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Bringing together a community of grief and bereavement specialists to connect, educate and empower.

2023 National Conference and Webcast: Supporting Children & Families Following an Overdose Death

  • 03/21/2023
  • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM (EDT)
  • Online

Grief is the normal and natural reaction to any significant loss, whether that is a bereavement loss or a non-death loss. The opioid epidemic continues to surge in the US, with overdose deaths reaching 107,000 in 2021, a record in the US and an increase of nearly 20% over the previous annual high. Unfortunately, accompanying grief, the impact on children and families isn’t well-researched and often remains overshadowed and misunderstood.

Family members of those living with substance use disorders often experience deep ambiguous grief. Children are often faced with navigating complex, unreliable relationships as a result of the disorder and are left to make sense of concepts far beyond their stages of moral development. The first half of this program is designed to understand ambiguous loss in substance abuse and to provide strategies to support these children and families. This includes a framework for understanding a child’s comprehension of addiction and developmental age, guidelines for talking to children, and creative activities for children and families.

The second half of this program will assist professionals in responding to the unique grief following a substance-related death. Drawing on existing research and program interventions, it will provide strategies for supporting those dealing with the most common complex issues of substance-related grief in children and adults, including disenfranchised grief, guilt, blame, anxiety and hypervigilance, relief, and introducing basic coping tools for individuals and support systems. Specific attention will be given to the needs of children and tools for assisting caregivers who are supporting children grieving substance-related deaths.

The american academy of bereavement

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Office: 952-435-9136


The American Academy of Bereavement
14607 Felton Court
Suite 116
Apple Valley, MN 55124

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