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Helping Others Deal with Grief/Loss
After a grief/loss event, many people will experience the stages of grief. This is a normal life process, which can cause conflicting feelings. The goal is to help the person through the steps providing them support. Moving through the steps has no specific length of time. Each person will react individually. What may cause difficulties is when the person has stopped processing and begins gets stuck in their reactions or feelings. In this case it will take longer for the healing to take place.
Here are some common reactions that express the grief process.
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ Do not offer clichés such as: “It was God’s will”, “It is all for the best”, or “You’ll heal with time”. ♦♦♦♦
Mood swings-irritability, short-tempered
Increase/Decrease in social isolation
Changes in sleep and eating patterns
For many, the loss may trigger reactions to previous losses in their lives and they may experience the stages of grief again. Those individuals will likely experience intense feelings if the initial loss was not processed in a healthy way. This can lead to more traumatic stress. Here are some common indicators for a person that might need support.
Recurrence or reliving the event for a month or longer
Avoidance of situations that are reminders of the event
Anxiety and irritability
Significant social, occupational distress
Validate the individual responses to loss
Look for ways of providing support to the family
Communicate and keep in touch
Encourage them to take care of themselves
Recommend that they seek appropriate resources for help