World Mental Health Day - Grief and Loss

Published: 10/10/2022

"Grief is the price we pay for love." Queen Elizabeth II

World Mental Health Day 2022 offers an opportunity to reignite efforts to protect and improve mental health. The theme of this year's World Mental Health Day is Awareness, Belonging and Connection. For many, this past year has been difficult, fraught with tragedy and loss. It may have been a recent event, it may have been many years ago, many will be experiencing and coping with grief and loss this World Mental Health Day.

 What is Grief?

The experience of grief can feel like a lightning storm. You may feel like the storm is over, then you are surprised when the next one strikes. It is important to understand that grief is a normal experience and that the grieving process requires experiencing the pain that comes with losing a loved one. Grief is a process and a journey.

How long will my grief last?

Grief has no timeline and can be felt over long periods of time. With a good support network of family and friends, many people find ways to heal with it over time. Everyone experiences grief in a different way. Our culture, gender, age, past experiences of loss, and belief systems can also influence grief. So don't compare yourself to others or worry too much about how you're grieving. Everyone grieves differently.

How can I cope with grief or loss?

When you are experiencing grief or loss, you may always carry some grief and miss the person when they are gone, but the painful and intense feelings should gradually subside. It does get easier to manage as you start to heal. 

Create positive memories

Celebrate the life of your loved one. Collect photos and memorabilia, keep a journal and share stories and memories with others. All of these help create meaning after loss.

Live each day

Establish a regular routine and do something special for yourself each day. Walk, eat healthy, meditate and relax. Take time out of your day to focus on yourself. Do something that you are passionate about, start a hobby. Something to shake up your day and week can be a much needed distraction.

Ask for help

Talking to your doctor, people in a support group, or a trusted relative or friend can be of great help. It may be helpful to seek specialised professional help, such as bereavement counseling.

Allow yourself to be sad

It is natural to cry. Many people find comfort in crying. Exploring and expressing emotions is part of the process. Listening to music or writing can help. Spending time alone can help you connect with your emotions and speed up the process.

Keep in touch

Spending time with people who support you is important. Accept offers of help, talk about loved ones, and spend time with others.

How can I support a grieving loved one?

Get in touch

Get in touch so you can spend time together. Respect that your friend may need to cry, hug, talk, be silent, or be alone.

Listen

It can be difficult to know what to say, especially if you have never experienced grief. There may not be words that really help, but listening can be a great support.

Help

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do to help someone experiencing grief or loss is to be there for them. They may need help doing things that they just can't manage alone in their current state. A helping hand can make a massive difference when someone is grieving.     

"Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim." - Vicki Harrison

#WorldMentalHealthDay #WMHD2022   

To Find Support: 

Beyond Blue provides Australians with information and support to improve their mental health. Call 1300 22 46 36 or visit beyondblue.org.au for more information.

Lifeline Australia provides Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support. Call 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au for more information.

GriefLine listens, cares and supports people experiencing loss and grief, at any stage in life.  Call 1300 845... 8am to 8pm AEST, weekdays.

MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78, 24 hours / 7 days a week.

Kids Helpline is a free 24/7, confidential and private counselling service Australia wide specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years. Call 1800 55 1800.

 Life Supports Counselling provides Australians with experienced counsellors & psychologists in their local area Australia-wide. Call 1300 735... .  

By Jack Kennedy

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