The Silent Problem: Talking About Mental Health and Funeral Service

CANA Funeral Industry News Funeral Industry Press Releases July 9, 2024
CANA mental health seminar

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The Silent Problem: Talking About Mental Health and Funeral Service

In-Person Workshop in Chicago this September

WHEELING, IL— Even though we now regularly use terms like ‘compassion fatigue’ and ‘burnout’, funeral service professionals still report not having a firm grasp on exactly what they mean or how to address them—along with other mental health issues. We don’t know what we need to support ourselves, our colleagues, and our staff. To find some tools that may help, register for an interactive workshop facilitated by Dr. Sara Murphy, PhD, FT, and Aaron Pelchat, LCSW, designed to bring education and support in mental health to the funeral profession on September 11, 2024, in Chicago!

Mental health stressors and injuries have historically been overlooked, minimized, and silenced within the funeral profession. It’s only in recent years that mental health has moved from whispered conversations between friends to being openly discussed in business meetings and public forums. Now we’re gathering to say the quiet part out loud. Join us for The Silent Problem: Talking about Mental Health and Funeral Service, offered as a pre-convention workshop by the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) before the 106th Annual Cremation Innovation Convention in Chicago this September.

“The center of your support system is you,” reminds Dr. Sara Murphy. “Ensure that you are undertaking acts daily that promote your health and well-being, allow for relaxation, and encourage self-satisfaction. While for many of us this tenet can be challenging, strive for a balance between supporting others and yourself. Doing so will benefit you directly – and indirectly, through the more focused and purposeful care you will be able to give others.”

“As I continue to speak with and learn from funeral service professionals, I consistently hear about the importance of balancing being your best self to assist grieving family and working toward continued business success,” adds Aaron Pelchat. “The holding together of emotional and logical needs all at once is exactly what I think about when I think of ensuring that you can be your best for the grieving family.”

Working from different fields and areas of expertise, Dr. Sara Murphy and Aaron Pelchat, LCSW, will guide participants in taking steps toward self-empowerment in their mental health journeys – personally and professionally. Dr. Sara Murphy, PhD, FT, is a death educator, Certified Thanatologist and Fellow in Thanatology, and suicidologist with eighteen years of experience in the field. She is a faculty member at the University of Rhode Island and an affiliate faculty in the Thanatology Graduate Program at Marian University. Aaron Pelchat, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist working in private practice in Rhode Island. He is an alumnus of Rhode Island College School of Social Work and the University of Rhode Island, where he majored in anthropology and trained in thanatology under Dr. Sara Murphy. 

After the Workshop, stay to gain further insights at CANA’s 106th Annual Convention. Session feature:

  • Choosing to be a better leader for your team, your business, and yourself in Being a Leader of Influence with Robbie Pape, Senior Vice President & Regional Partner, Carriage Services. 
  • By popular demand, Sara Murphy, PhD, FT, Death Educator & Suicidologist with the University of Rhode Island, returns with Recognizing and Responding to Suicide Risk Within the Deathcare Profession
  • Jolena Grande, faculty with the Mortuary Science Program at Cypress College, discussing the role of women in funeral service from her unique perspective in Death Becomes Her: The Changing Demographics of Funeral Service Practitioners
  • Lee Hovermale Strategic Advisor to the CEO of KiZAN Technologies, with over 30 years of expertise in the technology sector, covers Cybersecurity Awareness: Recognizing a Threat, and Protecting Your Data for you and your families.
  • Information is Power: Updates from Industry Experts feature insights on three forces on your business. CANA President Robert Hunsaker discussing how CANA’s 2024 Annual Cremation Statistics Report impacts your business. He’s joined by Assistant Vice President of Government & Industry Relations of Service Corporation International, Caressa Hughes who will provide an update on the regulatory and legal landscape of the profession. Plus, Vice President of Cemetery Operations of Legacy Funeral Group, Steve Bassett, offering lessons learned from Cemetery Consumer Service Council (CCSC). 
  • The Cremation Historian Jason Engler, regional sales manager for the Wilbert Group looks to history’s strategies for modern permanent placement in The Eternal Value of Cremation Memorials/Avoiding Mistakes of the Past: Cremated Remains Belong in Cemeteries.
  • Sharing the stage, Dean of the InSight Institute Glenda Stansbury and Homesteaders Director of Consumer Marketing Kelly Manion talk about modern ways to address families’ grief in a combined presentation on The Power of Service & The Power of Human Connection

Develop a self-care plan that works with Dr. Sara Murphy and Aaron Pelchat at CANA’s Pre-Convention Workshop – The Silent Problem: Talking about Mental Health and Funeral Service for $200 (student pricing is available by calling CANA at 312-245-1077). Attend the Workshop and the CANA Convention for $1200 (discounted to $1000 for CANA Members)! Register now:

About CANA

Founded in 1913, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is an international organization of over 3,700 members, composed of funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, industry suppliers, and consultants. CANA members believe that cremation is preparation for memorialization.