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Get Help Where Grief and COVID-19 Intersect

As we were finishing the inaugural edition of the SADOD newsletter, we suddenly found ourselves facing the unraveling uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continued to move toward our publication date, with a watchful eye on the changes that were happening daily – and like everyone else we realized we were immersed in something so big that it was redefining everything about our lives as we knew them. We followed the news and complied with the mandates until we found ourselves at home with our families indefinitely, facing a new norm involving “social distancing” and Zoom meetings, and confronting disruptions of our daily routines and support systems. This weighed heavily on our minds as we prepared newsletter articles to support people affected by losses due to the overdose epidemic, and as publication of the newsletter approached, we decided to write this blog post about resources that might help the three populations we serve.

We hope the information below helps you to cope during this difficult and historic time in our lives and increases your ability to help others do the same.

Grief, Loss of the Assumptive World, and Meaning-Making — Dr. Robert Neimeyer, from the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, talks about “coronavirus anxiety” and the impact of COVID-19 on our previously predictable world.

How to Cope with Bereavement — Just when we thought grieving couldn’t get any harder, along comes a whole new set of challenges, which the author, a psychologist, addresses with strategies focused on coping.

COVID-19 and Complicated Grief — A conversation with Dr. Katherine Shear about the potential and risk factors for complicated grief amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, including the effects of not being able to be with loved ones who may be sick or dying.

Drive-Up Funeral — One woman’s reflection on her sister’s funeral, conducted under strict social distancing guidelines. Because the graveside service did not include the usual reflections on “Peaches’” well-lived life, the author tells her story in a heartfelt poem.

That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief — David Kessler, world-renowned expert on grief, talks about the pandemic and ways to re-frame our thinking to help us deal with the uncertainty and grief we might feel about the daily changes that are happening all around us.

How Peer Grief Helpers Can Respond to Stress During the Pandemic — This special resource, commissioned by SADOD for peer grief helpers, is presented by Joanna Bridger, clinical director for Riverside Trauma Center.

Collision of the COVID-19 and Addiction Epidemics — Individuals with substance-use disorders have been identified as a vulnerable population for COVID-19. This article addresses the risks for this marginalized and underserved community — and the challenges that stigma and discrimination play in helping them.

Safer Drug Use During the COVID-19 Outbreak — A fact-filled handout focused on harm reduction that also identifies the symptoms of COVID-19 and suggests ways to prevent spreading this disease. Please also see the comprehensive list of resources assembled by the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline.