Coastal Hospice

Coastal Hospice launches school-based grief support program

SALISBURY, MD (December 12, 2018) – Coastal Hospice has teamed up with Somerset and Worcester schools to bring pilot grief support program to students who have experienced a loss.

“The program is an effort to tailor bereavement services to better meet the needs of grieving youth,” said Howard Travers, MTh., MDiv., CT, bereavement care manager of Coastal Hospice. “The majority of those who attend our grief support groups are older adults. Youth have unique needs when it comes to coping with grief and support groups need to work around their academic schedules.”

School administrators reached out to Coastal Hospice because of the specialized skills bereavement counselors have to support children who have experienced loss. The new grief support services augment the existing mental health services offered within the school districts.

“We are very fortunate to have established a partnership with Coastal Hospice for this service,” Worcester County Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor said. “This program targets students who are navigating an incredibly difficult time in their lives. We are grateful to be able to offer another avenue of support in a place where they feel comfortable – at school – during such circumstances.”

Coastal Hospice has an established bereavement program, which offers grief support to individuals, families and groups throughout Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset and Dorchester counties. Bereavement counselors also assist with annual bereavement camps for youth such as Camp Safe Harbor and Hope and Healing with Horses.

“Having a grief support program in schools makes it easy for students to participate and creates a comfortable peer group setting,” Travers said. “A unique bond forms when peers gather for a common purpose. School-based grief support will be an invaluable resource to the students.”

Funding for the program is provided by the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.

“This program will provide grief support by meeting students where they are – in their own schools,” said Blair Catlin Brown, behavior intervention specialist at Somerset County Public Schools. “Students are not able to go to support groups held during the day and those settings are geared more toward adults. This is an opportunity to give students the help they need in the best avenue for them with their peers.”