Healing From Grief Through Shared Languages

Oct 15, 2023

As an extension of Frederick Health Hospice, the Equal Access Bereavement Program provides grief support, at no cost, to Hispanic residents and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in Frederick County with the help of Spanish-speaking counselors. The program’s Bilingual Bereavement Coordinator, Laura Fernandez, says, “Because we offer services in Spanish, we can support more people and remove barriers. It’s all about providing a space for people to be themselves and speak comfortably.”

Since 2022, the program has offered one-on-one grief counseling, support groups, bereavement camps, and retreats for children, as well as in-school grief support. Through a partnership with Frederick County Public Schools, Laura offers shortterm counseling sessions for students of all ages, from prekindergarten to high school. As a former school therapist, she states, “Being able to meet kids where they are is important, especially when it comes to language. There are just so many feelings to explore, which is why it’s so helpful to have someone who can listen and understand you.”

Grief looks different for everyone. Therefore, it’s essential to make space for people to express themselves, especially in their native language, which creates more opportunities for connection and healing. Laura aims to ensure people know that this program is where “you are not alone; you can get help and be surrounded by love in a safe and welcoming space while going through a challenging time.”

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