After the funeral planning is finished and the deceased’s remains have been taken care of, one of the top recommendations for the newly bereaved is to find a support group. Although everyone experiences grief differently, there is much to be said for talking through the pain and finding a group of like-minded individuals who can help you cope with your loss.
Why Bereavement Groups Matter
The loss of a loved one is something no one can prepare for. You never know how it will affect you until it happens, and the overwhelming surge of emotion that results is often more than the average person knows what to do with.
The support of a group undergoing a similar experience is something that many people suggest as the best way to move forward. Friends and family members may mean well but not quite understand your grief. Books and articles can only provide so much help. And one-on-one counseling, though beneficial, might not be enough for your personal situation.
Grief support groups:
- Open up a dialog between people about loss. They are a safe place to talk about your feelings and listen to others share their own.
- Put you in touch with coping skills to help you through the day-to-day aftermath of loss.
- Allow you to learn about new traditions, funeral plans, and memorial options from those who have been there and done that.
- Grant you permission to grieve in a non-threatening, non-judgmental place.
- Force you to put yourself first. By taking care of your mental and emotional health, you’ll be in a better place to begin healing and finding a new life without your loved one.
How to Find Grief Support
If individual counseling isn’t for you, or if you’d like to learn more about finding a bereavement support group, here are a few things to consider.
Ask for referrals. Hospitals, funeral homes, hospice organizations, and churches are all good resources for locating bereavement groups. Depending on how specific you want to get, you can find everything from disease-specific support to more general or spirituality-oriented grief counseling.
Consider national groups. There are many national organizations that exist to help the newly bereaved. Most of them have local chapters that are linked to a network. Many operate as nonprofit organizations, and there may be some costs involved in getting membership.
Look online. These days, it’s becoming much more common for people to turn to virtual support groups. By providing an easy outlet at any hour of the day or night, people can get support on their own terms. Be wary, though, as some experts suggest that online resources should only be used as a supplement to face-to-face interaction, not as a replacement.
Bereavement groups have helped many people cope with loss and put them in touch with additional resources in the community. If you are at all foundering with your grief, please contact someone for more information. You aren’t alone, and there are groups out there that can help.