Experiencing grief after bereavement is an entirely human response. It affects everyone in different ways and therefore it’s important to find the kind of connection and grief support that suits you. That could mean leaning on good friends and family, finding a support group or seeking professional help.
We’re lucky to have many options when it comes to grief support in Victoria, with some wonderful organisations and resources available. People in NSW should read this article.
At Tomorrow Funerals, we’ve spent time researching a range of options to give you an overview of what’s available – from emotional counselling both online and face to face, through to a Centrelink bereavement payment.
If you decide to try one type of grief service and it does not feel right, we suggest looking at another approach, until you find something that connects.
Most importantly, if you are in urgent need of crisis or grief support, please contact:
- Suicide Line: 1300 651 251
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Griefline: 1300 845 745
- Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
What are the stages of grief?
It might surprise you to know that there are not necessarily a strict number of stages of grief, rather it ebbs and flows over time.
Here are some key messages that we find more helpful:
- Grief is felt and expressed in many ways. It’s different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to grieve
- There is no time limit – it takes as long as it takes
- It’s important not to assume that because someone is older, they can adapt, or ‘get used’ to grief. Grief for older people, is still grief.
7 Resources for grief support in Victoria
1. Tele health Bereavement Counselling
The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement offers telephone or online counselling (for a small fee and by appointment) to clients who cannot easily access face to face services, or to those who simply prefer the privacy of their own home or room when taking part in bereavement counselling.
2. Bereavement Support Groups
Grief is experience in so many ways – physically, emotionally, socially, psychologically or spiritually. Some people find great comfort in meeting with other grieving people to share information, experiences or concerns. It’s about recognising that the reactions they have are part of the grief experience. There are some excellent support groups listed here.
3. Support after death of a child
The Compassionate Friends Victoria is dedicated to supporting grieving parents, siblings and grandparents following the death of a child – of any age or from any cause. The organisation has a host of wonderful resources. We have also written about stillbirth and neonatal loss here.
4. Financial Assistance
Depending on your individual circumstances and your relationship to the person who has died you may be entitled to a Centrelink bereavement payment which is worth looking at.
5. Mindfulness for Grief
Mindfulness practices can help with learning how to face life through each moment, no matter what emotions are being experienced; joy, sadness, suffering and grief, without avoiding or stopping the process. Many people find the practices of breathing and meditation helpful. There is an excellent summary here that includes information and recorded meditations so you can start straight away.
6. Reach out to a friend
Sometimes we are programmed not to ask for help. When someone dies there are often many offers of assistance and close family and friends can feel helpless. If this is true for you, perhaps look at it from the mindset that in asking for help, you could also be helping them too. Sometimes doing something – going for a walk, cooking together, watching a TV show together could be a way to deepen the friendship that you might need to lean into for support.
7. Grief Journal
Jo Betz is an amazing young Victorian woman who experienced the sudden death of her husband in 2017. This event changed her life in many ways as she became a single Mother to her young daughter and over time, a spokesperson on the subject of grief. When she wrote her book “Grief – A Guided Journal By Jo Betz” she came from the place that because grief is so different for everyone, she would create a book for everyone to record their own diverse experiences with it. Journaling can be helpful in the process of moving through grief and has proven therapeutic benefits.
There are very few things in life more difficult than the death of someone close. We hope this guide to grief support in Victoria helps you to reach out and find ways to access the support you need at a difficult time.