COVID-19 vaccine

The vaccine is available to everyone 12 and older! Find a City-run vaccine clinic or partner vaccine clinic to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you have questions about vaccination, call (215) 685-5488.

Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction

Bereavement support services

The City’s Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction program offers a range of free bereavement support services for those who are grieving the loss of a Philadelphia resident due to substance use.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others and need immediate assistance, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Telephonic crisis support is available by texting “START” to 741-741 or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The opioid epidemic has hit our city especially hard. Much of our work in Philadelphia has focused on trying to prevent overdoses and drug-related deaths.  But our work should not—and does not—end there.  Behind every death is a vast network of family and friends that are left shattered. Loved ones often face a complex grief experience that if left untreated can lead to trauma and other negative health consequences.

Our bereavement support services offer a safe space in the form of peer support groups, grief counseling, bereavement support for peers and clinicians, and more. We approach our clients with empathy and a commitment to support them during this difficult time.


Peer support groups

Virtual peer support groups are open to any adult who is:

  • 18+ years of age.
  • Grieving the loss of a Philadelphia resident who died from an accidental drug overdose.

LEARN MORE & SIGN UP


Grief counseling

Grief cannot be “cured,” but it can be managed, processed, and worked through in counseling that can:

  • Identify new coping skills.
  • Calm negative thoughts (i.e., guilt and self-blame).

LEARN MORE & SIGN UP


Grief peers

Connect one-on-one with another individual grieving a substance use loss for support and connection.

LEARN MORE & SIGN UP


Grief workshops

A series of structured, time-limited grief workshops for those new to grief.

LEARN MORE & SIGN UP


Bereavement support for peers and clinicians

Support groups for those who are interested in discussing and processing the grief and loss experienced through their work in the substance use community.

LEARN MORE & SIGN UP


Share your story

Many individuals grieving a substance use loss find purpose in sharing their stories with the hope that it may help somebody else.

LEARN MORE & SHARE YOUR STORY


Data and prevention

  • OD Stat: Learn more about Philadelphia’s overdose death review team.
  • Substance Use Philly: Current data on substance use, misuse, and overdose trends

Resources


Contact

If you have general questions, please contact our team at griefsupport@phila.gov. If you have questions for our team members, please see Staff.


Staff

Laura Vargas, MSW, LSW
Program Manager
More +
Kaitlin Worden, MSW, LSW
Bereavement Care Provider
More +
Shawanda Smith, MSW, LSW
Bereavement Care Coordinator
More +
Kym Silvasy-Neale
Intern
More +

Top