County Human Services

Loss & Grief

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pdf icon 05 22 2018Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief by NCTSN

pdf icon 05 22 2018Fact Sheet: Loss & Grief by Lifeline

pdf icon 05 22 2018Tool Kit: Coping with loss and change in a community after a natural disaster by Lifeline

pdf icon 05 22 2018Fact Sheet: What is suicide bereavement? by Lifeline


What is grief? by New York Office of Mental Health - How to Deal with Grief:

Grief is the normal response of sorrow, emotion, and confusion that comes from losing someone or something important to you. It is a natural part of life. Grief is a typical reaction to death, divorce, job loss, a move away from family and friends, or loss of good health due to illness.

How does grief feel?

Just after a death or loss, you may feel empty and numb, as if you are in shock. You may notice physical changes such as trembling, nausea, trouble breathing, muscle weakness, dry mouth, or trouble sleeping and eating.

You may become angry—at a situation, a particular person, or just angry in general. Almost everyone in grief also experiences guilt. Guilt is often expressed as “I could have, I should have, and I wish I would have” statements.

People in grief may have strange dreams or nightmares, be absent-minded, withdraw socially, or lack the desire to return to work. While these feelings and behaviors are normal during grief, they will pass.

How long does grief last?

Grief lasts as long as it takes you to accept and learn to live with your loss. For some people, grief lasts a few months. For others, grieving may take years.

The length of time spent grieving is different for each person. There are many reasons for the differences, including personality, health, coping style, culture, family background, and life experiences. The time spent grieving also depends on your relationship with the person lost and how prepared you were for the loss.

How will I know when I’m done grieving?

Every person who experiences a death or other loss must complete a four-step grieving process:

1. Accept the loss.

2. Work through and feel the physical and emotional pain of grief.

3. Adjust to living in a world without the person or item lost.

4. Move on with life.

The grieving process is over only when a person completes the four steps.


What if these feelings won’t go away?


If you recently experienced a death or other loss, feelings of grief are part of a normal reaction. But if these feelings persist with no lifting mood, ask for help. Contact:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

730 N. Franklin Street, Suite 501

Chicago, IL 60610-7224


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Colonial Place Three

2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300

Arlington, VA 22201-3042

Local: 703-524-7600

Toll-free helpline: 800-950-NAMI (950-6264)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Public Information and Communications Branch

6001 Executive Boulevard, Suite 8184, MSC 9663

Bethesda, MD 20892-9663

Local: 301-443-4513

Toll-free: 866-615-6464

National Mental Health Association (NMHA)

2001 N. Beauregard Street, 12th Floor

Alexandria, VA 22311

Local: 703-684-7722

Toll-free: 800-969-NMHA (969-6642)


Where can I find help?

The following list of organizations and Web sites provides information and support for coping with grief:

The Compassionate Friends (national office)

48660 Pontiac Trail


Wixom, WI 48393

630-990-0010; Toll Free 877-969-0010

A national, self-help support organization for those grieving the loss of a child or sibling.


Bethesda Professional Building

4360 Cooper Road, Suite 101

Cincinnati, OH 45242

513-745-0111 (M - F 9:30 am - 4:30 pm EST)

Grief information, resources, and support for grieving children and their families.

RENEW: Center for Personal Recovery

P.O. Box 125

Berea, KY 40403


A grief counseling center for individuals and families that are experiencing loss, with a specialty in grief recovery counseling for traumatic deaths.


Online Resources


A Web site that provides information and resources related to death, dying, bereavement, and major emotional and physical losses.

Growth House, Inc.

A source of quality information and resources on death and dying issues.


A web site about self-help, support, and recovery issues.