Supporting Grief

Approximately 5 percent of children lose a parent early on in life, making it rare amongst their peers and, thus, socially challenging. Children with early parental loss are more likely to experience a variety of problems, including a greater risk for depression and anxiety, difficulty with self-regulation with food, alcohol, and substances, and problems within their relationships. Early loss is a major adverse childhood event and may be associated with both post-traumatic reactions and resilient responses.

Loss becomes more and more common as we get older. The same coping responses that serve us well at one time—disengaging from emotion, focusing on moving forward—may later lead to struggle as those adaptations characteristically pose barriers to self-awareness and connection with others. Healthy grieving requires not only drawing upon personal resources but also receiving appropriate support from those around us.

One common problem is pubic stigma and discomfort towards people experiencing grief, especially severe grief. Severe grief may become a clinical concern, called Prolonged Grief Disorder — Which recognises that certain individuals experience strong and continuous reactions to loss, which interferes with their lives. Prolonged Grief Disorder affects about 1 in 10 people who experience a significant loss, and in many ways, it parallels PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

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