Grief documentary from WPSU available nationwide for free beginning Aug. 30

August 26, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — At some point in life, we all grieve. The loss of loved ones, relationships, pets, jobs —things big and small. But often, we don’t understand that what we’re feeling is grief or don’t know what to do for a friend or family member who might be going through a difficult time.

That’s why a WPSU Penn State documentary about the reality of grief is so important for people, according to WPSU senior producer Lindsey Whissel Fenton, who produced, directed and wrote the film.

“We’re all grieving something right now, and these collective griefs show we all have a stake in this work,” she said. “This documentary introduces concepts that, hopefully, will help us make sense of our own grief and respond to the experiences of others with compassion and authenticity."

“Speaking Grief” will be available nationwide for free, on-demand viewing beginning Sunday, Aug. 30, through WPSU’s YouTube page, the Speaking Grief website and PBS Video app, which is available on mobile devices and streaming platforms such as Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung TV and Apple TV.

Trailer for WPSU's "Speaking Grief"

Watch the trailer for WPSU's documentary, "Speaking Grief," which aims at creating a more grief-aware society by validating the experiences of grievers and helping guide those who wish to support them. 

WPSU Penn State

“Speaking Grief” explores the reality of grief and offers guidance on how people can do a better job supporting those who are grieving. The documentary features candid interviews with families across the country — from California, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas — whose losses include stillbirth and suicide.

The one-hour documentary is part of the multi-platform Speaking Grief Initiative, which has been made possible through philanthropic support from the New York Life Foundation. The initiative includes a website with resources on grief and grief support, a social media campaign and community engagement events, all aimed at starting a national conversation about grief. WPSU is a service of Penn State Outreach.

Fenton said she hopes people understand that grief is normal and healthy.

“We need to stop trying to shut grief down or pushing people to ‘finish it;’ it’s not something we complete. It’s something we integrate into ourselves and carry forward in our journeys,” she said. “We need to recalibrate our understanding of what it means to offer meaningful grief support. The goal is not to cheer your person up or get them back to ‘normal.’ That does more harm than good.

“We need to acknowledge their pain, validate their experience and assure them that they are not alone.”

Visit WPSU’s YouTube page, the PBS Video app or Speaking Grief website to watch the documentary starting Aug. 30.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 26, 2020