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Everything is Awful: Building Connection and Providing Support in Times of Loss and Upheaval

March 5 - August 20

Registration info

Applications are being accepted through January 2, 2024. Apply Here!

Peer support is rooted in building empathetic relationships based on shared lived experiences, most frequently centered in shared experiences with mental health and / or substance use. Frequently, there is a focus on guiding people into recovery or centering the recovery story, which is often understood to mean focusing on the positive aspects of one’s experiences. This unique series focuses on the value in building connection that may be rooted in sharing experiences of distress or struggle, particularly taking into consideration the ongoing themes of grief and loss that we’ve experienced related to the pandemic and other current societal upheaval.

The purpose of this series is to support participants in exploring their own relationships to grief, loss, and distress. Using this as a base, they’ll work to explore how they can use these experiences to build connections with the people they’re working with in order to bring their whole selves into the work they’re doing. Participants will also be supported in understanding the importance of truly meeting the people they’re working with where they’re at, instead of centering optimism and recovery as an expectation in the provision of peer support services

The first half of this series will focus on supporting participants as they explore their own, personal experiences of grief, loss, and distress. They’ll provide and receive peer support, explore tools for understanding their experiences, and build community with each other rooted in their shared experiences of distress. Facilitators will utilize their background in grief and death work in order to support participants through this. This will take place in person across 3 days.

The second half of this series will take place online and focus on participants continuing to build upon their experiences in order to hone their skills in supporting others through distress. They’ll practice approaching from a place of neutrality, de-centering their own expectations, and approaching from a place of curiosity in order to provide effective support. Additionally, participants will explore how their experiences can play a role in building connection in times of hardship while working with facilitators to discern the line between attempting to guide people out of grief and truly leaning into distress.

In Person Dates: March 5 - 7, 2024

Virtual Dates: 3rd Tuesday of the Month at  2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Eastern

(1pm - 3pm Central / 12pm - 2pm Mountain / 11am - 1pm Pacific)

  • March 19
  • April 16
  • May 21
  • June 18
  • July 16
  • August 20

Applications are being accepted through January 2, 2024. Apply Here!

For any additional questions please contact Maureen Nichols,


March 5
August 20
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Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.