Cultural Responsiveness

Grief is different for everyone and is often influenced and affected by a person's unique identity constellation. What children, teens, and adults think, feel, do, and say when they are grieving can be shaped by these aspects of identity including culture, ethnicity, race, gender, culture, religious/spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, economic status, developmental level, community traditions, and geographic location. As helping professionals, it's important to recognize that identity plays a part in how people express (or feel that they can/can't express) their grief. In working towards becoming more culturally responsive, it can be helpful to first clarify what your assumptions and understandings are around grief. Here are some questions to consider. Then, you can approach a child, teen, or adult who is grieving from a place of curiosity and openness to how their grief is interwoven with everything that makes up who they are in the world. 


It's also important to acknowledge the higher rates of childhood adversity and premature death for people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that in a survey of 214,157 respondents, "participants who identified as black, Hispanic, or multiracial, those with less than a high school education, those with annual income less than $15 000, those who were unemployed or unable to work, and those identifying as gay/lesbian or bisexual reported significantly higher exposure to adverse childhood experiences than comparison groups." (Merrick MT, Ford DC, Ports KA, Guinn AS. Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences From the 2011-2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 23 States. JAMA Pediatr. Published online September 17, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.2537)

Resources from The Dougy Center

Podcast - Gratitude, Guilt, & Grief - Ty Alexander

Podcast - Suffocated Grief & Supporting Black Youth - Dr. Tashel Bordere

Podcast - Death as Resistance - Dr. Kami Fletcher

Podcast - Culturally Aware Grief Support in the Latino Community

I Was Taught/Shown - A Self-Assessment for Grief Expression

Many of our books and resources are available in Spanish and Japanese 


Other Resources (Portland, OR area & national)

Crisis Lines & Mental Health Support for BIPOC Communities

Black Line - crisis line 1.800.604.5841

Therapy for Black Girls - list of trusted, culturally responsive therapists
Therapy for Black Men - list of culturally responsive therapists
Black Mental Health Alliance



Bo's Place - Extensive collection of folletos educativos (resources) in Spanish



TransActive Gender Center - Resources for children, families, and educators

Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC)

The Q Center - Resource center for LGBTQ+ people of all ages

"Why I had a hard time calling my transgender child 'they' - and why I'm doing it anyway."



5 Tips for Being an Ally - Chesaleigh

GLAAD's Resources for Allies

Coalition of Communities of Color

What is Privilege?

Confronting Prejudice: Protecting Yourself and Others


Rooted in Rights


Children & Teens in Foster Care
The Neglected Transition - Building a Relational Home for Children Entering Foster Care


















© 2018 by The Dougy Center            503.775.5683