Be an Advocate for Grieving Young Adults

Did you know that the WARM Place has a special support group for young adults, ages 19-25? For many, the time between the ages of 19-25 is commonly referred to as the “age of possibility” (Munsey, 2006). This is a time in many people’s lives where possibilities are endless and optimism reigns. Young adults are emerging from adolescents with a focus on obtaining a higher education, exploring their self-identity, learning to self-regulate, transitioning into the workforce, and preparing for marriage and parenthood. But what happens when someone in this age demographic experiences their first significant loss of a loved one? Being in the “emerging” stage when a loved one dies can feel like the entire world has changed.

Despite all the devastating changes that can occur with a death loss, young adults often report feeling pressured by family members and friends to remain happy, cheerful, positive and focused in the midst of their grief. Grieving young adults can start to feel like they are the only ones in their peer group experiencing a death loss, despite statistics that show approximately 40% of college students and young adults have experienced the death of someone they love (Balk et al., 2010).

It is our goal at The WARM Place to provide support and help connect grieving young adults, so they know they are not alone. We strive to provide an emotionally safe place for young adults to share their stories, connect with others who are grieving and benefit from being supportive of one another. Experiencing connection and community is what heals grieving hearts and gives life a renewed purpose following the death of a loved one. At the end of our most recent support group for young adults, our participants were asked to identify what was most helpful in their group. Some of their responses included:

• Making new friends
• The connection with others
• The group members

So, how can you be an advocate for grieving young adults? You can let people know that resources like The WARM Place exist and provide opportunities for young adults to connect with their grieving peers. Help spread the word by sharing our blog or posting one of our flyers. More importantly, you can help make an impact by reaching out to bereaved young adults and/or getting involved as a volunteer group facilitator.

The WARM Place Young Adult Grief Support Group is offered on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:30pm for 6-8 consecutive weeks during the Winter, Summer and Fall. The groups are provided at no charge. Our next group is scheduled to begin Tuesday, January 30th, 2018. If you would like to get involved as an advocate or volunteer, or if you know someone who could benefit from our support group, please contact Teresa Bartnicki, M.A., LPC-Intern at teresa@thewarmplace.org or (817) 870-2272, ext. 25.

Sources:

Balk, D.E., Walker, A.C., & Baker, A. (2010). Prevalence and Severity of College Student Bereavement Examined in randomly selected sample. Death Studies. 34(5), 459-468.

Munsey, C. (2006). Emerging adults: The in-between age. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun06/emerging.aspx

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