Bereaved Families of Ontario - Midwestern Region
At Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region, our mission is to create an empathetic community of peer support and education for individuals and families who are grieving. Our vision is the bereaved helping the bereaved so that no one has to walk alone on their journey of grief. We achieve our mission by providing grief support programs in the community, educating the public about grief, and creating opportunities to remember loved ones through our memorial events.
We offer groups for parents grieving the death of an infant or child, as well as a mixed-loss, open groups for adults grieving a death, and one specifically for individuals grieving a death by substance use. Volunteers who are themselves bereaved facilitate these programs. Our Healing Little Hearts programs for children 4-12 are facilitated by professionals and feature a concurrent group for parents/caregivers. This year, we launched a program for teens called Good Grief. In addition to support groups, we host two memorial events during the year and provide education and outreach in the community.
The current situation has meant that we’ve had to change how we support families who are grieving while still maintaining the sense of the community that peer support makes possible. BFO-MR has been fortunate to transition the majority of our programs over to virtual and increased their frequency so families and individuals can continue to be supported. We’ve seen an increase in demand for grief education and we’ve been able to respond with virtual education sessions that we hope are helping our community navigate what they might be experiencing during this difficult time. We continue to plan for what our memorial events will look like this year – it feels even more important now to ensure we can create opportunities for our community to honour their loved ones as current restrictions have changed the way people are able to grieve and memorialize.
We are anticipating that when the world returns to “normal” that we will see an increased demand for grief support. The physical inability to be with friends and family when a death occurs is complicating the grief experience. The inability to hold a funeral or memorial service; the inability to connect with people who are going through a similar experience in a meaningful way; the inability to share a hug that tells each other we’re in this together is all having an effect and as a result Canadians grieving COVID and non-COVID deaths are at elevated risk of unresolved, complicated and prolonged grief. We continue to put strategies in place so we are in a position to respond to this demand.
VIRTUAL Weekly Living with Loss Groups: Register here.
VIRTUAL Monthly Living with Loss for adults grieving a death by substance use: Register here.
Jaime Bickerton, Executive Director
Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region
65 Hanson Ave.
Kitchener, ON N2C 2H6
Our mission: To provide an empathetic community of peer support and education for individuals and families who are grieving.