Coping with the grief of losing a loved one during the pandemic can be especially challenging. The restrictions of face-to-face meetings do not allow you to meet friends and family for mutual support.
If you have lost a loved one, feelings of sadness are a completely natural reaction to a traumatic event.
Common reactions to a traumatic event may include:
- Sleeping problems
- Loss of appetite
People cope with loss in different ways, the following steps can help you:
- Contact other loved ones: call or write to your friends or family. Share memories or photos that remind you of your loved one with email and video calls or social media with family and friends.
- Engage in activities that remind you of a loved one: e.g. preparing their favourite food, dedicate memory to your loved one.
- If necessary, do not be afraid to contact the helplines: for a list of helplines, see Stress and handling the impacts of the pandemic> Helplines.
- Seek spiritual support from church organizations:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the family and close friends of a person who died on COVID-19 may experience stigmatization from others. If you feel misunderstood, rejected by people around you, this probably arises from a lack of awareness of these people about the pandemic. Try to explain the situation to these people, and if you don't feel like it, you should avoid them.
Teenagers coping with loss
Teenagers can cope with loss in different ways than adults. Reactions to loss include, for example, significant sleep disturbance, trying to isolate from family, irritability, frustration, clinging to technology (spending time on social networks, playing games, etc.)
Parents should try to talk about the loss, and express their support. If necessary, adolescents can contact helplines dedicated to them, a list of which can be found in the Stress and handling the impacts of the pandemic> Helplines.
Children coping with a loss
Children may cope with grief in different ways than adults. It can be especially difficult for some children to understand and cope with the loss of a loved one. Sometimes children seem sad and talk about missing the person. Other times, they play and communicate and do their usual activities without showing signs of longing.
If a child is sad, you can help them by:
- Discussing the situation with them and trying to understand their perception of the event.
- If the child has questions, try to answer them according to their age.
- Try to keep your child's daily routine as usual as possible.
- Spend time with your child reading, drawing, or other activities they enjoy.
If you feel that your child needs further help (especially if there are significant changes in their behaviour), you can contact one of the helplines dedicated to parents in Stress and handling the impacts of the pandemic> Helplines. Or contact a paediatrician.