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Rebuilding Grieving Hearts

Lidia Harding
Blog For parents For teens Substance Abuse Youth and Family Counseliing
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When Liv, 16, experienced her sister’s death due to gun violence, she thought that dealing with grief would follow five linear steps. Instead, she learned that grief is a mix of intense emotions offering no clear path.

“People would tell me that everything would get better, but after months of only feeling worse, I didn’t think it ever would.”

Grief can manifest from many different life challenges. While the death of a loved one is tragic, navigating the complexities of addiction within the family or braving the uncertainties of transitioning into adulthood can also leave deep emotional scars.

Honoring a loved one

Antonio was nine years old when he lost a hero. His older sister, Kelly, died after a hard-fought battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Connecting to a YES counselor was as simple as walking through the door at YES. The support of our community has made it possible to provide same-day assessments through Open Access, providing immediate access to support systems for families like Antonio’s.

In the first few weeks at YES, Antonio and his counselor created a “memorial box” where Antonio could write notes whenever he thought of his sister and store them in the box. But the box was just the beginning.

Thanks to a YES counselor trained and certified in evidence-based therapies, Antonio learned to identify his intense emotions and use the skills he learned in therapy to cope.

Addiction and loss

The grieving process for those who have a family member with addiction challenges can be isolating and complex.

“When one person in the family system has a substance use problem, it impacts everyone, especially the kids,” said Noble, YES counselor and facilitator of the Affected Others Group.

This group provides a safe and non-judgmental space where participants share their stories, emotions, and struggles with others who understand their unique challenges.

Facilitated by co-occurring disorders counselors trained in both mental health and substance use therapies, Affected Others groups equip participants with coping strategies to navigate the complexities of their grief.

Transition and grief

From the loss of self, safety, family support, friends, and routines, transitioning into adulthood can also create the experience of grief for young adults. YES recognizes the unique needs of these young adults by serving youth up to the age of 22.

Through personalized mental health services that address the challenges and uncertainties inherent in this transition, these young adults can begin to grieve the loss of their childhood. From identity exploration to navigating academic and career choices, YES empowers young adults to rebuild and redefine their lives on the foundations of resilience and recovery.

From grief to recovery

Through community support and offering many different services and programs, we hope to inspire change, helping youth find the pathway from grief to recovery and from uncertainty to a future filled with hope. Together, we have ensured that youth, with the support of YES, emerge stronger, more resilient, and capable of rebuilding their grieving hearts.

Supporting youth struggling with substance use and mental health challenges is made possible through the generosity of supporters like you. Please consider making a gift today to provide children, youth, and families with programs that support their mental health and recovery.

Thanks to donations like yours, no family is turned away because they can’t afford to pay for services.

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