Supporting young Tasmanians through grief and loss

Palliative Care Tasmania (PCT) is pleased to announce the statewide launch of the “Learning Through Loss” website and resources, available at

Funded through the Department of Health, the program is a vital step towards continuing to provide free grief literacy education for educators and professionals working with young people and equipping them with the necessary knowledge and tools to support young individuals as they navigate the challenges of grief and loss.

The Honourable Guy Barnett, Minister for Health launched the Learning Through Loss website and resources at John Calvin School, Launceston. Principal and Health Teacher Daniel Coote was in attendance and shared his positive experience of training in the program with the Minister.

Mr Coote and his staff participated in training with Learning Through Loss Coordinator Jess Sanders, he was so inspired by the training that he adapted the youth resource to create two classes on grief literacy as a part of the school’s health education.

Venéy Hiller CEO of Palliative Care Tasmania says: “It is an unfortunate truth that most young people will experience grief and loss for the first time before they reach the age of 18. Palliative Care Tasmania recognises the profound impact that these experiences can have on young people and believes that early intervention and support can make a significant difference in their lives.”

The “Learning Through Loss” training program and resources delivered predominantly to teachers, has been developed in collaboration with young people who have living experience of grief and loss and is designed to empower participants with the knowledge and skills needed to guide young people safely through the complexities. Jess Sanders the State “Learning Through Loss” Co-ordinator and facilitator says: “Grief is not a mental illness, but unsupported grief can become one. By offering this valuable training, we aim to create compassionate and grief literate communities who move towards grievers, preventing the potential development of mental illness that unsupported grief can cause.”

The website and online resources launched today include comprehensive downloadable tools including ‘Navigating Through Grief and Loss’, a beautifully designed and illustrated resource for young people that explores grief and provides tools, resources and services to support them.

“It empowers and normalises all expressions of grief and then helps guide students toward processing it” says Jess. So far, the pilot has delivered 16 training sessions with representatives from 31 schools across the State and provided training and support to 251 teachers and staff.

Minister Barnett spoke highly of the program and congratulated Palliative Care Tasmania on outstanding results in delivery across the State. The Minister was particularly impressed by the Learning Through Loss poster which is displayed in schools and directs young people to a digital version of resources via a QR code.

Educators who have participated in the pilot training program have said;

  • “I am very grateful for this amazing training as a teacher, as a parent, as a friend. It also helped me understand some of the reactions I had in the past, such as unexpected anger.”
  • “The training provided by PCT was valuable. We were given clear and concise strategies on how to support students dealing with grief and loss, and that loss can come in many forms. It also provides clear information on how to access further support and the correct pathways to be taken in a school environment when supporting students.”
  • “As the school counsellor, grief is something that I deal with quite frequently. Whilst I have extensive resources and experience in this space, I definitely felt that the Learning Through Loss training gave me another tool to use in my work. In particular, the student resource has been great. So accessible, so clear and great graphics. Highly recommend.”

In light of the program’s initial success, and with ongoing support from the Tasmanian Government, Palliative Care Tasmania hopes that even more young people can benefit from the “Learning Through Loss” program.

PCT invites educators, professionals, volunteers and anyone interested in supporting young people through grief and loss to visit and explore the valuable resources available on the website or contact PCT for more information or to arrange a free training session.
“Learning Through Loss” is a pilot program funded until June 2024.

Media Contact:
Palliative Care Tasmania
Venéy Hiller| PH 0415 236 934 |
Palliative Care Tasmania (PCT) is the State’s peak body for palliative and end of life care. Our vision is that all Tasmanians with a life-limiting illness, together with those they value, are supported to live, die and grieve well.

The Learning Through Loss website launch was also featured in The Examiner Newspaper.