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Supporting a Friend Through Grief

When someone you care about is grieving, it’s hard sometimes to know how you should act. You care about them and want to help but don’t want to say or do the wrong thing. Here’s some tips to support a friend who’s lost someone.

This blog is a part of our Living With Loss: Grief Campaign
To see more campaign content, click here

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Listening is a great way to show someone you’re there for them when they’re grieving. You don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing, and you don’t need to fix things. You might think that what you’re doing isn’t helping, but listening can be really helpful. By listening, you could also pick up on things, hinting at the support they want or need.

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Ask them how you can help

Sometimes, your friend may not want to talk as it’s too painful, and they don’t want to repeat themselves all the time. Don’t feel rejected if you offer a listening ear or helping hand and it’s rejected. Instead, ask if there’s a way you could help. It could be going through belongings, cooking a meal, or getting out of the house as a distraction.

Vector girl texting on her phone to represent messaging a friend.

Check-in after the initial shock period

Often, when someone’s loved one dies, they are swamped with support from friends and family. However. But, over time, and after the funeral, this support fades. You don’t have to check in constantly, but your friend may appreciate getting a message of support when they least expect it.

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Give them space

The emotions felt when grieving can be very overwhelming. Your friend might find a little space to gather their thoughts helpful. Don’t be offended. Just be sure to check up on them every now to see how they are. Grief can be incredibly isolating and make people feel alone.

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Share Memories

Sometimes, grieving people worry about losing memories of those who have passed. If you know the person who is gone, share fond memories with your friend and reflect on their life. Sharing funny stories, photographs, and videos can be a great way to connect with someone who’s grieving. If you didn’t know the person who died, you could ask your friend to tell you about their life.

Help them find support

Sending your friend information about where to find support when grieving might be helpful. It can help them understand the next steps and be another outlet for information, advice, and support. If you’re worried about what your friend is saying or how they’re acting, talk to a responsible adult you trust. There are organisations that can help in our Get Help section below.

Getting help

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Hope Again

A youth website by Cruse Bereavement Support. A safe place where you can learn from other young people how to cope with grief and feel less alone. Call the Cruse helpline on 0808 808 1677 between 9:30 and 5pm Monday and Friday and between 9:30 and 8pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Visit their website to find support in your area.

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Winston’s Wish

Helping children, teenagers and young adults to find their feet when their worlds are turned upside down by grief. Their Help 2 Make Sense website has advice, tips, and real-life stories from other grieving young people. Visit their website for information about the grief support available, including Live Chat, Email, Helpline, counselling, support, resources and activities.

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Grief Encounter

Supporting bereaved children and young people. The Grieftalk helpline offers confidential, emotional support and guidance to anyone affected by grief. 0808 802 0111 9am-9pm weekdays Visit their website for details about counselling, workshops and other resources that can help.

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Talk to Meic

Free and confidential helpline for children and young people up to 25 in Wales. Help if you’re worried about something, have questions, or need information or advice. We can put you on the right track if you don’t know who to contact. We can even help you talk to others if you’re struggling. Call our helpline from 8am to midnight every single day: 080 880 23456 or chat to us online.

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