Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss announced the expansion of its virtual group support programs with one designed to help nurses dealing with the stressors of healthcare work during COVID-19.

Imagine, which serves more than 2,000 individuals annually and is nationally recognized for its work helping bereaved children and their families, offers its Peer Support Group for Nurses at no cost. Interested nurses can join the weekly support group at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesdays beginning Sept. 30.

Imagine’s Founder and Executive Director Mary Robinson said, “Through the pandemic, we recognized a gap in support for some of the people we rely on most: our nurses. Supporting nurses who are themselves supporting grieving families felt like a perfect fit for our mission.”

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Robinson, who was named a 2019 CNN Hero, went on to say, “Nurses continue to selflessly care for others despite their own fears about their potential exposure to COVID-19. We need to ensure they have a place to turn to for support.”

For many, the anxiety they feel going to work in a healthcare environment comes on top of grief they were feeling before the pandemic even hit.

Talia Sion, a newly minted nurse, had attended Imagine’s Young Adult Group for support following the death of her mother in January, and then joined the organization’s pilot support program for First Responders when the pandemic hit.

Of her experience, Sion said, “I was quickly overwhelmed with the weight of so many sick and unstable patients, not knowing if and when things would ever get back to ‘normal.’ Once again, Imagine created a program for me to turn to with people who understood how I feel; people who understood what I was facing on a daily basis at work.”

The nature of the program’s virtual environment breaks down geographic boundaries for those seeking support. Nurses from New Jersey and throughout the country are welcome to attend.

“New Jersey is no longer a hotspot for COVID-19, but many of the nurses here are processing what they went through and bracing for a possible resurgence,” Robinson said. “Meanwhile, there are nurses in other states in similar positions to where we were a few months ago. Sharing these stories, fears, and challenges at all different stages in a peer support model is proven to be an effective way to learn coping strategies.”

As with all of Imagine’s offerings, this free Peer Group Support for Nurses program will be available year-round for as long as is needed. Those who are interested can register at imaginenj.org/nurses.

Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss is a New Jersey-based grief support center for children, young adults and families dealing with the death or life-altering illness of a parent, sibling or child. In addition to its peer grief support programs, Imagine provides training through education and outreach programs across the state to a variety of organizations including schools, houses of worship and corporations. Its goal is to create communities where grief and loss are transformed into resilience, empathy and compassion; and where no child grieves alone.