Understand the types of available support when experiencing grief

Support Mental Health

Just as there are many ways to grieve there are also many ways to get support with grief.

Whether someone feels that they are handling loss well, or that they are overwhelmed with grief, managing mental and emotional well-being with additional support is healthy and encouraged.

If grief becomes begins to negatively impact your life, seeking outside support can be incredibly helpful.

There are a number of places that you can look for outside support: your personal network, support groups, and professional mental health services.

Another thing to consider is whether the support should be focused on grief or should provide general mental health support.

Consider the type of support that mosts suits you and your needs in dealing with loss.

Support groups, can be organized to help people with the loss of a specific relative or specific circumstances of how mourned person died. This means you can find other people dealing

Personal Networks

  • Family, friends and the community are the first line of support for someone dealing with loss.
  • Talking to others about your pain won't make it disappear, but may allow you to confront and examine feelings more easily, and over time, may make them more bearable.
  • Be direct about what you need from those around you. People may want to help but might say or do the wrong thing, it's important to help them help you..
  • No matter who you speak to, a supportive network can help create a safe place to openly emote; this will instill confidence that the difficulty will pass in time.

Support Groups

  • Support groups help you deal with loss by hearing from and relating to others dealing with similar feelings and difficulties.
  • These can be organized around the loss of a specific relative or around loss related to specific circumstances of death.
  • It may be easier to communicate with people you know are dealing with similar struggles.
  • Support groups can help you develop coping skills or providing a non-judgmental environment to share your own experiences.
  • Not all support groups have the same goals and a support group's goals and structure may evolve over time.
  • These groups meet at spiritual or community centers, hospitals and healthcare clinics, funeral homes, gymnasiums, or any other gathering spaces.
  • Support groups can also be online based.
  • Support groups may or may not integrate faith-based guidance.
  • Seek out a group that is most relevant and helpful to your situation.

Mental Health Professionals

  • A wide variety of help in dealing with grief can be provided by licensed mental health professionals.
  • Counselors, social workers, therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are all capable of providing help with grief and its emotional aftermath.
  • Support from a mental health professional can be provided one on one or in a group. It can also be provided online through video or audio chat as well as text based.
  • It may be easier to communicate with a mental health professional as they create a safe space to speak honestly with an objective and neutral listener, something that may be more difficult with family, friends, or the community.
  • Mental health professionals help identify and articulate the emotions connected to loss, 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 establish a good relationship and getting the most out of your conversations

Crisis Hotlines

  • If there is an immediate need to speak with a mental health professional, contact a crisis hotline for on-demand support, available 24/7.
  • These services are available as phone or text conversations, are kept confidential, and are available from a local or national health department for free.
  • If the situation is life-threatening, call 911.

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.

Actions to Take


SAMHSA’s National Helpline


SAMHSA’s National Helpline

Providers to Contact


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.

No results in your area.

Find a licensed 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.

No results in your area.

Find a licensed 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.

No results in your area.


Support Mental Health