting events, performances, celebrations, friendships. And our Club members are grieving these too. We are all in this together, collectively grieving our loss of normalcy, certainty, and human connection.
It may feel like the whole world has been put on pause in the wake of coronavirus, but that’s only partially true. While so many of the things are closed, life is still very much happening. Bills are still due, babies are still being born, and unfortunately loved ones are still passing away. The National Alliance for Grieving Children was created specifically to help you navigate through these difficult conversations and the ebbs and flows of grief, whether it be related to death, or loss in another way.
BGCA has partnered with the National Alliance (NAGC) since 2010. The partnership led to the adaptation of many of the tools and resources found in the Be There toolkit to help Clubs support youth and families in times of loss.
NAGC recently released “Responding to Change and Loss: In Support of Children, Teens, and Families,” a toolkit focused on providing support during these difficult, and constantly changing times. The resource provides great content such as:
- resources for caregivers on supporting children and teens
- “How to Help Yourself” lists for children and teens
- Social-emotional development printable worksheets
NAGC is also continuously creating other resources specifically related to COVID-19, including a series of free webinars.
Unfortunately, we have all experienced loss in some form or another during time. It is more important than ever take care of ourselves, and take care of each other. You are not alone. Your feelings are valid. We are in this together.
If you find yourself or someone you know in need of additional support during this difficult time contact:
- NAGC: Find grief support and resources in your area on their website.
- 211.org: Comprehensive resource database that connects you to specialists in your area to find the services and support for your specific needs
- SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990: 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster
- Crisis Text Line: text “club” to 741741: 24/7, 365 day-a-year, national text line dedicated to providing immediate crisis text support for people who are experiencing emotional distress
- Mental Health America: Find services and support in your area, learn about more about mental health and wellness on their website.
Check back in with the ClubX Blog often for more ideas and resources on how to maintain your mental and emotional well-being during this challenging time. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Take care of yourself. We are in this together!
Get the latest updates from BGCA at BGCA.net/Coronavirus, find programming ideas at MyFuture.net, like the BGCA Youth Development on Facebook for YD updates including video from Sarah, and join the brand new BGCA Youth Development Community also on Facebook to connect with other Club staff on programming through coronavirus.
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