When the COVID-19 crisis hit New York City, our team immediately observed that there was an impact on the emotional needs of our community. Our members reported their grief and sorrow at the deaths of their loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues. This grief was shared within their support groups, workshops, through phone calls, and via a member survey assessing the impact of the virus. As a result, Gilda’s Club NYC staff created a COVID-19 bereavement group to support these individuals, the first of which was held on June 11th.
The group was open to all adult members of our community that had lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19 and was co-facilitated by two members of the clinical team. Some of the main topics that were offered to the group for discussion included, but were not limited to, the following: the challenges of grieving during a crisis, how the pandemic complicated the grieving process, what loss looks like during the pandemic, ways that grief has been disrupted, and how the pandemic has presented challenges to the traditional aspects of memorials, funerals, etc.
Due to clinical demand, this group will be repeated in July, and for as long as it is needed to support our members through this pandemic.