A South Dakota health care system is expanding its grief counseling program in the Black Hills region.
Regional Health has offered grief counseling in Spearfish and Belle Fourche, but is now adding services to Lead, Deadwood and Sturgis, the Black Hills Pioneer reported .
"It goes back to our community investment," said Patti Aurand, a hospice chaplain, bereavement coordinator and social work associate with Regional Health. "What are we doing to make sure we're taking care of people on all levels, on all spectrums."
The group meetings are open to residents whose love ones are facing serious health issues, those who've recently lost a love one or anyone who is actively grieving, Aurand said.
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Processing grief can take a long time, and Aurand said she hopes the program will help people process lingering emotions they may face.
"I know what it is to have your heart feel literal pain when it's an emotional thing and like it is being pulled out of your chest, and not being able to breath, and wondering, 'Will anything ever be OK again?'" Aurand said. "And after going through some of those on my own, it's nice to be able to go, 'Yep, it sucks, but it can be done.'"
Regional Health is also offering an eight-week course called "Understanding Your Grief" for those dealing with a particularly difficult loss.
"That one ends up being a little bit more work for folks," Aurand said. "The thing I've loved about these materials is I see healing from the beginning to end, and even more importantly, the participants see healing."
The counseling services are part of Regional Health's Home and Hospice care program.