Guide: Grief Support

Overview: The Grieving Process

Grief is the natural emotional response to loss, and no loss is more profound or lasting than death. Grief experienced as the result of a death can feel confusing, painful, exhausting, and overwhelming. But grief is also a process, and can lead to the healing of the loss and to finding solace and reprieve from the pain. Grief is an important step in processing a loss, and engaging with grief can be an effective way to heal.

What You Need to Know

There are many resources online to help people deal with loss and grief. Many of them are organized around a particular community (loss of a child, loss of a sibling, or loss due to suicide, for example). Others are organized around individual therapists or counselors with unique approaches to grieving. Many online resources offer forums or discussion groups, where people can share their experiences and offer support to others who are experiencing grief, either anonymously or not.

In addition to the online grief support resources listed here, there are many in-person, one-on-one resources available in the form of counselors and therapists. The American Psychology Association, the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and HelpPRO Therapist Finder are all online tools you can use to find a licensed therapist or counselor in your area.

Resources

GriefNet

GriefNet is a non-profit organization that offers over 50 email grief support groups on topics such as loss of a spouse, child, parent, sibling or friend, colleague, or pet, and death from substance abuse, murder, suicide, or violence. To join a group, a donation of $10 per person is suggested, but is not mandatory. There is a 1-month free trial period.

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Grieving.com

Grieving.com offers forums organized by relationship and topics: loss of a parent, child, partner, sibling, friend, or pet; violent death or suicide; and specific grief issues, such as anger, religious issues, and marriage after a loss.

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The Wendt Center for Loss and Healing

Located in Washington, D.C., the Wendt Center offers counseling services (including one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and workshops) for grieving adults, children, teens, and families. The Center also runs Camp Forget-Me-Not, a Camp Erin weekend camp for grieving children ages 6-16. Their website offers an extensive list of online resources organized by type of loss.

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Open to Hope

Run by Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley, a mother-daughter team of therapists who specialize in grief and loss, Open to Hope offers forums for a range of relationships, such as death of a child, pregnancy loss, death of a sibling, spouse, lifetime partner, parent, or other family member. The site also features episodes from the Horsleys' televisions show, which deal with a range of topics and include other experts in the field.

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Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

TAPS provides support for those affected by death of loved one serving in the US Armed Forces, including spouses, parents, siblings, extended family, friends or "battle buddies," children, caregivers for grieving children, and those who have experienced a loss due to suicide. TAPS offers both email (info@taps.org) and toll-free phone (800-959-8277) grief counseling. Counseling is provided at Vet Centers located in families’ communities.

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The Compassionate Friends

The Compassionate Friends is a non-profit, secular organization dedicated to supporting grieving families who have lost a child, no matter the age of the child or the cause of death. The Compassionate Friends offers online support groups and a directory of over 640 local chapters. The organization also offers grief support for siblings and grandparents.

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Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support

Share is a nonprofit, secular organization that provides support to parents who have experienced the death of a baby through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or in the first few months of life. Share offers over 90 support groups in 31 states, as well as a grief support newsletter every two months.

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National Widowers' Organization

An organization for men who have lost their spouses, the National Widowers' Organization offers a peer-to-peer support program called Widower to Widower that connects men with other men of shared experience to listen and offer support. In addition, the site has a listing of men's support group meetings around the country.

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Twinless Twins

Twinless Twins is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting twins and other multiples who have lost their twin. Membership in the organization costs $50 per year, and includes participation in regional meetings and the organization's annual conference, access to past conference speakers and workshops, and a subscription to the organization's quarterly magazine.

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GriefShare

A Christian resource, GriefShare supports people who have experienced the loss of a spouse, child, family member or friend. GriefShare has thousands of national weekly in-person meetings, most of which are held in local churches. Support group meetings are organized around GriefShare's 13-week curriculum, which features a different GriefShare-produced video every week. The organization also provides a year's worth of free daily email messages to help you through your grief.

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