Dr. Heidi Horsley talks with Tonia Tanner from . Her first encounter with the organization was a personal one in 2010 when her father passed away. Her family attended the center to help with the grieving process. It was a space where she found hope when she felt entirely lost. She wasn’t sure how to move forward and felt alone. When she became part of the program, she received endless support. It was a place that taught her what grief was, and that it was okay to grieve.

There were days when the sadness was palpable, and going to Roberta’s House helped her find her healing path. Anger and sadness are common in grief, and it needs to be validated. Activities can help with the grief journey, as can group work based on age groups. Being around your peers can help relieve pressure, and knowing others truly empathize with you is key. In 2014, Tanner’s mother died and again she returned to Roberta’s House.

Finding Hope

The second time, it was a natural reaction to go to Roberta’s House. Here, she feels like she has family and always feels welcomed. It’s a great source of support that serves entire families. Now that Tanner has lost both of her parents, she encourages others in her situation to reach out and identify their own support networks. There’s always someone available to help, whether it’s an organization or maybe a friend or family member.

Tanner took on the duty of raising two children her parents were raising as well as her own children. She also found a program that helps teens, as well as parents who are suddenly parenting in a different manner. There are organizations that help with these situations around the country, although Roberta’s House serves as a gold standard.

 

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Heidi Horsley

Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ​National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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