Holding a funeral or memorial service for your loved one is a positive first step in the grieving process. Family members and friends get a chance to say their goodbyes, and at the same time, they get to share strong feelings with one another. In the days, weeks and months following the service, people continue to need others to lean on for understanding, encouragement and guidance. For that reason, many local and national support groups have formed.
These groups provide a common place and a comforting environment for expressing emotions through each phase of the grieving process.
Support from family and friends is important
People who have support from family and friends are less likely to suffer poor health as a consequence of bereavement and loss. However, some people may also benefit from grief support and counselling.
Grief support services provide counselling, support and education to bereaved individuals and families. The opportunity to talk things over with other who have experienced similar events or 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. Volunteer counsellors have often been through a similar experience. They can share their experiences and give practical advice and suggestions gained from their own bereavement journey.
Support can help you cope with grief
Grief support services aim to:
- Help 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.
There are 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 SIDS and Kids or SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support). There are also grief support groups for families of people involved in industrial or workplace accidents, victims of homicide and people experiencing trauma as a result of road accidents. Sometime specialist services are established in response to a particular traumatic event or disaster such as a bushfire or flood.
Services for children
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, is the Victorian government funded statewide
specialist bereavement service and operates throughout Victoria . They can provide a number of
bereavement support programs for children and adults. Kids Grieve Too is designed for children aged from four to 14 years who have experienced the death of anyone significant in their lives.
Kids Help Line offers a confidential 24-hour counselling service for children aged from five to 25 years. Children can call from anywhere in Australia for free on 1800 551 800.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Your local community health centre
- A trained counsellor
- Nurse-on-Call Tel. 1300 606 024 – for expert health information and advice 24 hours, 7 days
- Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement – Bereavement Counselling and Support Service Tel. (03) 9265 2111
- Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement – Kids Grieve Too; Younger Bereaved Partners Tel. (03) 9543 9449
- Mercy Grief Services Tel. (03) 9364 9838 – for people living in the western region of Melbourne
- Kids Help Line Tel. 1800 551 800 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The Compassionate Friends Victoria Tel. (03) 9888 4944 or 1800 641 091 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- SIDS and Kids Victoria Tel. (03) 9822 9611 or 1800 240 400 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support) Tel. (03) 9899 0218
- IDSA (Industrial Death Support and Advocacy) Tel. (03) 9309 4453
- Victims of Crime Helpline Tel. 1800 819 817
- Road Trauma Support Team Tel. (03) 9819 9922 or 1300 367 797
- Solace for Bereaved Partners Tel. (03) 9384 1722
- SuicideLine Victoria Tel. 1300 651 251 – for counselling, crisis intervention, information and
referral (24 hours, 7 days)