Helping Frontline Service Providers

Helping Frontline Service Providers with the Impact of Overdose Fatalities is a project in partnership with Learn to Cope, which delivers peer-to-peer support to families helping their loved ones who are suffering from an addictive disorder. The project is designed to strengthen the knowledge, skills, and resiliency of LTC's volunteer group facilitators and staff (a total of 200 helpers) in the aftermath of deaths from substance use (DSU). The project's focus is on three domains:
  • Helpers' personal experiences of grief and loss
  • The effects on helpers of deaths among LTC members and the larger community
  • How to be helpful to people bereaved by DSU
The project is managed by Franklin Cook, owner of UCS, and Kathy Day, LTC Senior Northeast Regional Manager.

PROGRAM ELEMENTS
  • Components to directly benefit LTC staff and group facilitators:
    • A full-day interactive training on grief after DSU
    • Face-to-face support groups, called "Peer Helper Sharing Circles"
    • A private, moderated online support community, called "Refuge & Reflection" 
    • Coaching and consultation on real-time issues related to grief and loss
  • Engagement of two advisory groups, one comprised of staff and another of volunteer facilitators, which will:
    • Assess the project based on qualitative and quantitative feedback 
    • Review a final report that will include recommendations for future program implementation
    • (Monthly meetings are by video conference to explore using that technology to support helpers.)
  • Other components:
    • A presentation on grief was delivered to half a dozen LTC support groups, but it was decided that the project should focus solely on working with helpers, so the presentation was discontinued.
    • Franklin supported a June 16, 2018, LTC family conference, Knowledge Is Power (and hopes are that it will be annual event).
The project is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and was launched May 1, 2018.