Summary

  • Everyone experiences the pain associated with grief at some time in their life.
  • Support from family and friends is important.
  • Help is available. Community organisations, agencies and groups often provide grief support services.
  • The opportunity to talk things over with a trained counsellor can help you make sense of your feelings.
Grief is our response to loss. Everyone will experience loss at some stage in life. The death of a loved one is a particularly difficult experience for many people.Grief support services provide counselling, support and education to bereaved individuals, children and families. The opportunity to talk things over with a trained counsellor can help you make sense of your feelings.

Grief can be triggered by different experiences

The death of a family member, friend or other close person can trigger grief.

A number of other experiences can also cause feelings of loss and grief. These experiences might include:

  • separation, divorce or relationship breakdown 
  • loss of possessions through disaster or theft
  • children leaving home 
  • passing your child(ren) into someone else’s care 
  • unemployment, retrenchment or retirement 
  • death of a pet
  • infertility, stillbirth, miscarriage or abortion 
  • the loss of a person who is missing.

Support is important when you're grieving

People who are well supported by family and friends are less likely to suffer poor health as a consequence of bereavement and loss. However, some grieving people may also benefit from professional grief support and counselling.

Bereavement counselling for grief

Grief support services provide counselling, support and education to bereaved individuals, children and families. The opportunity to talk things over with other a trained counsellor can help you make sense of your feelings.

Counsellors can offer you encouragement, support and advice through the grieving process. They will not tell you what to do or how you should be feeling, but they may put forward ideas and strategies to help you cope.

Support can help you cope with grief

Grief support services aim to:

  • assist and guide people through the grieving process
  • help with complicated grief issues to prevent physical and mental health problems occurring.

Support is available in most communities

Community organisations, agencies and groups are often involved in grief support services. These organisations may include:

  • hospitals and community health centres
  • palliative care agencies
  • volunteer groups 
  • church and religious organisations.

Specialist services for grief

There is a range of specialist grief support services available. For example, if you have experienced the death of a child or baby, assistance is available from Red Nose (previously SIDS and Kids) or SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support).

There are also grief support groups for families of people who have taken their own life, victims of homicide and people experiencing trauma as a result of road accidents. Sometimes specialist services are established in response to a particular traumatic event or disaster such as a bushfire or flood.

Services for children who are grieving

Children can experience loss and grief from a very young age. Their feelings might be triggered by the death of a parent or close relative, family separation, the death or loss of a pet or many other situations.

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) is funded by the Victorian Government to provide a statewide specialist bereavement service for individuals and families who need help following the death of someone close to them. This service operates throughout Victoria, and provides a range of bereavement support programs for both children and adults, including face to face counselling and support groups. Telephone or online counselling (by appointment) is also available to clients in more remote areas.

ACGB also runs a Kids Grieve Too bereavement support group program designed for children aged from six to 14 years who have experienced the death of someone significant in their lives.

Kids Helpline offers a confidential 24-hour counselling service for children and young adults aged from five to 25 years. They can call from anywhere in Australia for free on 1800 551 800.

Where to get help

References
  • About grief, 2014, Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.

More information

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Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

Last updated: November 2018

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