Bereavement is the reaction to a loss by death. Grief is the psychological and emotional reaction to a significant loss, not limited to death. Mourning is the social expression of bereavement or grief. Complicated grief, also known as traumatic grief, is typically not diagnosed until months later.
Grief manifests in different ways for different people. But with time, the emotions tend to reduce. Most recover from a major bereavement within one or two years, the sense of loss never goes away entirely. However, if it lingers and begins to affect a person socially and occupationally, the person might be suffering from depression. It is important to keep a lookout for symptoms and not dismiss them. The support of friends and family can make a real difference to a bereaved person’s capacity to manage the experience.
Symptoms to look out for
Common symptoms include disbelief about the death, anger and bitterness, pangs of emotions yearning for the deceased, preoccupation with thoughts of the deceased, avoidance of reminders of the loss, and losing own’s life purpose.
During the first year of bereavement, some people may demonstrate various types of disrupted functioning:
- cognitive disorganization – derailed, uncertainty about the future, search for meaning, difficulty accepting the loss
- dysphoria – unease or dissatisfaction with life
- health deficits – weight loss and fatigue
- disruptions in both social and occupational functioning
Studies found that the percentage of bereaved who meet criteria for a major depression decreases over time, with 40% in the first month, 24% in the second month, 15% after 1 year and 7% after 2 years.
Reference: Bereavement-Related Depression
However, the prevalence of complicated grief among those bereaved by violent and unexpected death (such as homicide, accident and suicide) can be as high as 78% during the first year, compared to those who experienced other types of death. It was hypothesized that the lack of perceived preparedness is associated with the severity of the complicated grief.
How about children and adolescents?
Children may understand and react to the loss in different ways. It is important not to overlook their emotional needs. They may need a lot more reassurance and words of comfort to understand and how to deal with the situation.
|Who is it for?||Day||Time||Contact|
|Insitute of Mental Health||General public who wants to seek professional help||Mon – Fri||08:00 – 18:00||6389 200|
|Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)||Anybody in crisis and the suicidal||Daily||24 hours||1800 221 4444|
|Mental Health Helpline||Those suffering from psychological and psychiatric problems||Daily||24 hours||6389 2222|
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|AMP Hotline||Malay / Muslim families in crisis or those who need help||Mon – Fri||10:00 – 17:00||6416 3960|
|Club HEAL||For Malay / Muslim individuals or families who require assistance with or support for mental health concerns||Mon – Fri||09:00 – 17:00||6899 3463|
|Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA)||Indian families in need of assistance or counselling||
Mon – Fri
09:00 – 17:00
09:00 – 13:00
|1800 295 4554|
(Association of Women for Action & Research)
|Women with a variety of concerns||Mon – Fri||15:00 – 21:30||1800 774 5935|
|Counselling & Care Centre||For individuals, couple and families experiencing psychological, marital or family problems||Mon – Fri||08:30 – 17:00||6536 6366|
|O Joy Care Services||For older people, families and caregivers cope with mental and psychosocial health||Mon – Fri||10:00 – 18:00||6749 0190|
It is ok and natural to feel sad. Take your own time to be alone and spend time with your loved ones may help feel better.
Each tear is a poet, a healer, a teacher. – Rune Lazuli