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News article

York St John to host first International Online Bereavement Conference

Published: 23 November 2020

Front entrance of York St John with a pathway flanked by lavender bushes

York St John University will be in the global spotlight this month as the University’s Counselling and Mental Health Centre (CMHC) hosts ‘Responses to Loss and Grief from the Covid-19 Pandemic: Personal, Professional and Political’.

The online event on Saturday 28 November features inspirational speakers from the UK, US and New Zealand. It will offer the chance to hear from key players and international leads in the field of bereavement and loss. The event will be chaired by Professor Lynne Gabriel, Director, York St John University CMHC.

She said: “We wanted to offer an accessible, vibrant event that engages with the personal, professional, and political features of grief and loss during a global pandemic.  From indigenous peoples’ grief rituals through to partner and family experiences of COVID-19, to the latest research on loss. It will be a contemporary and compelling context for people to access and receive information, a supportive environment and routes to other sources of help.  It will also feature an appearance from Colin Murray Parkes who has been a major supportive presence in global/national disasters (including the Lockerbie disaster).”

Professor Gabriel is keen to stress that the event is not just for a professional audience, but is aimed at supporting those who have been personally affected by bereavement too.

“It’s not just for academics, it’s for everyone.  The event brings together people from multiple cultural, social, and political backgrounds, providing a context for rich, rewarding, meaningful conversations and presentations.”  

Co-chair and conference organiser Dr John Wilson, Director, Bereavement Service, York St John University Counselling and Mental Health Centre said:

“We are facing global challenges in relation to COVID-19 bereavement, loss, trauma and associated mental health challenges. Now, more than ever, we need collaboration and connected personal and professional communities to support those who have been bereaved.”

Dr Wilson is currently personally supporting hundreds of people who have lost loved ones during the pandemic after establishing an online bereavement support group. Read more about this work here.

Tickets for the conference are via a self-select fee so that delegates can choose a registration fee that is appropriate to their budget, between £20-£40.

Further information and conference booking here.

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