How to look for help with your grief and mental health

Support Mental Health

If you need help with your grief, the first thing to know is that regardless of your situation and needs, there will be support for you.

Knowing about available resources to support with grief and mental health as well as the considerations for the type of help you'd like is important.

In order to get help with your grief you'll need to know what help to look for, where to look, and what type of help you'd like.

Since there is no “right” way to deal with loss, it might take some time to find the solution that helps the most.

Know what help to look for

There are many different options and considerations for mental health support and it will be easier to find help if you know what type of help you would like or need.

Consider whether you want informal support of friends, family and your community or professional support.

If you want professional support with your grief, there are a number of considerations:

  • informal (friends, family and community) vs. formal (licensed professionals)
  • one-on-one assistance vs. a support group
  • short vs. long term support
  • targeted assistance dealing with grief, or general mental health support
  • in-person, online or by phone
  • free or paid
  • if seeking professional assistance, the type of mental health worker: psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, counsellor, social worker

Where to look for help

Friends, family and your community are the first line of support for dealing with grief.

A social worker at the hospital where the deceased died will be able to help you find grief support services.

If you are working with a funeral home, the funeral director should also be able to refer you to services to help you deal with your grief.

If you are a member of a place of worship or interested in faith-based support, the faith leader at the local place of worship should be able to assist you in finding support resources as well.

Additionally, you can find relevant grief support by searching online or contacting a crisis helpline.

For more information on the different kinds of support you might seek out after losing a loved one, please review the task, “understand the types of available support when experiencing grief.”

Helpful Tips


Therapy, also referred to as "psychotherapy" or "talk therapy," is a broad term for a variety of approaches to mental health treatment.

Generally, therapy involves speaking with a trained and licensed mental health professional to get help with their mental health challenges.

With the assistance of a mental health professional, therapy helps diagnosis mental illnesses, identify emotional and behavioral patterns that are the cause or symptoms of mental health difficulties, and develop effective strategies for managing mental health challenges.

An individual can rely on therapy to address specific issues (like grief) or for their general mental well being.


The main differences between psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counsellors, and social workers relate to their educational background and their methods in treating mental illness.

Grief specialists can be found among all types of mental health professionals.

Psychiatrist

  • A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with a focus on mental illness and its treatment.
  • Psychiatrists focus on the biological side of mental health.
  • Psychiatrists tend to deal with more complex mental health issues.
  • While psychiatrists may conduct therapy, they tend to rely on medications for treatment.

Therapist

  • While used as general term for mental health professional, a therapist or psychotherapist is specifically a licensed and certified mental health professional with at least a master's degree and sometimes a doctorate (PhD).
  • Therapists help people develop strategies for managing their mental health by talking through their problems.
  • Therapists will consider deeper causes of mental illness and the ways past experiences have impacted an individual.

Counsellor

  • A counsellor is usually a licensed and certified mental health professional with a master's degree but not all states require licensing or specific training for counsellors.
  • Counsellors tend to focus on specific issues - e.g., grief, marriage problems, family problems, addiction - but may also provide general support.
  • Counsellors are usually less concerned with the deep-rooted causes of mental health challenges and are more focused on coping mechanism that can be used now.

Social Worker

  • A social worker is a licensed mental health professional with a master's degree in social work.
  • Social workers are like counsellors and help people with problems in their everyday lives.
  • Social workers focus on coordinating the mental health and other support an individual needs to deal with the challenges they are facing.
  • A social work is usually part of and more familiar with the bureaucracy and institutions that can provide mental health and other services to improve someone's quality of life.## Psychologist
  • Mental health professional with a PhD (i.e., non-medical doctor) that specializes in human behavior.
  • Help people learn healthy ways to manage their mental health and mental health challenges.
  • Diagnose mental health disorders, make referrals, and in some states, may prescribe medicine.

Psychiatrist

  • Medical doctor with a focus on mental illness and its treatment.
  • Focus on the biological side of mental health.
  • Tend to deal with more complex mental health issues.
  • While psychiatrists may conduct therapy, they tend to rely on medications for treatment.

Therapist

  • While used as general term for mental health professional, a therapist or psychotherapist is specifically a licensed and certified mental health professional with at least a master's degree and sometimes a doctorate (PhD).
  • Therapists help people develop strategies for managing their mental health by talking through their problems.
  • Therapists will consider deeper causes of mental illness and the ways past experiences have impacted an individual.

Counsellor

  • A counsellor is usually a licensed and certified mental health professional with a master's degree but not all states require licensing or specific training for counsellors.
  • Counsellors tend to focus on specific issues - e.g., grief, marriage problems, family problems, addiction - but may also provide general support.
  • Counsellors are usually less concerned with the deep-rooted causes of mental health challenges and are more focused on coping mechanism that can be used now.

Social Worker

  • A social worker is a licensed mental health professional with a master's degree in social work.
  • Social workers are like counsellors and help people with problems in their everyday lives.
  • Social workers focus on coordinating the mental health and other support an individual needs to deal with the challenges they are facing.
  • A social work is usually part of and more familiar with the bureaucracy and institutions that can provide mental health and other services to improve someone's quality of life.

There are resources at the local, regional, state, and federal level for getting additional support with grief.

In many cases, grief support groups may be associated with local funeral homes or estate planning law firms. Conduct an online search to learn more about these options.

Some resources include:

My Grief Angels


JourneyCare


Open Counseling’s State by State List of Hotlines


The Cope Foundation


Grief Anonymous


Grief Recovery Online


Compassionate Friends


For some people, a faith-based approach to grief, whether in support groups or therapy, is preferred.

Finding a general local support group through GriefShare is a good starting point, but make sure to review whether or not the options presented align with your faith and beliefs.

You can also search for local grief-based support groups or therapists or communicate with religious organizations or houses of worship to learn more about the kinds of support available to you.

GriefShare

Actions to Take


State Mental Health Services

State Mental Health Services


SAMHSA’s National Helpline


SAMHSA National Helpline

Providers to Contact


Find a grief support group near you

Grief groups are support groups for people grieving the death of a loved one. They can provide emotional support and practical advice for dealing with grief. They can also be a place to share stories and connect with others going through a similar experience.

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Find a grief therapist near you

A grief therapist is a mental health professional who specializes in helping people deal with grief. They can provide support and guidance to help you cope with loss and process emotions.

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Find a psychologist near you

Psychologists are mental health professionals who specialize in human behavior. They can help people cope with mental health disorders, relationship problems, and stress. They can also provide psychological testing and counseling services.

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Find a psychiatrist near you

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. They can provide psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and therapy. They can also help people with serious mental illnesses cope with the challenges of daily life.

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Support Mental Health