Times of loss are often critical for mental health. Providing love and support for grieving individuals can go a long way toward resolving negative feelings and accepting the situation. Megan Devine, a licensed clinical counselor and contributor with the Huffington Post, expressed that many individuals can be too scared to say or do anything when a person is openly grieving. However, actively supporting the griever can do more good than harm when done in a healthy way.
Devine’s article, titled “How to Help a Grieving Friend: 11 Things to Do When You’re Not Sure What to Do” outlined several ways to assist those in grieving, such as remaining witness to incredible emotional pain so the person does not feel alone. At the same time, one must acknowledge that this grieving cannot be fixed. Running around trying to make life perfect for the grieving person can create more frustration rather than relief.
On the other hand, in cases where the comforting person is close to the griever, he or she can “run interference” with various family members and friends to keep life simple for the bereaved, Devine advised. Funeral and financial arrangements can be overwhelming for someone seized by sadness, making critical a competent support system.
Keeping in mind the myths of grieving can also go a long way toward alleviating some pain facing the bereaved. Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., author of “The Handbook for Companioning the Mourner: Eleven Essential Principles,” cautions against shaming the act of crying, which he defined as the “work of mourning.” The action can create a sense of physical and mental relief he or she needs.
Attempts to undermine the mourning process is indicative of the problem society has with grief, Wolfelt claimed. “We live in a society that often encourages people to prematurely move away from their grief instead of toward it. Many people view grief as something to be overcome rather than experienced,” he wrote.
He also said that many people see outward grieving as “weak,” “crazy” and negative.” The reality is that everyone will experience loss at some point in their lives, with the method of grieving the only uncertainty.
Wolfelt and other experts acknowledge grieving as a process, rather than a singular event. Keeping to that theme, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., of HelpGuide, advised grief supporters to remain undeceived by emotional appearances and provide a stable presence for the person in question.
Sovereign Health Group can provide a consistent environment for patients needing refuge after a difficult personal loss. Find out about our therapies and compassionate, knowledgeable therapists by calling us at our 24/7 helpline and speaking to our admissions specialists.
Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer