Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grief Online

The Bereavement Center, a program of Hospice of the Western Reserve, recently posted about Facebook and grief:

Technology has afforded us a wonderful way to stay connected as a community. Facebook not only brings together long-lost friends, but also provides an effective outlet for grief. Facebook hosts many memorialized accounts of deceased users. Friends and families can continue to post photos and comments on these accounts. Facebook will respect a family’s wishes to take down the deceased user’s profile or keep it in a “memorial state.” The “memorial state” disables certain features like status updates and allows only confirmed friends to access the profile.

Members who are grieving a death often use their own profile to announce the death and funeral arrangements. Many individuals post messages, videos and photos about their deceased loved one. They can also create new groups or pages devoted to the deceased or causes associated with them. Members continue to comment on their loss and talk about how much they miss their loved one. Friends comment back and show their support.

HFA has been exploring how children and adolescents can use the Internet as an outlet for grief. Join us during our June 15 webinar, Grieving Children and Adolescents: The Role of Internet Support. Panelists Pamela Gabbay (Mourning Star Center and National Alliance for Grieving Children) and Carla Sofka (associate professor of social work at Siena College in New York) will examine the roles of the Internet in the lives of children and adolescents and discuss ways that adolescents may utilize the Internet in bereavement, for education, ritual and support. We’ll look at some innovative ways that programs use the Internet to encourage and support young people who are grieving, and also explore the clinical benefits and challenges associated with using the Internet.