Children coping with loss are the “forgotten mourners” of the pandemic


A health ministry spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said the government had “made a number of investments and launched several initiatives that cover a wide range of mental health priorities – including helping children who have lost their parents.”

She cited the advice of the general surgeon and the expansion of several existing programs. In May, for example, the department announced it was releasing $ 14.2 million donated by Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan to expand access to psychiatric pediatrics. The rescue plan also provided funds for suicide prevention programs and a program to improve care and access to services for “traumatized children”.

John Bridgeland, the collaboration’s founder and chief executive officer, said expanding existing programs is not enough. “We need a concentrated effort to help the unbearable loss of these 167,000 children,” he said.

Losing a parent or caregiver is difficult for a child during normal times. However, grief counseling experts and school officials say the pandemic has taken a special toll.

“The death of a parent is something we deal with all the time – not just Covid,” said Susan Gezon Morgan, a school nurse in Emmett, Idaho, a small town outside of Boise. “But I think the fact that Covid is on the news and so sudden and is often a young parent that it seems so much more traumatic.”

In a small community like Emmett, where everyone knows everyone, Ms. Morgan says, grief cuts both ways. Grieving children lose their privacy, but they also have a close-knit community that can support them. It looks different in big cities.

Mr. Jackson of Reisterstown, Md., Just outside of Baltimore, teaches his daughter Akeerah at home, also because he fears that their peers will be insensitive and encourages them to “just come to terms” with their loss.


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