Hospice Northwest Provides Grief Education with HUUG Program
With funding from the Thunder Bay Community Foundation, Hospice Northwest implemented a very successful program, Help Us Understand Grief (HUUG). The organization has now been able to provide grief education to several centers (ie. Daycares) to help equip their staff with the knowledge/training about grief and what grief can look like in children. They have been able to partner with the local school boards to bring death literacy into the classroom, and the local school boards have purchased dozens of copies of our Grief and Death Education Toolkit: Talking About Death, Dying and Grief in the Classroom along with receiving the HUUG Kits for each elementary school. With their grant, they have been able to purchase and distribute HUUG kits – grief coping kits – to families they have worked with that are a part of the program, families that call us in distress following a death, and to schools. As a result of the success of the program, Hospice Northwest has received several referrals from teachers, community agencies, and families who have seen the results of how HUUG can support grieving children.
Until HUUG was launched in June 2021, there were few mental health resources available for local children living with the loss of a loved one. HUUG is a program unlike any other in our community. Our culture is death denying and children are often not provided an honest, well-informed understanding about what is happening with their loved one. Social determinants of health and equity issues compound this issue. This grant was used to give vulnerable grieving children an opportunity to find their voices and express their grief in a positive way. Hospice Northwest was able to support 20 children since June 2021, guiding them through specialized activities led by skilled facilitators. Because of their grant, they were able to pay facilitators, as well as make this program accessible by offering it free of charge to families. All supplies, activities and snacks at these events are available at no cost to participants. Hospice Northwest is dedicated to providing client-centered and barrier free services.
Following the annual HUUG family day that was hosted June 11, 2022, families saw the value of the program, and almost all the families that attended the first family day have registered for workshops in the fall of 2022. A video was created because families involved in the program wanted to show their support so the program can continue and more families can be supported. Children left the day saying “when can I come back? That was so much fun!” The facilitators also saw the value of the program and commented that the program was not only well organized, but genuinely supported the families in their grief. The children commented that they made friends and realized that there are other kids who have lost a loved one in their lives as well.
To learn more, visit: Help Us Understand Grief (HUUG) – Hospice Northwest