Adults going through grief and loss will soon have a new opportunity for support through a group of local peers.
Vanderhoof Hospice Society is recruiting volunteers to help run their peer-based support program called Rainbows.
President Chris Mushumanski said the society had expanded the volunteer services they provide earlier this year to include grief support sessions.
“Rainbows is an accredited, recognized program across Canada and so we facilitated training in February and trained seven folks and then ran a session in the spring,” he said.
“Sessions for the Rainbows program is 14 weeks, so it is a bit of a commitment, but we have had some excellent uptake from the community and some wonderful support provided for folks in our midst.”
For every death in a community, at least nine people are impacted with grief and loss, Mushumanski said, noting it can be quite isolating for some.
Loss and grief is wide-ranging and not only pertains to the death of a loved one but can also include divorce, being without family or a support network and the loss of a pet.
“There is lots of different reasons for loss and fundamentally, loss is loss,” Mushumanski said.
“The reason for it doesn’t have to be justifiable, so supporting folks going through that is something that a caring, supporting community really wants to have available.”
Volunteers 18-years and older will receive free virtual training to become peer facilitators. All they need is a kind and listening ear and an empathetic heart.
Mushumanski said once trained, mentorship and direction will continue to be provided by facilitators who had previously completed the training.
The 14-week program is generally facilitated with two peer facilitators and has between four to six participants.
“Once we get a group that are able to meet on the same day and commit to the 14-weeks, then we’ll get started,” Mushumanski said, adding the society offers services to communities beyond Vanderhoof.
“It’s truly as the demand comes out that we will find facilitators and make that happen.”