How to go through loss and grief?

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Types of loss

During the pandemic, people were experiencing multiple losses. Some of these losses were obvious, such as jobs, income and physical connectedness. Less obvious losses included the losses of freedom, trust in others, future plans, even a loss of basic trust in the world that is the basis of our whole mental fabric that is developed in infancy. Because not all losses involve a death, people might not recognize them as something that can cause grief. However, any loss can cause grief. This means that many people were living in a state of chronic grief during the pandemic as they managed these multiple losses, which might result in long-term symptoms of depression and anxiety. After the pandemic levels of depressive symptoms remained higher than before the pandemic and include depression, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and perceived mental health impact of the pandemic.

This program aims to ensure that we will be better equipped to support ourselves and one another in times of loss. Typically, death brings us together. Funerals offer support to grievers and the opportunity for grievers to receive support from others. Familiar rituals include large gatherings for funerals and memorial services, home visits, hugs and kisses, and the offer of meals. However, because of strong physical distancing measures, people could not engage in familiar rituals when their loved ones died. Because of the pandemic, many people were unable to be with a loved one when they die, or unable to mourn someone’s death in a person with friends and family. During the pandemic, grieving people no longer had physical access to their supporters. People literally could not reach out and touch others, they relied solely on remote ways to support someone who is grieving. Doctors and social workers noticed the negative consequences this distancing might have on the grieving process.

Support for grieving people is not only the task for health and social services but becomes everyone’s responsibility.
Social support is an important factor influencing bereavement outcomes. Social support is verbal and non-verbal communication between recipients and providers that reduces uncertainty about the situation, the self, the other, or the relationship, and functions to enhance a perception of personal control in one’s life experiences. Research suggests that, following the loss of a relative or friend, social support can act as a buffer against psychological morbidity by reducing grief symptomatology and facilitating psychological adaptation.

What is grief?
Many people are experiencing grief during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Grief is a normal response to a loss during or after a disaster or other traumatic event. Grief can happen in response to a loss of life, as well as too drastic changes to daily routines and ways of life that usually bring us comfort and a feeling of stability. Common grief reactions include shock, disbelief, or denial; anxiety; distress; anger; sadness, loss of sleep and loss of appetite. Although grief is a normal and natural response to loss, social context plays a huge part in how we experience loss and grief. Social support is one of the strongest determinants of positive outcomes after bereavement.