Coronavirus: Quebec announces new program to help those struggling with bereavement

The Quebec government announced the launch of a special program on Wednesday to help support bereaved families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Danielle McCann and Marguerite Blais, the minister responsible for seniors and caregivers, said the government is injecting $240,000 to roll out the program that will complement existing services offered by the health and social services network.

The new program aims to meet the needs of people who have lost or will lose a loved one during the pandemic by offering them the possibility of having quick and free access to information adapted to the current context, via telephone helplines, as well as individual or family counselling services.

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To make access to those services easier, telephone helplines including Tel-Écoute, and Deuil-Jeunesse (youth mourning) will be getting financial help so that they can operate seven days a week, 12 hours a day.

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Individual consultations will be offered free of charge for those grieving, up to a maximum of three consultations. Additionally, the Quebec government’s website will host a guide for grieving during a pandemic.

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Moreover, additional training for managers, clinical supervisors and other stakeholders network will be available via webinars and guide books. The idea is to make sure network professionals are better prepared to intervene with mourners in the context of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Mental health an escalating issue for Quebecers as COVID-19 restrictions persist

McCann said the government recognized the need for a special program because even at the best of times, never mind a pandemic, the grieving process is difficult.

“We are very sensitive to the situation experienced by people in mourning,” she said.

“The health crisis we are going through is adding significant weight to the loss of a loved one. We want to make sure that the necessary quality support and services are available to the people who need them.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus is changing how we hold funerals: ‘another layer of grief’

Both McCann and Blais urged those in need to not hesitate to make use of the available resources.

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“No one should face the loss of a loved one alone,” said Blais. “The special program we are announcing today will provide more help to people who are grieving for a loved one and who need the tools or an attentive ear to get through this ordeal.”

In addition to the resources listed above, those requiring psycho-social support can call the Info-Social 811 phone line.

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