Click the "buttons" to download resources, or read below for links,
suggested books, and other resources
Helping Young People During Grief or Tragedy
The following resource list was begun in February 2012 following the tragic shootings in nearby Chardon, Ohio and revised following the Newtown, CT tragedy and UCC campus (2015). It includes information regarding suicide further down the page.
Please email Cindee (email@example.com)
any additional resources to be recommended.
St. Mary's Press offers free resources on the website as well:
Session you can use:
> When tragedy challenges Faith
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Resource Center
There are activities, webinars, videos and handouts available on various topics.
This links to the Earthquake in Nepal page, but you will find a "Search" button to see other large events.
This outline follows the
"Pray - Learn - Act- Give" formula:
U.S.C.C.B. Resources related to Violence:
"Teens and Grief"
Books and Resources on Talking about Death with Children and Youth
Often when a public figure dies, children and adolescents will have questions arise about death. The following are books and resources that may be available at your local library and could be used to stimulate conversation. It is always recommended that parents be notified when children/ youth are viewing a movie. Parents should be informed before discussions of grief and loss as they have the potential of evoking strong emotions. (Note: This is a listing of suggestions I received a couple of years ago from a psychologist - I must admit I have not read or reviewed all the resources listed -- please let me know if you find any should be removed, or if you recommend others be added.)
Parent and Catechist Resources:
Lost and Found: A Kid’s Book for Living through Loss. M. Gellman. Morrow Junior, 1999.
Keys to Helping Children Deal with Death and Grief. J. Johnson. Barrons Educational Series, 1999.
Living With an Empty Chair: A Guide Through Grief. R. Temes. New Horizon Press, 1992.
Books on Grief and Loss Pre- K through First Grade:
(I include these as I have found that sometimes sharing a children's story,
or asking the teens to share one, can open up dialogue in a different way, depending on the group of teens.)
Aarvy Aaardvark finds hope. CELO Press, 1988 unpaged.
Badger’s Parting Gifts. S. Varley. Lothrop Lee
and Shephard, 1984.
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf. L. Buscaglia. C.B. Slack, 1982.
The Velveteen Rabbit. M Williams. Knopf, 1983.
Waterbugs and Dragonflies. D. Stickney. 1982
Movies and Books on Grief and Loss for Children in Grades 2-8:
The Lion King – Rated G – Violence not recommended for younger children
Charlotte’s Web – Rated G
A Begonia for Mrs. Applebaum. Paul Zindel. Starfire. Reissue 1990.
The Three Birds: A Story of Love and Grief Shared. N. Dodge. 1986.
When Someone You Love Dies. W. Coleman. Augsburg Fortress, 1994.
Grief and Loss Resources for Children in
Grades 9 – 12:
Corrina, Corrina – PG thematic materials
Beaches – PG 13
Marvin’s Room – PG13 – Brief Language
My Life – PG 13 mature subject matter
(Although all movies should be pre-viewed before showing children or young people,
PG-13 movies may require using only specific segments in the classroom/ educational setting)
Flip-Flop Girl, K. Paterson. Dutton, 1994.
I Heard the Owl Call My Name. Margaret Craven. Laurel Leaf, 1993
Little Women. L Alcott. Courage Books, reprint 1995.
The Red Badge of Courage. S. Crane. Bantam. 1985.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org provides resources for parents and teens
National Association of School Psychologists: Helping Children Cope with Loss Death and Grief at http://www.nasponline.org/NEAT/griefwar.html
Griefnet. http://www.griefnet.org and Internet community of more than 30 Email support groups and two web sites, offering a moderated chat room for children and their parents, lists of books and other library information memorials, newsletters and more.
Helping Children Cope With Death,
The Dougy Center for Grieving Children
A national Support center for grieving children, teens and families.
This site contains many articles on children and loss:
Tips from the Fuller Institute (Kara Powell)
1) Use phrases that help them feel safe to share
Start with something basic, like, “What do you know about …?” to assess what they’ve heard, seen, or processed already. This will give you a baseline for what else to ask or say. Try to match your response with their level of awareness.
You’ll find a handful of other open-ended phrases might prompt young people to speak more freely, especially when they’re confused, sad, or scared:
I don’t know, but …
… that's an important question.
… I wonder that, too.
… thanks for sharing it with me.
You might, of course, have an answer to the question. But even if you do, it might be wise to step back and probe a bit before unleashing your “right” answer. It might turn out that being heard is more important than the answer itself, at least at the moment.
2) Pray and sing laments to God
“Why are you so far off? Why have you hidden your face from me?”
Common spiritual reactions to tragedy include anger at God, questioning God, and struggling to trust God. The most appropriate response to these kinds of reactions is to lament. Lament is a God-given tool to pray and worship our way through pain and tragedy. While uncomfortable and sometimes awkward to read, the psalms of lament (there are over 65 of them) in the Bible give us language for crying out to God in ways we might not normally find acceptable. That’s exactly why they’re preserved for us.
