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D 49 grief counseling support

Dr. Kim Boyd is the lead psychologist for Falcon School District 49. She took time to answer questions about how the district deals with loss. D 49 has a team of responders, comprised of school psychologists, school social workers and counselors. ìWe provide a debriefing and psycho-educational model of support. We talk to the students and staff about the grief response,î Boyd said. ìWe validate their grief response and symptoms and discuss with them things to monitor that may need intervention Ö sleep issues, appetite†suppression, depression symptoms, anxiety issues.î†The responders keep a log of all the students they see, and they work with parents, informing them that their child has been seen for counseling. School counselors follow up with the students as well.ìStudents are typically more receptive to counseling than the staff,î Boyd said. ìOften, we have groups of students that will come to grief counseling together Ö routine often provides comfort and†stability. I always tell students and staff, ëYou don’t have to chase the grief, it will find you.íî Boyd said staff is not as responsive to school counselors, especially in an ìopen format.î She said catching staff in the hallway or lounge and having a one-on-one conversation is easier. The staff is often afraid to show their feelings to students.ìWe try to help them realize it is OK for the students to see them be upset,î Boyd said. ìWe offer employee assistance programs for all of our staff Ö and try to provide them with psycho-educational information about the grief cycle.î

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