Local center offering free grief counseling as holiday season approaches

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Studies show a pandemic spike in depression and suicidal thoughts.

With the holidays fast approaching, another stressful time, there’s a real push to get people the help they need.

The Baptist Centers for Good Grief wants people to know where to turn if they are struggling during the pandemic and this holiday season. That’s why they’re starting up holiday grief sessions free of charge.

“It’s not a very good world right now. There’s a lot of things going on that suck,” Gillian Soaper of Memphis said.

The pandemic has impacted nearly everyone in some way. That’s why Soaper is not surprised to hear that an increasing number of people are reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“People have died, people have lost their jobs. The unemployment rate is bad, just a lot of things going on,” she said. “How would you not be upset?”

With the holidays drawing near, head of the Baptist Centers for Good Grief Angela Hamblen Kelley said we’re on the cusp of a painful holiday season, especially for those who have lost a loved one to COVID.

“Grief impacts everyone. It’s the most universal experience there is, and that’s just on a normal Friday,” she said. “When you add the holidays to it, it’s more complicating for folks.”

That’s why she said the centers are starting up grief sessions free of charge starting in November for those who need extra support.

“The seminar offers real, concrete tips to let people know they are not alone and how to approach the holidays with some hope this year.”

Kelley says planning ahead and knowing that things should be better next year could also help relieve stress.

“Having a plan, taking on situations in bite-sized pieces, and remembering it’s just for this year, and then we will tackle next year,” she said.

Baptist Centers for Good Grief’s holiday sessions will be offered six different times in November.

The centers also offer other counseling groups throughout the year for those who are grieving the death of a loved one.

You can call the centers at 901-861-5656 to register.