Seek professional support
Feelings of grief and the associated feelings of sorrow or anger, are all very normal. In fact, they can even be healthy.
However, if the pain does not subside, and everyday life has been impacted, these feelings should not be managed alone.
Talking to trained professionals can help a bereaved person recover; there's no need to shy away from wanting to seek out assistance.
Support groups, grief counseling, or individual therapy can be extremely helpful for those suffering from grief.
When should I seek outside help for processing grief?
As there is no specific timeline associated with loss, it can be hard to identify the symptoms that might prompt someone to seek outside support resources for grief. Here are some signs that you might benefit from grief counseling provided by a professional:
- You’re experiencing persistent and pervasive thoughts of depression or suicide.
- You’ve experienced multiple losses in a short time period.
- You don’t have a personal support network to help you.
- You’re struggling to accept that your loved one is really gone.
- You spend a great deal of time visiting places or looking at items that remind you of your loved one to the point where it disrupts your daily life.
- You’re isolating yourself and avoiding interaction with others.
- Your grief has also led to physical illness for you, especially if it’s chronic.
- You’re abusing substances.
- You’re unable to carry out basic self-care each day.
- You’re feeling extreme guilt or even blaming yourself for your loved one’s death.
Here are some additional resources to help with grief:
- Connecting further with family, friends and the community as a larger support system can help strengthen emotional bonds, helping to fill the void of loss
- Talk to others about your pain; it won't make it disappear, but it may allow you to confront and examine these feelings more easily, which over time, may make them more bearable
- Feel comfortable being direct with others about what you need from them; some people may want to help but might say or do the wrong thing, but it's important that you help them help you
- Ultimately, no matter with whom you speak, a supportive network can help create a safe place to openly emote; this will instill confidence that the difficulty will pass in time
- Joining an organized support group will allow you to meet and talk with others who have experienced similar feelings and difficulty
- Speaking with this type of community may help provide insight on how to cope with your own grief; sharing your own experiences in a non-judgmental environment with knowledgeable and empathetic people can be very cathartic
- There are many different types of support groups for a variety of topics and circumstances; seek out those which are most relevant and helpful
- Support groups often meet at spiritual or community centers, hospitals and healthcare clinics, funeral homes, gymnasiums, or any other gathering spaces
- View the links below to find support groups in your area
Mental Health Professionals
- While all types of support services can be helpful, it may be more effective to speak with a licensed service professional who has been educated and trained specifically in mental health management
- No matter their background or technique, these counselors, social workers, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses or physician assistants with mental health training are equipped to help with grief and its emotional aftermath; they create a safe space to speak honestly with an objective listener, something that may be more difficult with family, friends, or the community
- Most importantly, mental health professionals help identify and articulate the emotions connected to loss, and provide researched, constructive and healthy ways to live through and overcome grief and any associated challenges
- Ask questions to ensure a good match with service providers; mutual trust and respect are vital to establishing a good relationship and getting the most out of your conversations