By: Amelia Kimberling
This year saw the end of the Healing Hearts Club, also known as Grief Group, at Jenks High School. That then begs the question of what resources are still available to students? After some discussion with counselors Paula Lau and Joanna Majka, I found my answers.
It is no question that grief is taxing. It bogs your mind, and makes going through the simple motions of living seem like a chore. This goes for any type of grief whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the death of a pet, a bad breakup, or a split with a close friend. As students, we need to find the best measures to cope with it.
“I think kids are talking to their phones more than they are talking to each other,” says Lau. “Kids are expressing their emotions on social media to their friends, but they are cutting experienced adults out of the picture.”
So how can we find experienced adults to talk to? Lau, who is located in room 6-122 of Building 6, says her door is always open. As well as just talking to a trusted teacher or principal who can help a student find their way to Lau. However, Lau acknowledges a common fear of most students. Confidentiality.
Lau assured me that everything is confidential. As we near adulthood, we actually get a lot more confidentiality with our discussions with therapists and counselors. There are only two situations in which a discussion would have to be reported: if a student is in danger of harming themselves or someone else or if a student is being abused. It is the state law that everything else remains between Lau and the student unless the student wants otherwise.
She wants kids to remember “It’s perfectly normal to feel a lot of pain.”
Majka, a counselor at the Grief Resources center in Tulsa, also touches on this by mentioning how we, as teens, revolve our whole world around peers.
Majka adds that “When you go to school, it feels like no one else has gone through what you’ve gone through. So then you’re probably not going to talk about it and then set your grief aside. To not feel different.”
She stresses how talking with someone can make it feel normal to grieve, and she told me of a few other free counseling opportunities that can help with this. Now the Healing Hearts Club meets at the Grief Resource Center (2502 E 71st St. Tulsa) once a month. Plus, Majka mentioned to me a three day camp called Camp Erin.
“If there is only one thing that is the most powerful experience to be a part of, it’s to go to Camp Erin,” says Majka.
It’s free of charge and offered to kids 7-17 who are grieving. The whole weekend is dedicated to allowing the kids to be in a safe setting, memorialize their loss, and have a healthy get-away.
These opportunities are open to anyone and everyone. For more information on Camp Erin, visit https://www.thegriefcenter.org/services/camp-erin/ or come to Healing Hearts club on the second Tuesday of every month from 6:00-7:30.