10 Things We’ve Learned About Supporting People Through Loss


Many people are experiencing loss at the moment. Loss of friends and loved ones. And loss of employment or way of life. How can we help people in our neighbourhoods who are going through this? In a recent webinar we asked this question to counsellors, faith leaders and community workers. Here's 10 things we learned…

  1. Grief is a process. It can include shock, anger, guilt, resentment, remorse, helplessness, depression and despair. It's normal to experience all of these things. It's also normal to experience just a few of them.

  2. This process can take a long time. There are no short-cuts. But eventually, people start to feel the pain less.

  3. Many people try to block out the pain, but this is not helpful. It’s important to encourage others to feel their emotions, whatever they are.

  4. When someone is grieving they should try to keep a familiar routine. Perhaps you can help them to eat well, drink water, and even connect with others who have experienced a similar loss?

  5. The best way to support someone who is experiencing loss is simply to be there for them. Be caring and listen to them in their pain. Allow them space to talk about their loss - this will never make things worse.

  6. Don’t tell someone to ‘get over it’ or tell them ‘it’s not a big deal’. Resist the temptation to try and tell someone how to solve their problem.

  7. Crying is good. It is healthy for someone to feel pain and to express it. Often the most intense period of pain lasts 4-6 weeks.

  8. Encourage them to avoid making big life decisions when they are grieving.

  9. It can be hard to support people who have a different faith. But we can still do all of the things above.

  10. For many, talking to God and reading the Bible is very helpful. Honest prayer helps process our emotions with God. The Bible covers the full range of human emotions, and it gives us permission to grieve, and provides hope for the future.

Are you a member of our network? Do you have ideas for a future panel discussion? Let us know! Email team [at] arukahnetwork [dot] org.