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Grief is a natural process for responding to a significant loss, but this process looks different for everyone who experiences it.
Everyone is likely to experience grief at different points in life, and many of us will experience periods of grief more than once.
People may experience grief throughout many stages of life:
It’s important to remember that everyone grieves in their own way. However, despite how unique the grieving process is for each individual, there are usually certain patterns in grief that people go through.
The five stages of grief were first outlined by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, and these stages are sometimes referred to as the Kubler-Ross model.
The five stages of grief are:
In addition to the five stages of grief, there are also several types of grief people may experience.
Every type of grief is unique in its onset and impact:
No matter the type of grief a person is experiencing, recognizing the signs and getting grief support when needed is crucial, as a person’s grief can interfere with their everyday activities.
Signs and symptoms of grief include:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after a loss, consider getting help from a mental health professional.
It’s not always possible to erase a person’s grief completely, but there are different types of counseling that can help people process their grief and heal in ways that are manageable.
Grief counseling is a specific type of therapy designed to help people who are dealing with a significant loss in their life, such as the death of a loved one.
This type of counseling can guide people through the stages of grief and teach them healthy and safe coping mechanisms.
Bereavement therapy is very similar to grief counseling and comes in multiple formats, including individual, family, and group therapy sessions.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) and behavioral therapy are just two of the many approaches that can be incorporated into bereavement therapy, which lasts as long as a patient needs.
A doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe antidepressant medications to help patients who are also experiencing depression or anxiety in addition to or as a result of their grief.
There are many grief support resources that people can access over the internet to help them deal with their feelings of sadness and loss.
These support options are often more convenient and accessible, as they allow people around the country to get help from the comfort of their homes.
Online grief resources include:
When a loved one is coping with grief, you may be able to help provide them with the support they need. Keep in mind that everyone deals with grief differently, so you may need to adjust your approach depending on your loved one’s behaviors and reactions.
Here are 6 tips for helping a loved one cope with grief:
While there are many grief support resources available to help those who have suffered a loss, it can be beneficial to find support that is more specific to you as a person and the type of loss you’ve experienced.
There are many grief support resources tailored to different situations.
The death of a child is something that every parent fears and that no parent should ever have to go through.
When a child dies, it truly affects all who knew them. Those who find themselves in this position will likely need immense support from the people around them.
Resources for the loss of a child include:
One of the most common losses that people will face in their lives is that of elderly loved ones, such as grandparents or their own parents.
Resources for people who have lost an elderly loved one include:
While the grief resources for men who have experienced a loss are somewhat limited, there are options available for those seeking support.
For example, Men’s Grief Network, as an extension of the National Widowers’ Organization, offers support and resources to men who are experiencing any type of significant loss in their lives.
You may also be able to find local support groups for men near you by searching online.
Because men and women tend to process grief differently, it can be beneficial for women to have their own separate support resources.
Resources for women facing a loss include:
Caregivers can face extra challenges when dealing with loss, as they are trying to cope with the loss themselves while guiding others through their own experience.
Grief support resources for caregivers:
It is not uncommon for veterans to experience grief, especially after having lost friends or other loved ones during their service or after returning to civilian life.
Many of the resources available to veterans for grief also focus on suicide loss and suicide prevention.
Grief support resources for veterans include:
The loss of a spouse is a devastating experience, no matter how far along into the marriage journey the loss takes place.
Grief support resources for widows and widowers include:
Podcasts can be a great resource for people who are experiencing grief. They are usually free and easy to access on the go.
Podcasts on grief include:
Tip: Books can also provide grief support as they can tell someone’s story about dealing with loss or provide tips on grief management. You can search the internet for books on grief or look for titles at your local library.
No one who is experiencing the deep and complicated loss of a loved one should have to go through it without support.
If you or someone you love is dealing with grief, know that there are an abundance of loss resources available to help you navigate this difficult and challenging time.
You may be able to find grief support groups in your area through local organizations like religious institutions, hospitals, hospice care, and funeral homes.
You can also search the internet for national grief support organizations. Some may have chapters near you that host in-person support groups.
There are several types of support that can help people dealing with grief. Grief counseling and grief therapy in an individual or group setting can help people manage grief related to a loss.
In-person or virtual support groups can also be healing, as they allow participants to hear how others have dealt with grief and share their own feelings about a loss.
Although grief support comes in many forms, like therapy or a support group, it has one primary goal — helping people accept a loss and prepare for life moving forward.
If you’re struggling with grief, reach out to a therapist who offers grief counseling or contact a local religious institution or hospital and ask if they have any programs for those dealing with grief.