Smithfield Residents Guide for Grief and Loss

Smithfield Residents Guide for Grief and Loss

Town residents who are dealing with tragedies will now be provided with a guide to Grief and Loss. The guidebook is the creation of Town Councilman John Tassoni, who explains the guide is the first of its kind in the state of Rhode Island and will help anyone who needs assistance, whether it’s an overdose death, a fire, or the loss of a loved one.

“A lot of families don’t know where to go, where to turn when something like this happens because it doesn’t happen on a daily basis,” Tassoni noted.

Tassoni collaborated with Todd Manni, the town’s Director of Emergency Management and Community Outreach, and Town Manager Randy Rossi on the project.

The parents of a child who suffered from a fatal drug overdose shared their frustrations at a town council meeting.

“They didn’t know where to turn,” Tassoni recalled. “They were asking questions. Those two people gave us the idea to put something like this together. Nobody should have to bury a child but it’s happening more often than not.”

The guidebook, which will be available on the town website –www.smithfieldri.gov – as well as in police and fire vehicles, features a list of resources of local businesses and organizations. A section on Funerals and Funeral Services includes the contact information for Anderson-Winfield Funeral Home and Tucker Quinn, as well as life insurance and burial insurance.

“They’re also blinded by the situation,” Rossi noted. “To have something that’s simple and easy to follow. It’s just one less burden they have on them.”

“We wanted to make a toolkit for residents,” Manni added. “To be able to utilize this (guide) to find assistance and trying to cast as wide of a net as we could to handle questions we anticipated that people would have during times like this.”

There is also a list of clean-up services for deaths which occur in the home, town resources including the Smithfield Emergency Management, Police, Fire, and Human Services departments.

Another list of resources is for behavioral health and counseling, homeless shelters, special population shelters, and transitional housing.

Food assistance, substance use treatment facilities, Veterans services, help lines, and web resources are also included. There’s even a primer on the grieving process which describes different types of grief.

A mental health clinician named Cassie Jewell wrote a workbook called Coping with Loss.“It’s almost a means of collecting all your thoughts in one place,” Manni explained. “As months turn into years, people continue to grieve a person’s loss.”

Jewell is the creator of Mind ReMake Project (www.mindremakeproject.org), a site she developed for posting free self-help resources and information for consumers and mental health professionals.

Tassoni believes the grief and loss guide will benefit not only Smithfield residents, but also those suffering tragedies in other communities as well.

“It’s good for everybody,” Tassoni added.

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