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How to support a friend who is grieving

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Published 01/09/2022
by Laura Clipson
It can be difficult to know what to do to help a friend or family member who is struggling with their grief. Everyone grieves differently, and will need different things to help them through. Here are a few ideas for how to help someone who is grieving.

Reach out

Many people worry about saying the wrong thing to people who are grieving and accidentally upsetting them, so end up not acknowledging their grief at all. This can make the grieving person feel even more isolated and alone. It’s best to reach out and let them know you’re there for them in whatever capacity they need, and that if they want to talk about their grief you’ll listen.

Be patient

It’s important to remember that when grieving, some people may not want to spend a lot of time with others, and may not always respond to messages. It’s always a good idea to reach out, but if you don’t get a response or have an invitation declined, take a step back and give them some space.


Sometimes the most important thing you can do for someone is listen to what they have to say. Don’t push someone to talk about something they don’t want to, but make sure they know that you’re willing to listen once they are ready to talk.

Offer help

When someone is grieving it can be so much more difficult to do the most simple things. Offering to help with household chores, cooking and shopping can make a huge difference to someone who is grieving.

Help them with additional support if needed

It may help some people to talk to a professional about their grief, or even just someone they don’t know. There are a few mental health charities that can help:
- The Samaritans operate a free to call service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and can be contacted on 116 123.
- Cruse Bereavement Support can be contacted for free on 0808 808 1677, for their opening hours visit their website:
- The Good Grief Trust have a long list of bereavement support on their website:

It may also be worth suggesting that the grieving person contact their GP for help if they are struggling, or call NHS 111.

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I found comfort in a friend who lost her husband a few years before my husband died, friends who still have their husbands who are celebrating long years of marriage. I find it very hurtful when they keep going on about celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary and there is nothing I can do but to sit and listen, it is very painful. They don't know just how fortunate they are.
07-09-2022 09:56:04
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