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How to Treat Someone Who is Grieving

How to Treat Someone Who is Grieving

When someone is grieving someone they love, they can experience feelings like depression, guilt, anger, and sadness. They feel very isolated and alone so this is the time to be there for them more than you ever had before. It is important to make sure you say the right thing and avoid trying to justify death, telling them these things happen for a reason, or trying to get them to “get over” their loss. The best thing you can do for someone who is grieving is to be there for them in any capacity possible and to listen to them.

The grieving process is unpredictable where extreme moods can set in. There is no right way to grieve as someone can either be angry, obsess over the death, lash out, or cry for hours. Do not make them feel inferior and let them know that their feelings are normal no matter what they are. Acknowledge the situation by letting them know that you know about their loss, you feel bad that it happened, let them know you care, tell them you will do anything for them, and ask how they feel.

By listening to your loved talking about the person they lost, you are acknowledging that they can tell you anything and that the one who died will not be forgotten. Instead of trying to change the subject, let that person talk and do not be concerned that you will say the wrong thing. Let them know that they can cry, get angry or breakdown without any judgment, criticism, or argument. If you do not know what to say, just maintain eye contact, hold their hand or give them a nice hug. Let them retell the story of their loved one as it can make the pain less for them the more they tell it instead of keeping their feelings inside.

Many who are grieving can feel shameful for receiving too much attention, afraid of being a burden, or too depressed to tell someone they need help. Always let that person know you will be there for as long as it takes and they will look forward to seeing you. Offer to do things like run errands for them, drop off food, help make funeral arrangements, take care of housework, etc. If after two months your loved one is exhibiting suicidal thoughts or depression, get help immediately by calling 1-800-273-TALK.


Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centers in the UK. Castle Craig provides grief counseling that teaches patients the five stages of grief as well as providing trauma therapy group, individual therapy sessions, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR). For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).