In response to traumatic experiences, it is critically important for a community of faith to offer space for this kind of response to God. As youth workers, we may fear taking students to those places of doubt, anger, and disappointment with God. However, failing to create an environment for authentic lament can result in spiritually and psychologically short-circuiting the necessary healing process. We have the opportunity to offer the hope of Christ and his re-orienting power to lives that have been plunged into trauma and disorientation.
Consider taking time in your next gathering for a reading of Psalm 88, 80, 61, 13, or 10. Ask reflection questions like, “Is it okay to say these kinds of things to God? Where could this kind of prayer go from here?” Then read through the psalm again and invite students to journal or draw their own continuing prayer for a few minutes. Afterwards talk through their feelings of comfort or discomfort in approaching God that way. If you’re a parent, try reading one of these psalms with your family as a way to grieve tragedy together.
3) Look for signs of post-traumatic stress
It’s possible that recent natural disasters and shootings have left some young people in your community experiencing post-traumatic stress, even if their experiences are vicarious (for example, watching videos of traumatic events on social media). Symptoms include feeling hopeless, numb, on guard or scared, having trouble sleeping or eating, or other physical distress.
If someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, start by encouraging them to stop watching and reading news related to the events. Use some of the tools above to ask good questions and help them process what’s going on. If signs of post-traumatic stress linger more than a couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to help the young person find professional help.
Dr. Cynthia Eriksson, a trauma specialist in Fuller’s School of Psychology, also has offered these suggestions for pastoral care we can offer to young people experiencing post-traumatic stress:
We need to let them express whatever is going on in their minds in terms of their relationship with God. Our pastoral [and parental] tendency is to come in with some sort of answer, to help people not doubt anymore. However, the most important first step is to be heard, even if what needs to be said are horrible thoughts toward God. Let go of the need to be a theological educator and stay in the moment in a pastoral place with that person. Acknowledge that it’s often hard to see God in the midst of those experiences.
If we turn to someone in the midst of doubt and say, “God is going to get you through this,” we risk the possibility of the person feeling guilty or judged for not being able to hold onto that hope themselves. I’ll never forget when I discovered Psalm 88. It doesn’t end with professions of God’s faithfulness, but rather something like, “I’m going to die”. There are moments in life where we do not see the hopeful side, and it seems impossible to hold on to God’s goodness. For many, it might take a long time to see God in the midst of what happened. The most caring thing is to hear the doubts and not try to “fix” the person or convince him or her otherwise.
4) Reference additional resources as needed
These ideas are just a start. The following are articles and websites we trust and believe can help you as you navigate these challenging waters with young people. Please let us know about other resources that are helpful for you.
Pastoral Care General
Recommended by Kristin Witte, Archdiocese of Baltimore
Brumberg, Joan Jacobs, The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls
Dykstra, Robert C., Counseling Troubled Youth
Gerkin, Charles, An Introduction to Pastoral Care
Rowatt, Jr., G. Wade, Pastoral Care with
Adolescents in Crisis
National Institute of Mental Health - Free brochures and information on mental health issues including depression and suicide
The American Association of Suicidology - 202-237-2280 - One of the premier suicide research organizations, the AAS has a wide range of resources on all aspects of suicide. Their web page also contains many links and online resources about suicide. http://www.suicidology.org/
American Federation of Suicide Prevention - To order AFSP's Teen Suicide Prevention Kit free of charge, call 1-888-333-AFSP, ext. 14, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.afsp.org/
Article by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
Fighting Human Trafficking
TEEN DATING ABUSE GLOSSARY TO SHARE:
What is Emotional Abuse/Verbal Abuse?
Non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking in,” excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation or isolation.
What is Stalking?
Being repeatedly watched, followed or harassed.
What is Financial Abuse?
Using money or access to accounts to exert power and control over a partner.
What is Physical Abuse?
Any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including restricting access to birth control or condoms.
What is Digital Abuse?
The use of technology such as texting and social networking to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a partner. Often this behavior is a form of verbal or emotional abuse perpetrated through technology.
Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" Resources
In April, 2017, Netflix added a 14 episode show (approximately an hour long each) about a teenage girl who leaves 13 audio recorded cassette tapes listing reasons she committed suicide.
The show is graphic and includes a NUMBER of issues that some teens are dealing with, but in a compressed timeframe (as a viewer, as the retrospective is more than a year, but the story line jumps from present to past events and back as each story unfolds on the tapes, it seems compressed for us.)
As resources come available, look here for links.
"13 Reasons Why" Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators:
(from the National Association of School Psychologists)
Thirteen Reasons Why Talking Points
(from Suicide Awareness Voices for Education, SAVE)
13 Reasons Why resource page
(from Conversations on the Fringe (CotF) - an organization seeking creative and innovative ways to bridge the gap between marginalized youth and those entities (particularly families, schools and churches) that serve youth in contemporary society. They offer an episode by episode guide)
“13 Reasons Why” and 13 Important Conversations; Suicide Prevention and Compassion for Struggling Teens
(article from Catholic Link)
From the USCCB,
prayers for those who mourn:
Prayers for Mourners
For those who mourn the death of a child:
Keep praying for peace:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.