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Ways to Help Grieve

Grief is a painful part of life, but it is a part of life. When we lose people we care about, we grieve, whether the death was predictable or not. Unpredictable deaths have the additional aspect of shock. The shock and pain cannot be taken away, but there are some ways that others have used to help themselves and others cope and recover.

Grief may display in many ways – sadness, withdrawal, irritability, anger, oppositional behavior or stillness. Grief may bring up prior loss experiences or trauma. It is important to show tolerance.

Be very kind and patient with yourself. Treat yourself as well as you treat other people who are grieving.

Stay close to family and friends for comfort. Allow other people to support you.

Talk about the person you have lost, allowing yourself to remember the good times you experienced, as well as any anger or frustration. Attending a memorial service will often help.

Allow yourself some alone time each day to heal. Some helpful ideas may be keeping a journal or enjoying nature.

If you are feeling anxious and unable to concentrate, that is normal, given your grief. You may feel as if you are just showing up and going through the motions for awhile. That is an important first step in the healing process.

Some people will say insensitive things to you or not understand how long the healing process takes. Accept that people may be uncomfortable with grieving. Ignore what you can and give feedback when you choose.

Eat well; exercise; avoid using alcohol or drugs. They alter thinking and act as depressants.

If you are worried about the severity of your grief or you don't feel you are coming through it with time, seek professional help. People who were already struggling with depression or intense stress probably should seek out professional help right away. Your personal health care provider or clergy are a good place to start in seeking professional help.

Compiled from: Madison Metropolitan School District Crisis Response Procedures.