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Supporting Loved Ones Through Grief

Our community recently suffered a tragic loss of young life. The Board extends sympathy to the families and friends of those involved in this incident. We also recognize that many other people in our community have experienced loss throughout the year and wish to offer support and comfort to all.

It’s always hard for families to know how to talk to their kids and help them through a tragedy. Children may respond differently to grief. There may be a period of shock and numbness as some young people may not be able to intellectually or emotionally process the information. Denial, sadness, anger, and fear are also normal grief reactions.

One of the best ways to help, is by being present. When you ask someone how they are feeling, listen and use nonverbal forms of affirmation such as nodding. Check in frequently to see how they are doing. Keep in mind that not everyone grieves on the same timetable. Let them know it’s ok, and you’ll be there when they are ready.

Also let them know it's ok to laugh and still enjoy their life. Time eventually helps these intense emotions subside, and there's no need to feel guilty about starting to feel better. It doesn't mean you're not respecting the person's memory or forgetting about them.

Although the schools are remote now, still reach out to your school counselors for guidance. There are also local agencies in Portage County to help with children’s mental health. Children’s Advantage can be reached at 330-296-5552 and Coleman Professional Services' number is 330-296-3555.

Strong emotions - extreme sadness, anger, disbelief, and anxiety are normal in times of distress. But if you notice that your child – or yourself – are becoming overwhelmed and it is interfering with your activities of daily living or is lasting for more than two weeks, contact your healthcare provider. Or call our local helpline at Townhall II for resources at 330-678-HELP


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