First Christian partners with First Hour Grief Response
by Rick Tipton
First Hour Grief Response's Christian-based and Christian-led mission is to provide compassionate guidance for people who have suffered the sudden loss of a loved one. In Kentucky, three people an hour are lost to sudden death and there will be more this year. We all know the obvious results of COVID 2020—loved ones have died--nearly 5,000 in Kentucky. Grief upon grief. If those numbers are not sobering enough, experts tell us that every death leaves behind five grievers. People lose not only their loved ones; they lose their jobs; they lose their income; offices, restaurants and schools were closed. But underneath those major headlines are serious mental health problems. Grief can include shock, anger, depression, helplessness and more. Grief can lead to substance use disorder, lashing out, even suicide. Grief requires help, and so many don’t know where or how to find the help they need.
Even before the pandemic, First Hour Grief Response was helping people move through their grief. The organization planned to help twice as many people in 2021 and will have provided over 1,000 hours of grief mentoring this year, through small group facilitation (loss of child, loss of parent, loss of sibling, loss by suicide, and more). First Hour Grief Response added trained mentors this year to assist with these efforts.
By 2021, First Hour Grief Response plans to present the ANCHOR Suicide Prevention Program to 5,000 middle and high school students by 2023. FAIR Health, an independent nonprofit, reports that as a percentage of filed claims among children 13-18, mental health claims were up 97%, self-harm claims up 90% and overdoses up 95% over 2019. And in a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 63% of 18- to-24-year-olds reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, with 25% reporting increased substance use to deal with that stress and 25% saying they had seriously considered suicide.
Nearly half of the people First Hour Grief Response serves are lower income. Unfortunately, many cannot afford the help they need. COVID will soon be behind us, but the mental health issues will be with us for years.
First Christian Church approved grant funds to First Hour Grief Response that will be used to supplement one-on-one mentoring costs to the low-income grievers.
The wholeness grant used to fund this ministry was made possible through your faithful financial support of our church and its ministries and help fund a variety of efforts to make our world a better place.
You can find more examples of those efforts or apply for a grant to make the world a better place by clicking here.