Chapter 2: Where do I get help?

Grief support groups

I've been there
Alvin shares the unexpected parts of his grief. (3:22)Video transcript
Meaza describes her experience in a support group. (3:22)Video transcript
Francesca explains the value of grieving with non-family members. (3:22)Video transcript
The grief expert says
Dr. Chris MacKinnon, psychologist, discusses when support groups are helpful and unhelpful.(3:22)Video transcript

Joining a local support group may help you move through your grief. In these groups, you can both share your experience and support others who are grieving. Typically, a trained facilitator or mental health professional guides the discussion.

You may be scared to join a support group. Many question if they will fit in or be understood. These are valid concerns. It is often best to contact the facilitator prior to joining a group to ask any questions you may have. Inquire about the goals of the group to see if they fit with what you need.

Support groups can be found through health centers, community centers and faith-based organizations. Your doctor or health team can assist you to find local resources.

"Would I fit in a support group? Would it make me feel better or just bring me down?"

When is joining a support group useful?When you:
  • Want to learn more about grief and bereavement.
  • Want to find others with similar experiences, thoughts, or feelings.
  • Would benefit from speaking about your loss.
  • Are alone, withdrawing, or both.
  • Need structure in your life and a regular outing.
When is joining a support group not useful?
  • If you have been grieving a very long time and the group is not designed for this.
  • If your grief is complicated and the group is not designed for this. (See Module 1, Understanding grief.)
  • If you are extremely worried about being with others and cannot talk in a group.
  • If you are excessively bitter and lashing out, cannot easily trust others, or feel no one understands you.
  • If your problems are beyond the goals of the group (e.g., you are clinically depressed).