Finding Support When You Need It
Riley Children's Grief Team
Although grief is a natural reaction to losing a child, oftentimes bereaved parents benefit from support. There are several different types of support to consider:
Grief Counseling: Grief counseling is different than mental health counseling in that the focus is to provide support instead of treatment. Ideally, look for a counselor who specializes in grief and loss.
Support Groups: There are two kinds of support groups: open and closed. Open support groups usually meet on a regular basis throughout the year and anyone can join at any time and come for as many group sessions as needed. Often, these groups will have families who are at varying points in their grief journeys. Flexibility is a benefit of open groups. Closed support groups have a begin and end date and participants usually must register to join. Often, these groups have families who are at similar points in their grief journeys. Journeying together is a benefit of closed groups.
Online Support: Online support groups, both formal and informal, can provide bereaved parents with flexible support throughout the day and night. Additionally, individuals can often meet more bereaved parents since it is not limited by geographical location. Caution: Because informal online support groups are rarely facilitated by a trained grief professional, you may be exposed to insensitive comments or inappropriate advice. If you find a group is more stressful than supportive, look for another group or type of support.
Bibliotherapy: There are many grief and loss books. Some individuals find benefit in reading about grief and loss and the experience of others. You can find recommended books on the resources section of this app.
Journaling: Many parents find journaling to be beneficial in helping them express and process their grief. Consider using the journaling portion of this app to write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences throughout your grief journey.
Lastly, many friends and family members want to be of help, but simply do not know how to. When you think of things that need to be done, consider writing them down on a list and then place that list in a convenient spot (on the fridge, bathroom mirror, on your phone, etc.). Then when a friend offers help, you can share an item from the list with them. Practical needs include:
- Bringing meals
- Meal prep
- Grocery shopping
- Mowing the grass
- Shoveling snow
- Making calls
- Light housecleaning