HEALTHLINE: Grief Recovery Center in Baton Rouge launches support groups amid pandemic

HEALTHLINE: Grief Recovery Center in Baton Rouge launches support groups amid pandemic

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - If you’re feeling some fear or anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some free resources launched in October could help you cope. One Baton Rouge area organization in particular has shifted gears to meet the needs of the community.

It has been a busy 2020 at the Grief Recovery Center in Baton Rouge, but the therapists there understand why.

“We’ve had a 53 percent increase compared to last year in the demand for services, and that is overwhelming, but people need connections. People need to find a community in which they belong, and so they are seeking out that kind of support,” said Esther Sachse, executive director of the Grief Recovery Center.

To help meet that need, the center has quickly transitioned from all in-person counseling to a hybrid system. During October and November, the center is launching four free support groups that meet over Zoom: a general session for adults, one focused on parenting during the pandemic, and even groups designed for kids and teens who’ve been cooped up all year.

“Now that they can interact more, how do these interactions take place? Where do you go to safely do the things that adolescents and teens normally do together? And how do parents allow that to happen? And for our children, how do we just return to finding joy?” Sachse said.

The center also recently received a grant from the Capital Area United Way to offer free counseling to those who’ve lost a friend or family member to COVID-19. Grief does not always come from an actual death, however.

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“When we’re looking at grief and loss, we’re looking at the loss of your usual way of life, the loss of your freedom to comfortably go to the grocery store and talk to your friends who you meet there. We talk about loss of jobs, we talk about loss of income, we talk about fear,” Sachse said.

The important thing is for people to talk to someone about their grief and anxiety, and to keep talking about it. These front-line therapists believe the demand for their services will continue to go up as the pandemic lingers and eventually winds down.

“I think really the true emotional impact hasn’t been felt yet. The true emotional impact is going to be when we’re past the crisis and people take a breath and look back and say, ‘What did we just go through?’” said Sachse.

The group therapy sessions are free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

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