Origins of the Guide
This Guide was created by a small team of dedicated people without professional or financial backing. We began our work to provide support for individuals who had lost a loved one in the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to their grief, these mourners have had to contend with all of the stressors associated with the pandemic. Because few mental health services were available, we began to search for Internet resources that could help fill this gap. We reviewed hundreds of websites and found many that included valuable information for those who lost a loved one in the pandemic. We searched for resources to help bereaved people manage their painful emotions, build resilience, and improve their mental health and well-being. We also searched for information that would facilitate self-compassion and self-care to empower those who are grieving. We selected the best of these resources and combined them into a comprehensive, searchable guide. We recognized that this compendium of resources could benefit anyone who is grieving, not just those who are suffering a loss from COVID-19. So, over time, we broadened our content to include other kinds of losses.
We sent the Guide to several grief experts before circulating it more widely. Without exception, their responses were extremely positive. As an example, Dr. Robert Neimeyer, Director of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, described the Guide as “a Godsend…Countless mourners will suffer less because of this remarkable compendium.”
This Guide has several unique features. First, we include extensive information on peer support and support groups. Contact with similar others can provide validation for one’s feelings and play a vital role in the healing process. Second, the Guide focuses on the needs of marginalized and underserved groups. Specifically, we have included a rich array of resources for the following communities: African American/POC; Asian American/Pacific Islander; Indigenous Communities, LatinX; the LGBTQ+ community; and people with disabilities. Third, our Guide offers hundreds of stories touching on all types of loss. Stories about grief can restore hope and help the bereaved to recognize that they are not alone. Finally, we have included information on how to support the bereaved. Research has shown that one of the most important resources in dealing with the loss of a loved one is receiving support from others. Yet many people are reluctant to reach out to the bereaved because they do not know what to say or do. We placed a special emphasis on obtaining articles on how to provide effective support.
It should be emphasized that the Guide is a work in progress. The content on grief and COVID-19 is dynamic and constantly changing. We welcome feedback that would strengthen our offerings or improve the way they are presented or organized.
Coming Next: A New Website
Numerous people have advised us to transform the Guide into a website, which would make it far easier to navigate. We have taken steps toward this goal. We obtained a domain name, Grief Matters, which will also be the name of the new website. We have also established a nonprofit that has this same name. While we recognize the importance of transitioning from a Resource Guide into a website, we lack the expertise to move forward. We are putting together a team of people with the requisite skills who share our vision of bringing the best information on grief together in one place. If you would like to join us in this endeavor, please contact Dr. Wortman at email@example.com.