When someone you love dies, it can create a void and a lifelong loss that affects both adults and children. The ensuing grief doesn't skip over someone because of their age, experience, or developmental stages.
Children experience sorrow over their losses as much as adults do, although their grief manifests differently. Grief reactions in both adults and children can vary and are unique to each person.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Free Grief Resources for Children, Teens, or Students
- Free Grief Resources for Parents
- Free Grief Resources for Other Adults
- Free Grief Resources for Therapists or Counselors
Knowing how to help someone who's hurting and coping with loss can be challenging. Getting the proper care and support can make a huge difference in healing from pain and suffering and a major part of grief work. Everyone needs different levels of care in a safe and supportive environment as they move through their grief.
The following suggestions will help you learn where to find grief resources that may help you or a loved one dealing with a significant loss in life.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
Free Grief Resources for Children, Teens, or Students
Children have a unique need for counseling, as do teenagers and students who are coping with loss. When the death of a parent, sibling, or other loved one strikes, the loss can be devastating to a young person.
For most, this is one of their first experiences dealing with grief. They may not understand the intense emotions of sadness, anger, fear, and shame that follow a loss. Below are some resources available to children, teens, and students who are grieving.
One of the significant crises a young person may face is the death of a loved one. While in school, children can turn to their counselors for support in helping them address any grief-related feelings and emotions they may be experiencing.
A school counselor's role in a child’s life can be valuable as they grieve a significant loss in their life. They provide social support to a child or young adult as they adapt over time to the death of a family member, a friend, classmate, or other loved one.
Each young person or student can grieve differently depending on their age, maturity level, or previous experiences with death. These school resources are offered for free and are available to every student as part of their essential academic and social support services.
Crisis counselors are first responders in situations where there's trauma involving school-aged children and young adults. They usually come in as soon as tragedy strikes to bridge survivors and victims from the tragic event to receive the mental health and counseling services children will need in the aftermath.
Many children, teens, and students alike often feel isolated and withdraw from their families and peers. They're unable to talk about what they're going through because they often think that no one will understand them. Many times, children end up dealing with their grief alone and without the needed help and support.
Fortunately, there are many free grief counseling resources available to children and young adults, especially after experiencing a mass tragedy.
The Dougy Center
The Dougy Center offers free and unlimited grief support services to kids, teens, and young adults dealing with loss. The center also provides this service to adult caregivers who may need support in helping a child or young adult cope with tragedy or to deal with their own grief.
There are over 500 Dougy centers worldwide. They provide online grief support groups and services to anyone who's in need, as well as in-person services where available.
Free Grief Resources for Parents
For parents experiencing the death of a child, the depths of their sadness and despair can be profound. Getting the help they need at one of the most challenging times of their lives is vital for getting through the heart-wrenching pain and suffering following this type of loss. There are several grief counseling professionals and grief support groups available to parents for free.
The Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends is an online grief support organization that offers comfort, hope, and support to families everywhere who are experiencing the death of a child, sibling, or grandchild.
The Compassionate Friends is a self-help organization that brings together bereaved families to offer support to one another as they learn to cope with the grief of their loss.
There are several chapters worldwide that are committed to helping the bereaved understand the natural grieving process following a child's death.
Bereaved Parents of the USA
Bereaved Parents of the USA connects families who've suffered the death of a child or sibling in a safe environment for them to connect and share in each other's grief. Their website is a free forum where people with shared grief experiences can connect to share stories, support one another, and offer hope and healing.
The online resources they provide help anyone from the newly bereaved to understand what to expect after loss, to those suffering through years of pain after their loved one's death. You can find information on other online grief support groups available to help you as you begin the healing process following the death of a loved one.
Grief.com is an educational website providing grief-support-related articles, research, information, and links to other websites relating to coping with tragedy. The website has a blog that covers topics on death, dying, and bereavement. There’s also a resource page including a grief counselor directory linking you to professionals who may be able to help you with your grief recovery.
Free Grief Resources for Other Adults
No one is likely to escape having experienced at least some significant setback or loss in their lifetime. The older we get, the more we’ve experienced life. Unfortunately, tragedy is a part of life and something almost all of us have to learn to cope with at some point.
Pain and suffering are but two of the side effects of grief. When grief becomes overwhelming and challenging to contend with, there’s free help available out there. The following suggested resources specifically address suffering in adulthood and ways in which to cope with loss.
Grief Anonymous is a social-media-based online support group providing access to various Facebook groups dedicated to grief support. There is around-the-clock access to members of this group so that you can talk to someone about your grief-related experiences at any time of the day or night.
They offer more than twenty different grief support groups, all connecting through the Facebook app. Most of these groups aren't moderated by a licensed grief therapist or counselor, and there is no assurance of privacy with any information that you choose to share with anyone.
Hospice organizations provide grief and bereavement support to their patients, families, medical staff, and community members free of charge. There is no requirement that you have a family member receiving hospice care, nor do you need to have ever used the organization’s hospice services to tap into their grief support services.
You can obtain information on connecting with a grief counselor or member of the clergy by contacting a local hospice provider and requesting an appointment.
Places of worship
Many worship places offer free grief and bereavement counseling services or can connect you with volunteers near you. Some will require you to be a member of their church, temple, or organization to access the chaplaincy team or bereavement services volunteers.
If you don’t currently belong to any particular house of worship, take this opportunity to inquire about joining one where you can find the needed support during your time of grief.
Free Grief Resources for Therapists or Counselors
Professional grief therapists and counselors know how to handle different types of grief. Nonetheless, staying ahead of new trends in treatment in changing social and world environments is essential to understand how people’s grief shifts according to what’s happening globally.
Take, for example, a world pandemic or other shared grief experiences that change the way we view and experience. A therapist or counselor needs to know how to respond to their patients in this new grieving context. The resources below are available for free to any professional needing help in assisting their patients or coping with their own grief.
Associate of Death Education & Counseling (ADEC)
ADEC is a professional organization that provides death education and grief counseling information, support, and resources to its members worldwide.
They make available many of these resources available for free to grief professionals who are interested in furthering their knowledge and understanding of grief and grief-related issues among those who have suffered a significant or traumatic loss.
They also offer modern and updated forms of bereavement training, links to free learning resources, and access to research in the field of thanatology, death, dying, and bereavement. You don’t need to be a paid member of their organization to access their free resources and tools.
American Counseling Organization
The American Counseling Organization offers free grief and loss resources to help the grief practitioner hone their skills or develop new ones. They provide free access to grief-related publications, practice briefs written by scholars in the profession, and online courses at a nominal fee.
This organization has knowledge-based information relating to dealing with grief in adulthood and learning about children’s grief and how young adults process their grief.
Grief Support Following Loss
Getting the proper help after suffering a significant loss or setback is vital in healing from grief. Those who are especially experiencing complicated grief reactions will benefit from professional counseling or therapy to help them through their pain and sorrow.
Not every counselor is adept in dealing with grief-related issues, so it’s crucial to vet those who put themselves out as grief support specialists when deciding who to go for help.