Grief & Loss Series

Children and adolescents are impacted by grief at astounding numbers. Data estimates that over 200,000 children have experienced the death of a caregiver due to COVID. And we know that many more have experienced caregiver death due to other illness, accidents and community violence. We know grief has entered schools in record numbers. And, when a child or adolescent experiences the death of someone important, their entire world is impacted, and important questions can surface. Who will take care of me? Will I remember this person? Why did this happen?

Mental health professionals in the schools require specialized skills to support children along their grief journey. The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools and the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing have partnered to provide trainings and materials on grief, loss and trauma among children and youth to school-based professionals in the District of Columbia. Funded through the  generous support of the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, this series began in 2021.

Grief Defined

The experience of and reaction to any loss - not just due to death. Grief is always a multi-faceted, time varying response that contains physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, and philosophical components. These components are often experienced in “waves” across the grief process.

Grief Myths

  • Children and teens need to be protected from loss or trauma
  • Intense distress is inevitable after a loss, especially for young people
  • The intensity of grief is equal to the strength of the relationship
  • The goal of processing grief is to “get over it”
  • People in the same family grieve the same way
  • Children/teens who are “really” grieving can’t also experience joy
  • If a child or teen isn’t talking to you about it something is wrong


The trainings below are open to school-based professionals in the District of Columbia.

Foundational Training Part 1A: Helping Children Heal in a New Era of Grief

This training provides participants with the foundational knowledge necessary to support children and adolescents in their experience of grief. Participants will leave this training with a solid understanding of the developmental impact of grief and an enhanced ability to provide appropriate support to assist in the healing process for both children and adolescents. Participants will be provided with tools to establish emotional safety and provide psychoeducation to grieving students and the supportive adults in their lives.

Foundational Training Parts 1B & 1C: Creating Space of Healing | Grief Interventions by Age Group

Parts 1B and 1C are focused on interventions for specific age cohorts, with 1B is focused on elementary school students and 1C on middle and high school students. If participants only work with one age group, they can attend just that specific training, although we encourage participation in both.

Facilitating Grief Groups in the School Context

This training provides participants with a framework to implement grief groups in a school setting, as well as tools to assist in facilitation. Participants will engage in experiential learning activities and case discussions to deepen learning.


We have developed two tip sheets as a result of these trainings.

For more information, contact us at [email protected].