Although grief can be very painful, most people (85-90%) find that with the support of their family and friends, and their own resources, they gradually find ways to learn to live with their loss and do not need to seek professional help.
Sometimes the circumstances of the death may have been particularly distressing, such as traumatic or sudden death, or there may be circumstances in your life which make your grief particularly acute or complex.
Sadness, is natural and inevitable, however if over time, you find it difficult to manage day-to-day life we would encourage you to seek further support.
You should consider seeking additional support if:
- You do not have people who can listen to you and care for you
- You find yourself unable to manage the tasks of your daily life, such as going to work or caring for your children
- Over time you remain preoccupied and acutely distressed by your grief
- Your personal and work relationships are being seriously affected
- You have persistent thoughts of harm to yourself or anyone else
- You persistently over-use alcohol or other drugs
- You experience panic attacks or other serious anxiety or depression
- You feel that for whatever reason, you need help to get through this experience
Grief is different for everyone, and there is no one ‘best’ option for seeking further help. Seeing a counsellor however, is certainly one of the options open to you. Many people also find assistance through a range of self-help and mutual support organisations. Having the opportunity to meet and talk with others who have experienced a similar loss can often be very helpful. The Compassionate Friends, for example, provides support to bereaved parents.
Counselling is a confidential discussion between client and counsellor. It includes both education and support and can be useful early in the grief experience or many years later. Usually, you do not require a referral to see a counsellor.
Your local community health service or general practitioner is a good place to ask about local bereavement counselling services. You may also like to contact an agency that specialises in bereavement counselling, or one that works in the particular area of trauma – e.g. Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, SIDS and Kids and cancer support services.
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