Do we need a National Grief Strategy to help our fellow Australians through the impacts of death, COVID 19 & other recent natural disasters?
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
In early 2021, after recording more than 20,000 COVID-19 deaths, Canadians started calling on their Government to implement a National Grief Strategy. Canada has now recorded more than 43,000 deaths so, no doubt, the calls are getting louder.
What is a National Grief Strategy?
They want public awareness campaigns on the impact of grief and ways of coping, more public education on grief, more public supports, and increased funding on grief-related research.
They are also wanting their Prime Minister to play more of a role as “Comforter-In-Chief”, noting that for US President Joe Biden, the role comes naturally.
President Biden has endured so much grief in his personal life that he is recognised as:
“…a superpower in his ability to comfort and listen and connect with people who have just suffered the greatest loss of their lives”.
Does Australia have a “Comforter-in Chief”?
On live television, our Prime Minister Anthony Albanese shared his recent visit to the graveside of his late mother, Maryanne, who raised him as a single parent. He spoke of hoping his own journey would support people experiencing hardship:
“I hope it gives people out there, whether they be single mums or people going through difficulties in life and their children. I hope that my journey does give people a bit of an uplift."
Australia and a National Grief Strategy
We potentially have a “Comforter-in Chief” in our Prime Minister. He speaks of bringing about cultural change in Australia, along the lines of reawakening our compassion for each other.
With more than 12,000 deaths to COVID-19 to date in Australia and the devastating impacts of recent natural disasters, should we be campaigning for a National Grief Strategy? And what would it look like?
Scrolling through the web, there is an array of Australian-created online resources on grief with the various websites, and initiatives contained within, funded by government and philanthropists.
Views on a National Grief Strategy
These online grief supports do appear to be offered in a haphazard fashion. It would be ideal to have a single online resource that is the “go-to” for Australians who seek professional and quality support on coping with their grief.
The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement could certainly be this resource. This site could not only continue with its factsheets, webinars, group counselling and one-on-one counselling service but also incorporate other resource sites that it has “quality assured”.
Currently, this is a Victorian service funded by the Victorian Department of Health yet it appears on the Commonwealth Government My Aged Care website and other State Government websites as the site for all Australians to visit.
For a national approach it would be sensible for it to be funded by the Commonwealth Government and take a truly national role.
A compassionate Australia
Another point to make goes back to culture. In providing services to others in whatever context, be it Government services or serving beers at the local club, all Australians need to be compassionate and think of others.
It is a point made in a recent article by Social Ventures Australia and I couldn’t agree more. In helping fellow Australians with their grief, we all need to be there for each other and comfort one another.
Consider reading the approaches to comforting a grieving person found in our free DR Care Solutions guide.
Guide: Approaches to Comforting a Grieving Loved One or Friend
With our experience in care, we compiled a range of suggested approaches to comforting grieving relatives and friends to help them through that intense grief period.
It's free and easy to download; we invite you to get your copy.
Submit the form below and we'll send it directly to your email address.
Seeking care for a loved one? Please feel free to call me, Danielle Robertson, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.
 National Post: Along the Way, Joe Biden Turned His Grief into a Superpower
 News.com.au: Anthony Albanese Visits Mum's Grave after Returning from Tokyo
 Aged Care Grief and Bereavement Support
 My Aged Care: New Grief and Bereavement Website
 Social Ventures Australia: The Art of Support Grief: Have We Lost It?