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Speaking Grief is a public media initiative aimed at creating a more grief-aware society by validating the experience of grievers and helping to guide those who wish to support them.

The creators behind a new documentary set to air on public media channels across the country in May want to start a national conversation about a topic that many shy away from — grief.

The goals for “Speaking Grief” are twofold: to validate the experience of grief through the stories of those mourning the death of family members and also to make it easier for the rest of us to support the grieving.

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So many times, says Lindsey Whissel Fenton, the senior producer at WPSU who is producing, directing, and writing the documentary portion of the multiplatform Speaking Grief initiative, friends, neighbors and coworkers want to support those who are grieving a death, but don’t know what to say or do or how to help. …


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For the first time in history, key federal health agencies will report what activities, if any, they are doing to advance bereavement care. Photo by Bob Bowie on Unsplash

As Congress shut its doors and fears of COVID-19 swept the nation, a small group of families and professionals worked tirelessly to advance our nation’s bereavement care system. We know that lack of high-quality, consistent bereavement care is an invisible public health crisis. It touches nearly every doorstep in America. In the wake of overdose deaths, suicides, and mass casualty events and now COVID-19, our nation’s response must consist of more than thoughts and prayers.

Bereaved families face declines in health and wellbeing, instability and solvency. Bereaved spouses, parents and siblings are all at risk of premature death as a result of their loss. Ten percent become disabled because of it; when a death is violent that number doubles, particularly after the death of a child. …


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As deaths from suicide, overdoses and mass casualty events increase, Congressional members see how bereavement and the lack of a public health response is impacting their own communities.

For too long, too many have considered bereavement as simply a mental health issue. When a family member or loved one dies, those grieving experience a deep sadness as their lives are changed fundamentally forever. Conventional wisdom tells us a bereaved individual or family will eventually “get over it,” “find closure” and “move on.” But, those commonly held myths are far from the truth.

Research continues to show that a loved one’s death isn’t something that we just “come to terms” with. …

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