3 Ways To Support A Grieving Person

8th December, 2021 in Mental Health

Some people find that work is a useful distraction from grief so your team member or colleague may not want to talk about how they’re feeling.

Despite this, saying something at the right time reassures them that you care, helps them to feel supported, and makes sure they don’t feel isolated.

1. Plan What You Want To Say

It’s common to not know what to say or to worry about saying the wrong thing. Sometimes writing down what you could say, helps.

Some examples of things you could say:

“I’m sorry to hear about X"

“I’m here if you need me”

By reaching out in the right moment you’re showing them that they’re not being ignored.

2. Focus On Them

Sometimes people say things like, “I know what you’re going through” because they think it will help someone to feel less alone.

Saying this might come from a place of love, but it’s important not to assume what someone is going through. Everyone's experiences are unique and everyone grieves in different ways.

If you have gone through something similar, sometimes it can be comforting to mention this. Remember though to focus on them and to give them space to talk.

Things to avoid:

“I know how you feel”

“Time heals”

"At least they had a long life”

3. Create Space To Talk

Often the best way we can support someone is by giving them space to talk about how they’re feeling.

When we verbalise how we’re feeling, we are able to honour and release built up emotion. The self-soothing nature of this is often underestimated.

Be a good ear and practice active listening by staying present and attentive to what they're saying.

Something you could say when someone is opening up:

“That sounds tough, would you like to talk about this more?"

Tip: Be mindful of the days when grief may be especially heavy for someone, birthdays, anniversaries etc. If you are aware of those days, perhaps make a special effort to reach out so they don’t have to cope alone.

Let's break the stigma and learn how we can be there for each other!

Sources cited: mariecurie.org.uk/grief-at-work⁠