“Science of Grief” is a new 10-episode WDET podcast that “makes space for young adults to share stories, science and solutions for those who are exploring their mental health for the first time.” Host Natasha T. Miller says she was inspired to create these conversations through programming from the Science Gallery Detroit, her experience teaching young people and her own history with grief and loss.
“For me it was like you have to be present for these young adults … from high school teaching poetry to the pandemic I realized that there’s a blind spot we have all been missing out on.” —Natasha T. Miller, WDET’s “Science of Grief”
Listen: Grief’s long-lasting impact on youth.
Natasha T. Miller is a poet and host of the WDET podcast “Science of Grief.” She says her journey with grief started in 2013 with the death of her brother. ”My brother was killed three days after Christmas … and cremated on my birthday … I realized that if I wanted to stay here and stay sane I needed to do something about the grief.” After this, Miller says she was inspired to open up conversations about mental health and loss with her high school students. ”For me it was like, you have to be present for these young adults … from high school teaching poetry to the pandemic I realized that there’s a blind spot we have all been missing out on,” she says.
The pandemic has added many layers of grief to people already affected by loss, Miller says. ”As a Black Detroiter, it was really, really hard to navigate because we’ve had so much taken from us anyway.” With the “Science of Grief” podcast, Miller says she aims to raise awareness around the importance of young people’s mental health. “These young adults … they’re losing these moments … it’s easy for us to acknowledge our losses and push theirs aside.”
Bonnie Wheeler is a therapist and social worker with more than 40 years of experience. She says young people are particularly affected by the loss of loved ones from the pandemic. ”They’re expecting to graduate, or get married, or have kids, and these important people in their lives won’t be there.” Wheeler says with loss, it helps to know that others are going through similar experiences. ”When you talk to or listen to others who are grieving … it lightens your own load some because you are sharing the load.”
Wheeler says the most important reminder she can give to young people through the pandemic is to “be gentle with yourself through this, because this is not an easy thing at all.” Conversations about loss and mental health, like those presented on the ”Science of Grief” podcast, can lead to healing, according to Wheeler. “I think it helps normalize grief .. when you listen to someone else talk about theirs … it validates you.”