Intro: This is “Warriors in the Community” brought to you by Wayne State University, and now to learn about how Wayne State is positively impacting our community, here is Darrell Dawsey.
Darrell Dawsey: Today I'm with Luisa Kcomt, assistant Professor in the School of Social Work, who is developing a new program called Hope HQ, which is designed to provide bereavement care for children and caregivers who have lost loved ones due to drug overdose.
Can you tell us what led you to develop such a focused bereavement program?
Luisa Kcomt: Before I became a faculty member at Wayne State School of Social Work, I was a clinical social worker leading children's bereavement camps in Michigan. And from that experience, I saw how the children who came, who experienced an overdose death, their bereavement process was a little more complex.
There's often shame and stigma surrounding the death. And so from that, I recognize that there was a need for the specific population.
Darrell Dawsey: How common is it for children and caregivers to have to deal with this kind of thing?
Luisa Kcomt: The loss of a parent or significant person due to drug overdose specifically, over a million people have died from drug overdose since the year 2000.
And in the year 2020 and 2021, the age groups that had the highest prevalence of overdose deaths are people aged 25 to 44. So these are individuals who are of prime caregiving and parenting age.
Darrell Dawsey: Can you give us an example of the sort of tools or strategies that you've employed to help these children and caregivers?
Luisa Kcomt: Our idea for Hope HQ is a program that offers a continuum of care. Their caregivers of these children will also be invited to participate because it's important for them to learn how to support their kids in the home environment. We'll also have a aftercare services. We're right now in the process of developing a website called the Hope HQ Knowledge and Support Center, which aims to offer informational services.
Darrell Dawsey: Thanks so much, Luisa. We appreciate you taking the time to join us.
Extro: This has been “Warriors in the Community.” For more Wayne State News, please visit us online at today.wayne.edu/wwj and join us here next Monday at the same time for more warriors in the community.