Mourning Hope Grief Center: Supporting Individuals and Families After a Death

Mourning Hope Grief Center provides grief support groups, counseling, community education, and resources to children, adults, and families.

Experiencing the death of a loved one can have emotional effects, no matter how old you are. We all grieve our loss in different ways. Mourning Hope Grief Center, which has been serving the Lincoln community since 1994, provides grief support groups, counseling, community education, and resources to children, adults, and families before and after a death.

“Many people in our country don’t have access to grief support. So after experiencing a significant death loss, they traditionally use their two days of bereavement leave from work, but then are forced to pull it together and return to their daily life,” said Carly Woythaler-Runestad, Executive Director of Mourning Hope. “We’re extremely fortunate that in Lincoln, the community has created a program that helps support the diverse needs of bereaved individuals and families long after their bereavement leave is over.”

When it involves children, we often think kids having a death loss isn’t common, but they grieve, too.

  • 1 in 13 will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 18
  • By age 25, that number nearly doubles

Kids may sit in a classroom and not know anyone else’s parent has died. They come to Mourning Hope and find 65 kids experiencing what they are going through.

Programs Help Children and Families Heal

Mourning Hope offers age-specific programs to help children and families through their grief beginning with a 10-week, grief support group that is offered five times a year. During those 10 weeks, families and children start with dinner, then split up into age groups — littles are together, middle school kids, high school kids, and adult caregivers. At the end of the evening, everyone comes back together to do a family activity such as making a quilt block honoring their loved one.

In addition to the 10-week program, Mourning Hope offers other types of support including:

  • Family and Children’s Camps
  • Young Adult Programming
  • Adult Support Groups
  • Suicide-specific Groups
  • One-day Special Events
  • School Grief Groups as needed
  • Individual Counseling

In the past few years, participants have come from 37 states and 11 countries to access programs at Mourning Hope.

Ages Served

Peer-based services are available to ages 4 and older. Mourning Hope works with families who have younger-aged children by providing support, structure, and grief resources such as coloring books and videos.

“Our goal is to bring people together who are grieving the death of a loved one so they don’t feel like they are the only ones going through this,” Carly added. “We give them a place where they can mourn the loss and be surrounded by other people and start to figure out how to move forward in their healing journey.”

No Cost to Families

For 30 years, Mourning Hope has been able to provide these services at no charge, including grief counseling by licensed practitioners and camps, are all supported by private donations, fundraisers, and events. Roper & Sons has been a sponsor of their annual breakfast for years.

“With appropriate strategies, intervention, and support, bereaved youth will thrive. Left unaddressed, childhood grief can be very detrimental and we as a community end up providing services downstream for high school dropouts, substance use, and behavioral health disorders,” Carly passionately noted. “This is a preventive mental health issue so it’s important that we provide resources that they need so they don’t go down that path.”

To learn more about Mourning Hope Grief Center and programs offered and how you can get involved, visit mourninghope.org.

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