Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2024

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access


Dr. Melissa Nemon & Dr. Audrey Falk


Traumatic loss due to violent death, a death that results from the intentional use of physical force or power, can result in mental health struggles and stigma. Complicated grief, due to traumatic loss, can be felt at both the individual and the community level. A comprehensive community project proposal was presented to a panel of reviewers in the grief, loss, and bereavement community. This proposal was developed to bring awareness to complicated grief, reduce the stigma around suicide and violent death, as well as provide opportunities to grieve safely and healthily. Through artistic expression and a sense of belonging, these projects offer participants the opportunity to find community and create art in memory of their loved ones using a traumainformed approach. Using qualitative methods, a focus group was conducted, and feedback was collected and then transcribed into a spreadsheet with questions and specific responses. These responses were then coded, categorized, and then analyzed using emergent thematic analysis. Two categories of positive or opportunities to grow as well as challenges and clarifications were classified. The following themes emerged community, voice, choice, empowerment, stigma, funding, logistics, opportunity, resiliency, and trauma-informed strategies. The focus group suggested that a project like this would be beneficial in helping individuals and communities to process complicated grief.