Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2022                                                                                      
Contact: atucci@hospicefoundation.org

Hospice Foundation of America Applauds Introduction of the GRIEF Act in U.S. House
WASHINGTON – Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) on Friday commended U.S. Representative Joe Morelle of New York for the introduction of legislation that would create a sweeping strategy to address the profound impact of loss suffered as a result of the pandemic and other recent tragedies.

The GRIEF Act, short for the Grief Resilience Investment and Education Fund, would provide funding to:
  • educate and train bereavement care providers and those offering peer support.
  • enable hospice providers, hospitals, palliative care providers, and other community-based non-profit groups to operate grief support groups in their broader communities and provide intervention services to help families and children address grief and loss.
  • research the impact of prolonged grief related to the COVID-19 pandemic and conduct a national public information campaign to improve grief literacy, highlighting the importance and availability of bereavement care.

“For too long, mental health needs have gone unaddressed, casting a shadow over families contending with significant loss—especially during the pandemic,” said Congressman Morelle (D-NY) in announcing the bill’s introduction.

“Establishing a National Grief Strategy will help people move forward with the help of skilled professionals creating a culture of awareness and support. It is my hope that this legislation helps end the stigma around mental health and ensures families can access the essential support they deserve,” he said.

Support for a national strategy on grief has been building since the pandemic, most notably from grief experts, counselors, and the bereaved who have been faced with a shortage of grief professionals, mental health counselors, and other helpful resources. Research has shown that for every death, nine people are bereaved. Using this bereavement multiplier, more than 9 million people in the U.S. have now been bereaved as a result of the pandemic alone.

In 2021, Hospice Foundation of America, in collaboration with hundreds of grief experts and counselors, called for President Biden to launch a national response to grief. Shortly thereafter, HFA joined a collaborative effort led by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Hospice Action Network to help raise awareness of the need for expanded grief support and research at the national level. The collaborative included the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network and the American Psychological Association.

"This legislation holds the promise of a better future for the bereaved, especially those in underserved communities whose grief has long been minimized or ignored," said Thomas J. Spulak, chairman of HFA. "Creating professionally-informed programs that make grief support accessible and funding research focused on understanding disabling grief are the first steps toward helping millions of Americans heal."