However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names
— Henry David Thoroeau

In our community, one in five children will experience the death of someone close to them by age 18; one in twenty children will experience the death of one or both parents before reaching adulthood.  We know life threatening illness, death and grief are part of the life’s journey, but, for many this journey can be paralyzing and overwhelming if not dealt with through professional intervention. 

For children and teens, untended grief from the loss of a loved one is directly related to depression, PTSD and anxiety symptoms.  Severe reactions to loss can traumatize children and lead to depressive immobilization and destructive behaviors and put youth at risk of engaging in activities such as promiscuity, self mutilation and medicating, defiance towards authority, and detachment from society. 

Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Children and Family Services program provides free professional support and coping tools for children, teens and their families that are essential for successful emotional growth and healing.