Hospice of Santa Barbara Offers Tips on Talking to Children about Tragedies like the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Santa Barbara, Calif., October 3, 2017 – In the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting on Sunday night, Hospice of Santa Barbara believes that the most important service they could provide locally is to provide guidance about how parents and teachers can speak to children about the senseless violence.

“In times like these, it’s more important than ever that we don’t shut down and desensitize ourselves to horrific unacceptable acts of violence,” said David Selberg, CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara. “It is especially important that kids are allowed to process and express their feelings and not repress them.”

Hospice of Santa Barbara is available for anyone struggling to understand this tragedy for themselves or to help assist in explain it to their children.

Here are some tips provided by the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (NCSCB) at USC that can be incredibly helpful when talking to your child about what they’ve seen in the news:

  •  Be honest. Don’t mislead your children or give them false information “for their own good.” The details that you give should correspond to how old your child is. The older they are, the more details they may need to properly cope with or understand the situation. You may want to consider temporarily shutting off the Internet and TV, lest they unnecessarily see graphic images of the incident.
     
  • Let your kids know that their feelings are normal. They might feel helpless now; but this can give a way for you to teach your child about the importance of safety, tolerance, and acceptance, all of which are key to a more peaceful world.
     
  • There is no justification for the shooter’s violent actions, period. What you can tell your child is that it is never okay to act violently or take out one’s anger in this manner, and that all lives are precious.
     
  • Remember that it is okay for your child to ask questions; staying silent won’t make the problem disappear. The most important thing you can do is to make your child feel safe, reassured, understood, and loved.
     
  • If you find that your child is upset for several days and unable to shake their fear, or if he/she is having trouble in school or at home, consider consulting with Hospice of Santa Barbara for possible counseling or other assistance. For more advice from the NCSCB, go to www.schoolcrisiscenter.org. To learn more about Hospice of Santa Barbara, call at 805.563.8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.

Hospice of Santa Barbara offers counseling services for children and their families at no cost. But the organization also urge parents to begin the healing process at home, as necessary, by speaking to their children honestly and thoughtfully about the Las Vegas tragedy.

About Hospice of Santa Barbara

Hospice of Santa Barbara provides professional counseling, support groups, and patient care services free of charge to individuals and families who are grieving the death of a loved one or experiencing the impact of a serious illness. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on six local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.

Hospice of Santa Barbara Introduces: Death & Cupcakes

An Open Discussion of End of Life Matters in a Warm, Understanding, Non-lecturing Setting

Santa Barbara, Calif., Feb. 28, 2017— The topic of death seems to be a cultural taboo in the United States and Hospice of Santa Barbara aims to change that.

“It does seem counterproductive for us to ignore when we consider that death is something that each of us will experience,” said David Selberg, CEO of Hospice of Santa Barbara.  “Our denial, difficulty and fear around the conversation of death—what it means to us to age and eventually die, how best to prepare, what we want our family and friends to know about our final wishes—makes an already painful and challenging event that much harder.”

In light of this, Hospice of Santa Barbara is hosting an open dialogue every third Tuesday of the month called Death and Cupcakes. Attendees discuss death and celebrate life in a comfortable and welcoming setting, and yes, homemade cupcakes and coffee are provided for guests to enjoy.

In the spirit of Death Cafes and Death Over Dinner, this gathering is a group-directed discussion of end-of-life issues. This is not a support group or educational seminar. The aim is to talk openly about death, enhance life, and of course, eat cake.

The conversation is held on the third Tuesday of every month from 1-2 p.m. at Hospice of Santa Barbara, located at 2050 Alameda Padre Serra, Suite 100. The next discussion will take place on March 21. All community members are welcome to attend and are encouraged to bring their questions, curiosity, and tender hearts.

The objective is to raise awareness through open conversation about a topic that remains, for many, off limits.

“At Hospice, we think it’s our duty to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their lives,” said Selberg.

Hospice of Santa Barbara provides, at no cost, professional counseling and patient care services to people who are experiencing the impact of a serious illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on six local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org

Hospice of Santa Barbara Offers Support to Those Grieving During Holidays

          

South Coast, CA, November 14, 2016— Remember and honor someone you miss this holiday season.  Hospice of Santa Barbara invites the entire community to its 33rd annual Light Up A Life tree lighting ceremonies to share a sense of joy and solidarity during the holidays.

The free ceremonies will feature special guests, entertainment, and the lighting of a Memorial tree with hundreds of sparkling lights and stars, each symbolizing a tribute to a loved one. Stars are available online and will also be available at each ceremony for a suggested donation of $15 or more for those wishing to personalize a star and hang it on the tree. All proceeds benefit Hospice of Santa Barbara.  

Dates and Locations

Sat., December 3rd, 5:30 p.m. – Casa de la Guerra, 15 E. De La Guerra St., Santa Barbara

Sun., December 4th, 5:30 p.m. – Camino Real Marketplace, Storke & Marketplace Drive, Goleta

Sat., December 10th, 5:30 p.m. – Seal Fountain at Linden Plaza, Linden Avenue, Carpinteria

To purchase a star or for more information, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.

Hospice of Santa Barbara provides, at no cost, professional counseling and patient care services to people who are experiencing the impact of a serious illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.  

Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Children’s Services Brings Needed Grief Care When it’s Needed Most

                 

Nov. 11, 2016, Santa Barbara, CA— Serious illness, death and grief are a natural part of life, and getting through it with Hospice of Santa Barbara can help us hold onto cherished memories and reflect positively on the grieving process. In our community, one in five children will experience the death of someone close to them.  By the age of 18, one in 20 will lose one or both parents. Hospice of Santa Barbara’s (HSB) Children & Family Services proudly provides children’s counseling, programs and outreach designed to provide compassionate care and bereavement services through these difficult time – all at no cost to clients.

Counseling

Counseling for children and their families doesn’t have to be a recollection of negative thoughts and feelings. At Hospice of Santa Barbara, toddlers, children and their families find a safe space to begin to heal and interact with others who have gone through similar ordeals. The cornerstone of the program is HSB’s commitment to children and their parents.

Children and teens can develop skills from support groups that allow them to cope with their losses though therapeutic games, art, crafts and music. The skills they learn will leave them feeling cared for, nurtured and more empowered. Parents can also share their issues and concerns in a private environment that provides comfort, common purpose and the tools needed to support family relationships.  Bereavement services include Individual and group counseling as well as family counseling sessions.

I Have a Friend

One very unique and successful children’s program at Hospice of Santa Barbara is a mentor program called “I Have a Friend.” It was created by former Hospice of Santa Barbara Executive Director the late Gail Rink after she overheard a young boy, who had recently lost his father, speaking to his mother. He asked her, “Will I ever feel normal again?” Gail had the spark of an idea and the mentor program was formed.

A trained adult mentor who experienced the death of a parent or sibling when they were young is matched with a child newly coping with a similar death. The similar journey creates a special companionship with someone who truly understands the loss and related issues and obstacles that may come about as a result of the death. Their common experience can lead to communication and insights that may not be possible with family members or friends.

The benefits are two-fold as the mentor him/herself may discover and address their own unresolved issues of grief during the training process.

I Have a Friend mentors are living proof to grieving children that there will be hope, happiness and wholeness, and that they will be “normal” again. These relationships often last for years, even after they ‘graduate’ from the program.  A normal week is a 2 hour visit that includes an outing or walk with the mentor and the child.

Youth Outreach in Local Schools

Hospice of Santa Barbara has a weekly presence at high schools in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta and even the Santa Ynez Valley.

We provide individual counseling and peer support groups at many local public high school campuses continuously throughout each school year.   HSB conducts its service on schools campuses because this population is not able to access counseling at our office and because the school sites are where we can best offer the support group modality. 

We also provide debriefing and time limited peer group support to any requesting local school experiencing a death of a student or faculty.

Through these partnerships, school counselors will identify and refer students to HSB for bereavement counseling – a therapeutic assistance toward coping with issues of grief and/or mortality. These students may have experienced the death of family members or friends, have loved ones who have been diagnosed with a serious illnesses or may be experiencing illnesses themselves.

Hospice of Santa Barbara provides, at no cost, professional counseling and patient care services to those who are experiencing the impact of a series illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on local school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the death of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.

Community Joins Together for Hospice of Santa Barbara Light Up A Life Ceremonies

     

   Community members hang stars in remembrance of loved ones during Light Up A Life.

Community members hang stars in remembrance of loved ones during Light Up A Life.

South Coast, CA, Dec. 2016— The community joined together over the weekend to honor the loved ones they miss this holiday season during Hospice of Santa Barbara’s 33rd annual Light Up A Life (LUAL) tree lighting ceremonies in Santa Barbara and Goleta. The final LUAL ceremony of the year will be held in Carpinteria Dec. 10.

Hundreds participated in the community gatherings at Casa de la Guerra in Santa Barbara and Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.  

The free ceremonies feature special guests, entertainment, and the lighting of a Memorial tree at each location with hundreds of sparkling lights and stars, each symbolizing a tribute to a loved one. Stars are available online and are also available at the ceremonies for a suggested donation of $15 for those wishing to personalize a star and hang it on the tree. All proceeds benefit Hospice of Santa Barbara.

The remaining 2016 LUAL ceremony will be held Saturday, Dec. 10th, 5:30 p.m. at the Seal Fountain in Linden Plaza, Linden Avenue, Carpinteria.

Hospice of Santa Barbara provides, at no cost, professional counseling and patient care services to people who are experiencing the impact of a serious illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.  

Día de los Muertos Tradition Observed by Hospice of Santa Barbara

Community Members Create Traditional Latin American
Altar/Memorial at Hospice of Santa Barbara

   Día de los Muertos altar on display at Hospice of Santa Barbara

Día de los Muertos altar on display at Hospice of Santa Barbara

 

Santa Barbara, CA, Nov. 2, 2016Hospice of Santa Barbara (HSB) joined with community members to create a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) altar/memorial to honor all those who have died.

The memorial at the HSB offices -- 2050 Alameda Padre Serra, Suite 100, in Santa Barbara – features “ofrendas” (offerings) such as bread, sugar skulls, figurines, incense and yellow marigolds. Many of the offerings are very personal, such as photographs of the deceased and their favorite foods and flowers.

Community members are welcome to add to the memorial, which will be available at the HSB office through Friday Nov. 4. HSB is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Hospice of Santa Barbara provides, at no cost, professional counseling and patient care services to people who are experiencing the impact of a serious illness, or grieving the death of a loved one. Hospice of Santa Barbara is also present on six local high school campuses to work with children and teens who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Hospice of Santa Barbara, including volunteer opportunities, call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org

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