National Grief Awareness Day, held on the 30th of August 2023, is dedicated to raising awareness of the myriad ways in which individuals cope with loss. It offers resources to those going through personal losses and reminds us that closure comes in many forms and to always support those around us who are grieving.
The significant awareness day was founded by Angie Cartwright in 2014. Familiar with loss, Cartwright become lost in grief. She has become dedicated to bringing support to those who have suffered like her and enlightening others to the realities of bereavement. She hopes to encourage open communication and better inform the public on the facts of grief.
What is Grief?
According to statistics, around 60 million people across the globe die each year, each leaving an average of five grieving people behind. Grief is the profound and transformative emotional process that arises from the experience of losing someone or something of deep personal significance, leading individuals to navigate through a range of intense feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations, while ultimately seeking meaning, healing, and acceptance in the face of their loss. Grief can be experienced in other circumstances, such as loss of a pet or the death of a public figure. It can also manifest itself as the loss of something you consider important such as losing your job, your friend moving abroad or breaking up with a partner.
Grief is not limited to just mourning the physical absence of someone or something but also encompasses feelings of sadness, longing, confusion, anger, guilt, and a profound sense of emptiness. It can impact both your physical and mental health and can also result in social reactions, such as having no desire to engage with others, behaviour changes or difficulty communicating with those around you.
It’s essential to be patient and compassionate with oneself while going through the grieving process. Some people find comfort in the 5 stages of grief as a framework for understanding their emotions. The concept was introduced by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in her book ‘On Death and Dying’ published in 1969. The 5 stages are not necessarily experienced in a linear or predictable order, and not everyone will go through all of them.
Denial: A stage where the individual may have difficulty accepting the reality of loss and may feel numb or in shock.
Anger: Grief can give rise to feelings of frustration, resentment, and anger, sometimes directed to others, oneself, or even the deceased.
Bargaining: Individuals may try to negotiate or make deals in their minds, seeking ways to reverse or prevent the loss from happening.
Depression: A profound sense of sadness, despair, and hopelessness can set in as the reality of the loss becomes more apparent.
Acceptance: Eventually, many individuals reach a stage of acceptance, where they come to terms with the loss and begin to find ways to move on with their lives.
Many people – both who have and haven’t experienced significant losses – don’t have a firm grasp on what grief is and how to cope with it. National Grief Awareness Day gives an opportunity to learn about grief and the ways it can affect you and those around you.
Get Support This National Grief Awareness Day
Reach out to the people closest to you, such as friends and family members. They are often the first line of support during times of grief. Don’t hesitate to talk to them about your feelings, memories of the deceased, or any struggles you’re facing. Research shows 39% of bereaved people reported difficulties in getting support from friends or family with 70% of respondents reporting they could not access the support they would have liked after they experienced a close bereavement. Sharing your emotions can be cathartic and provide you with a sense of relief. Friends and family can also offer practical help, such as assisting with daily tasks or being a listening ear when you need to talk.
If you find it challenging to cope with grief on your own or if your grief is severely affecting your daily life, consider seeking professional help. 74% of bereaved people with high or severe vulnerability are not accessing formal bereavement services or mental health support. Mental health professionals such as grief counsellors, therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists specialise in helping individuals cope with loss and grief. They can provide personalised support, coping strategies, and tools to navigate through the grieving process.
Support groups are gatherings of individuals who are experiencing similar types of loss or grieving. These groups can be highly beneficial as they create a safe and non-judgemental space to share your feelings and hear others’ stories. Hearing from people who have gone through or are going through similar emotions can make you feel less alone in your grief. Support groups can be found at local community centres, organisations, or through mental health facilities.
National Grief Awareness Day reminds us that there is support available. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, and its ok to ask for help when dealing with grief. Everyone’s grief is unique, and finding the right support network can make a significant difference in helping you cope and heal when the pain becomes overwhelming.
How Can Wellity Support You?
Grief is such a complicated and complex experience. The events of the last two years have meant that many people have had to confront this experience head on, as we have navigated intense loss and change.
While grief touches everyone, and grieving is normal, the pain of loss is unique to each individual. A Wellity session ‘The Tidal Waves of Grief and Loss’ will help people to gain a greater understanding for the complexities of grief and how to show compassions to others when they need it most.
For any information on this session, or others we offer surrounding this significant awareness day, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.