The Danish National Center for Grief
The Danish National Center for Grief was founded in 2017 by Børn, Unge & Sorg, a Danish organization which over the past two decades has provided specialized counseling and treatment to grieving children, teens, young adults and their families.
Areas of focus for The Center include conducting research, disseminating knowledge, and providing professional training to health care professionals, focusing on how to support and respond to people in grief. A primary focus is to help professionals learn to recognize the difference between normal and complicated grief, and how to target interventions accordingly. We strive to raise public awareness and acceptance of death and grief as natural occurrences, and encourage a dialog about these occurrences to decrease stigmatization and the avoidance of these topics. Death and grief should no longer be considered taboos.
Our vision: Grief should not destroy lives. Mission:
- Collect, systematize, and house the latest knowledge about grief-related issues, and work to disseminate this knowledge to healthcare providers and local governments throughout Denmark
- Strengthen and coordinate research
- Offer psychological treatment to grieving persons in need of such treatment across the lifespan. In other words, the Center plans to put in place lines of service for children and teens, young adults, adults, and the elderly.
- Break down the taboos associated with death and grief.
The objective of The Center is to ensure that all relevant health care professionals in Denmark have sufficient knowledge and competence to help prevent, to accurately identify and to effectively treat people with complicated grief. To facilitate this, The Center will collaborate with local governments and communities to develop training and other initiatives.
Essentially, we strive to create a shift in the Danish mentality and culture by focusing on death and grief, and by encouraging a more open and accepting dialogue.
- Preparing clinical practice guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence for treating complicated grief. These guidelines are to be used by nurses, general practitioners and psychologists
- Developing and launching a new training program for grief counsellors in cooperation with the Danish vocational training institution Metropol
- Collecting and disseminating information about complicated grief among the elderly
- Identifying available grief support and treatment services for all age groups across Denmark
The Danish National Center for Grief was founded in 2017, and builds on the many years of experience working with grieving children and young adults within the organization Børn, Unge & Sorg.
Throughout Børn Unge & Sorg’s extensive work, it has become apparent that grieving people experience many barriers when they start looking for support for their grief.
These barriers are apparent throughout society and involve political decision-makers, healthcare professionals, and ordinary people. Examples of barriers include:
- Lack of acknowledgment that grief can cause illness.
- Lack of acknowledgement that complicated grief requires specialized treatment, and that we in Denmark know too little about this treatment.
- Lack of cooperation among relevant stakeholders in area concerning grief, that is, among providers, researchers, and the public and private sectors.
- The ongoing cultural practice of treating death and grief as taboos
Treatment provided at the Danish National Center for Grief
The Danish National Center for Grief offers free psychological treatment to children, adolescents, and young adults under the age of 28 in our three locations, in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Odense. We have psychologists who are specialized in working with children and adolescents whose close relatives face serious illness or who have died. Our core tasks are to provide:
- Psychological treatment to the children, adolescents and young adults living with a seriously ill parent/sibling and in need of support to function in everyday life.
- Psychological treatment to children, adolescents and young adults who have developed, or who are at risk of developing, complicated grief and as a result experience reduced daily functioning following the death of a loved one.
We also offer telephone counselling to the immediate family and social network surrounding the children and adolescents to help facilitate how best to support them. In addition, we advise and educate professionals in contact with these children and young people (e.g. health care institutions, or institutions/schools).
The treatment and guidance are free of charge.
The Center is at the forefront of providing grief-related services. Our research center ensures that relevant new knowledge is applied in practice.
We strive to disseminate this knowledge to groups of professionals who come in contact with affected children and adolescents in their daily work. We achieve this through telephone counselling, training, and supervision among other things.
Research at the Danish National Center for Grief
The Center’s Research Unit evaluates, researches, and disseminates information on grief-related issues.
- “The Evidence Project” – Development of Methods to Support Children and Young Survivors
(Danish: “Evidensprojektet” – udvikling af metoder til støtte for børn og unge efterladte)
- “Grief Care for the Elderly – Knowledge Sharing and Competence Development
(Danish: “Ældres Sorg – vidensformidling og kompetenceudvikling”)
The Research Unit strives to:
- Initiate and facilitate internal method development. Documentation, evaluation, and research must have practical relevance in order to benefit the target groups in the long-term. We ensure this on a daily basis through ongoing client-feedback, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration between our three research departments.
- Document the impact of our services through in questionnaire surveys and impact measurements. The research unit conducts ongoing internal investigations and analyses on specific issues, including those observed in the (department and) the evaluation process. such as……
- Generate needed research-based knowledge about the experience of children and young people living with severely ill parents/siblings, or deceased parents/siblings and the impact it has on their lives, and on how to prevent developmental disorders due parents’ illness or death. Our research in this area will help contribute to a severely understudied area both in Denmark and internationally.
- Disseminate national and international research findings through teaching and counseling professionals working with and meeting people in grief.
- Disseminate knowledge to relevant groups/stakeholders (relevant professionals, granting authorities, collaborators) in the form of articles, presentations, courses, information and teaching materials.
- Build networks with external partners and stakeholders, including universities.
The volunteers in The Danish National Center for Grief
In The Center we have a large group of volunteers. The volunteers are all young people who have experienced loss, but have progressed well in life. The volunteers support other young people in the same situation by managing our telephone hotline “Linjen” and through our chat support service, as well as by answering letters. In addition, they arrange café nights, which provide an opportunity for young people who have experience death of a close relative or who are living with an ill relative to meet in person and support one another.
The Danish National Center for Grief has received funding from:
- The Ministry of Social Affairs, The Ministry of Health, The Danish Health Authority
- Copenhagen Municipality, Frederiksberg Municipality, Aarhus Municipality
- Foundations – including Egmont Fonden, HelseFonden, Ole Kirks Fond, VELUX Fonden, FærchFonden og A. P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Mckinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal
- Private donations – See how you can support our work
- Corporate sponsorships