Adolescents Find Comfort in On-Line Counselling

Sandy Lipkus, B.Ed; M.S.W. Grief counsellor,

Where do the youth go to access services when the death of someone close touches their lives? How can they release their feelings of sadness, guilt anger or fear? Many young people are reluctant to share their feelings with parents, therapists, school counsellors, or even their peers. It has been my experience that a number of adolescents from all over the world find comfort in on-line grief sharing. It gives them an opportunity to write their story down in great detail and share it with an anonymous professional. With face-to-face counselling it is often recommended that young people keep a diary or journal to express their feelings about a death or loss. This same concept can be applied to on-line counselling.

A 15 year old girl living in a remote area in Wales was deeply disturbed by the death of her father. She was estranged from her extended family and had difficulty communicating with her mother, a single mom working hard to support their 2-person family. Searching for some answers, the young girl discovered the site and was able to share her feelings of grief. After many weeks of communication, it became evident that she needed the services of a professional. With this in mind, through the www, I was able to investigate a few social service organizations in her area. I finally found a social worker who specialized in working with youth and adolescents. The two connected with one another and my young friend is now receiving some help in dealing with her loss. She contacts ShareGrief on occasion and it appears that she is beginning to come to terms with her father's death.

Over the past year, a number of grieving young people have contacted the ShareGrief site. The next step is to connect them with one another and create an international on-line support group. Adolescents can find comfort through the internet by sharing their feelings and experiences with their peers who have experienced a similar loss. Isn't the internet a fascinating means of communication?

Sandy Lipkus, B.Ed; M.S.W.
Grief counsellor,

submitted by: Sandy Lipkus M.S.W., B.Ed

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