Grief Support Groups

Grief Support Groups - Starting January 2023!

The pandemic created barriers to gathering in person for peer support. However, we are very grateful that we can now open the doors for children and teenagers with shared experiences of grief to connect once again. We are filled with hope for how this might help children, at any stage of their grief journey, to experience healing.

More than ever, given the collective trauma and loss of the last three years, children who have also experienced the devastation of death of a parent need compassion and support. For many kids, being around others who have also experienced loss offers a unique kind of validation and comfort. If you have a child, or know a child, between the ages of 8 and 16, who is grieving the loss of a parent/ caregiver, please consider sharing this information with them.


Two groups will be offered: one for pre-teen children ages 8-12, the other for adolescents ages 13-16. We will hold the first group session for each group in January 2023, with plans to continue the group meetings on a monthly basis. Everyone is welcome to try the group out and decide if they would like to continue.

For both age groups, the focus is to:

  • normalize their experiences with grief and help them feel less alone
  • find new ways to express emotion, which increases resilience
  • Explore coping strategies to deal with grief-related struggles (for example, how to cope with Mother’s Day or Father’s Day)

As facilitators, we want to reassure children and their families that grief groups are not all gloomy and sad! Yes, we talk about grief, but we also focus on the power of connection and just being together with others who “get it”.

Kids Group
When: January 24, 2023, from 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Where: Carleton Heights Community Centre
1665 Apeldoorn Avenue, Ottawa K2C 1V6

Children from the age of 8 to 12 are welcome to join this support group which is geared around activities such as games and crafts. We look forward to adapting activities to the interests and needs of the children attending. In keeping with their developmental needs, there is a strong
focus on play, connection, and friendship.

Teen Group
When: January 31, 2023, from 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Where: Carleton Heights Community Centre
1665 Apeldoorn Avenue, Ottawa K2C 1V6

Teens from the ages of 13 to 16 are welcome to share their experiences of grief, through both conversations and activities. The approach will be geared towards the needs expressed by teens themselves and their areas of interest. In the past, teen grief groups have involved playing cards, doing artwork, going for walks together, and lots of talking and laughter.

Registration for either group:
Cost: $125 per monthly session
Your benefits plan (such as SunLife or Manulife) may cover part or all of the cost if you have coverage for “Social Work Services”. Please check with your specific provider to confirm. Please let us know if the cost is a barrier, as we can lower the cost for those without benefits and who have financial limitations.

As part of the intake process, one of the group facilitators will call you to ask some questions and gather information about your child and family. We prioritize your child feeling comfortable and safe in the group. The intake process helps us prepare for the specific needs of children attending and to create a supportive environment for all participants.

How to Register:

Email: [email protected] to set up a time to speak by phone.
Phone: (613) 867-7186
A consent/ intake form will be emailed to you to complete online.

Your Group facilitators:

Joanne Doucette, MSW, RSW
Social Worker

I have over 20 years of experience as a social worker and therapist, specializing in grief. I also have a special focus on parent support and promoting mental health for families by empowering parents to learn therapeutic interventions with their children. Prior to entering private practice, I worked in Palliative Care at CHEO and facilitated support groups for bereaved parents. In my private practice, I have worked with many grieving individuals, both children, and adults, in both individual therapy and through groups and workshops. Providing support groups for kids and teens dealing with grief has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and I am so grateful we can offer this much-needed service to the community once again.


Katt Brook
Holistic Grief Coach, Registered Recreation Therapist

For the past 12 years, I have had the privilege of supporting children, youth, and young adults in palliative care and grief and bereavement. Before moving into private practice as a Holistic Grief Coach, I worked with hundreds of families at Roger Neilson House facilitating grief and bereavement groups for children and youth. I have a special interest in supporting and coaching parents in talking with their children about grief. Seeing grief through the eyes of children/youth has given me a life- long passion to always advocate for their voice. I currently devote my time to now working privately as a grief coach with youth and adults. I personally love using mindfulness, yoga/movement, mediation, and art expression as a means to support my clients in better understanding their grief.