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Welcome Indianapolis Grief & Loss Consulting & Educational Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome Indianapolis Grief & Loss Consulting & Educational Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome Indianapolis Grief & Loss Consulting & Educational Services

2 What is grief? What is loss? Teens are overlooked, considered children, and are often evaluated only on the basis of behavior, not on the basis of the traumatic events which have surrounded their short lives. Can you feel my pain that’s in my innermost self? My fear and rage that took me from hell? Father’s done cause havoc on my life. I don’t need him now and won’t till I die. He can do all his drugs, but he must stay away from me. I feel so lonely. Brian Plainfield Juvenile Correctional Facility

3 Teen Grief Teens often act out their distress in ways that are ultimately misguided and self-destructive. Typical patterns can include isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual activity, violence, delinquency, running away and suicidal expressions or attempts.

4 Examples of losses Divorce Death Sexual abuse Physical abuse Loss of freedom Pregnancy loss Abandonment Moving

5 Needs of Grieving Teens Teens give mixed messages We do not always know how to respond Needs have been overlooked

6 Research on Adolescent Grief IJCF (Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility) Cook County, Chicago Pacers Academy

7 Loss Studies Average number of losses reported by students at IJCF in 2004 study 4.5. Cook County, Chicago random sample of 898 youth aged 10-18. Median loss per child was 6. More than half witnessed a traumatic event. (2005) Pacers Academy, Indpls 39 of 43 students reported an incarcerated parent, grandparent, sibling. Youth California Facility reports average number of losses per child in facility 6.

8 Family History

9 The Unrecognized Losses (IJCF)

10 Coping Mechanisms

11 Grief Responses Rejection Fear Fear of “going crazy” Anxiety Decline in school work High risk behaviors Aggression

12 Depression in Adolescents Parental death, divorce, incarcerated parent family suicide or other traumatic event. Clinical depression is a major illness Pattern in families Risk of suicide 8 times greater for sexual abuse victims Medications

13 Rebelliousness Complete disregard for rules Complete disrespect for authority Obvious anger issues Out of control behaviors

14 Isolation Often keep to self Change peer groups Definite changes in desire to be around peers

15 Cutting Behaviors Adolescents 2 million teens cut or burn selves 90% begin as teens Starts at age 14 Almost all who engage have been victims of sexual or severe emotional abuse Serious mental issues

16 Substance Abuse Most common in grieving youth ½ suffer from depression Alcohol can cause depression 2/3 of youth who smoke suffer from a depressive illness.

17 Teens who use drugs are five times more likely than those who don’t to have sexual intercourse. CASA Report 1999 Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

18 Teens who drink are seven times likelier than those who don’t to have sexual intercourse.

19 Complicated Grief When life issues are unexpressed or unacknowledged, they become locked in “frozen blocks of time.”

20 Complicated Grief in Teens In complicated grief, it is as if an unexpressed or unresolved important life issue-a frozen block of time-has created a wall of ice between the child and his or her grief. Our job is to help melt that wall. Breaking the Silence (1996)

21 Categories That Contribute to Complicated Grief Sudden or traumatic death or loss Social stigma of death or of a loss Multiple losses Past relationship to the deceased Grief process of surviving parent or caretaker

22 Grief & Emotional pain =drug, alcohol abuse =early sexual activity

23 Are we guilty of placing Scooby Doo band-aids on wounds that need open heart surgery? Andrea Cotton, LCSW New Beginnings High School

24 A major loss is like having open heart surgery without any anesthesia to kill the pain.

25 WHAT WORKS? “Growing Through Loss” combines loss & leadership

26 Growing Through Loss Program 21 st Century - 4 year grant at Indianapolis Juvenile Correctional Facility females Century 21 st 3 year grant IJCF/males Indiana Women’s Prison Indianapolis Public Schools & alternative schools

27 The Role of Educational, Therapeutic & Support Groups Gives opportunities Develops links Provides emotional, physical and spiritual support Allows for exploration Receive Support Provide support to others

28 By helping teens put their feelings outside of themselves we can facilitate their healing. Sharing feelings diminishes the hurt.

29 Empowering group participants to use their painful experiences to help others provides meaning to the loss experience. It also provides an outlet for them to process their own feelings.

30 Group Activities/Video’s A number of video’s fit well with the program in addressing grief issues.

31 Group Activity/Craft The craft activity is the creative component of the program. This is a relaxing way to close group



34 Group Activity/Journaling Journaling gives participants an opportunity to write about their losses and feelings at their own pace and receive written support from the facilitator.

35 Group Activity/Mission Statement Mission Statements provide a roadmap for life. Participants identify purpose for living, goals & responsibilities

36 Leadership Training Participants are provided a leadership training packet to complete on their own initiative. Upon completion they are given the opportunity to sign a “Becoming A Leader” handout and are given a token of leadership at the Letting Go Ceremony

37 Effectiveness of Groups Groups are economical Group members often provide support to others beyond group experience Provide a sense of commonality Have similar experiences which normalize feelings

38 Growing Through Loss Participants


40 How Can We Better Serve Our Grieving Youth Provide much needed grief groups which focus on grief support & education, life skills, anger management, character education and leadership training. Provide programming which give our courts the options of empowering youth to use their painful experiences for good rather than resorting to destructive behaviors. Provide a parenting component education course for parents of these youth.

41 Program Component Includes BDI Pre & Post testing 12 session groups (2 times per week) 12 session two-day workshops 3-session parenting educational/grief component Leadership ceremony including family members

42 Teens Don’t Care How Much you Know Until They Know How much care!

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