Out of the Shadows: Supporting Children & Youth Grieving a Substance-Related Death

The Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre has helped to support children, youth and families living with grief for the last twelve years. We offer services and resources to families managing grief of all kinds, including the grief that comes from overdose and substance related deaths. In the last few years, there have been many more families asking for service at our Centre because they have experienced a death by substance use or overdose. However, we also know that there are not many resources or services available to these families in Toronto.

The Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre received money from the Toronto Urban Health Fund and partnered with other community organizations to create a webinar and resource package for adults caring for a child or youth grieving a substance related death. This resource was put together using information we have collected working with families over the years, and through interviews we completed (Spring 2019) with caregivers and youth who have lived experience of substance-related grief. 

Given this webinar is brand new, we want to understand more about who is using the resource, and understand how it impacts your comfort or confidence talking with your young people about substance use and grief. We have created two short surveys that we hope you will complete to help us learn more about what is helpful about this resource and what we can do differently in the future. Completing these surveys is voluntary; you do not have to take part in them to watch the webinar or download the resources. However, the more we can learn from caregivers in the community, the easier it is for Dr. Jay’s to continue to create and deliver these resources, and receive the necessary funding to do so. 

We hope this webinar is helpful for you and your family. You can return to it at any time to re-watch it. If you have any questions about any of the information contained in the webinar, please contact Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre or any of our partner organizations (listed and hyperlinked below). 

STEP 1: Complete Survey BEFORE Starting the Webinar

If you have any questions about this survey, please email research@griefcentre.org.

STEP 2: Watch Webinar

STEP 3: Download Helpful Resources

For a list of helpful resources for families, including websites, books, statistics, articles and videos, click here:


STEP 4: Complete Survey AFTER Finishing the Webinar

A Special Thanks to All Members of our Advisory Committee

Megan Porter, Grief & Palliative Care Counsellor
Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre

Victoria Pileggi, Research & Evaluation Coordinator
Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre

Lysa Toye, Grief & Trauma Counsellor
Lysa Toye Psychotherapy

Noah Zavitz, Program & Volunteer Coordinator
Bereaved Families of Ontario Toronto

Andrea Kusters, Founder
GRASP Toronto Chapter (Grief Recovery after Substance Passing)
Board Member, Families for Addiction Recovery

Sunil Boodhai, Manager, Family Programs

Rose D’Alimonte, Manager of Social Work
Toronto District School Board

Dr. Chana Korenblum, Staff Physician
Division of Adolescent Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children
Department of Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Youth Participant: Alexandra Perry

Caregiver Participant: Sarah Keast

Special thanks to our funder, The Toronto Urban Health Fund for their support in the creation of this resource