Grief and Bereavement and COVID-19
Resources for Practitioners and the public

With rapidly increasing death tolls, profound changes to funeral practices, record-breaking job losses and increasing social isolation, the community is grappling with making sense of these seismic changes in their lives. With this crises producing distress and anxiety through our communities, now it is the time to educate the public on grief and bereavement related to COVID-19 and the unprecedented reactions this virus is going to cause across the world.

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement have put together these resources to share how bereavement and grief may be affected by this pandemic.

Grieving When Others Do Not Acknowledge Your Loss

Grief is our normal response to loss. When someone can’t share their grief with others or their loss is not acknowledged or validated by others, their grief can be felt even more intensely. This is often referred to as disenfranchised grief.


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Strategies For Managing Grief and COVID-19 Related Anxiety

When a person experiences a bereavement, the impacts can feel paralysing. Grieving people often feel that they have lost their sense of control as they attempt to adapt to a different life. Beliefs about the world being a safe and predictable place can be challenged, and grief may leave a bereaved person worrying excessively about the possibility of future losses, feeling fearful or thinking about the past.


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COVID-19, Aged Care Restrictions, End of Life Care and Grief and Loss

With public health guidelines currently limiting access to aged care facilities, many families are feeling a sense of helplessness in visiting and supporting their elderly friends and relatives. This is particularly distressing if the older person is unwell or known to be approaching the end of their life.


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Support For Healthcare Workers Dealing With COVID-19 Related Distress, Death and Bereavements

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers now have an added responsibility for minimising virus exposure to the people they care for as well as for themselves, their families and colleagues. This is a daunting responsibility, given that the virus is not readily detected in its early stages of infection.


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Living in Uncertain Times 

As human beings, we like certainty, despite never truly being able to obtain it. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is shining a spotlight on our uncertainty and generating feelings of anxiety and fear. This can lead to significant emotional distress. When coupled with an existing bereavement; feelings of grief can become more pronounced.

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Supporting Children during the Coronavirus

Due to the uncertain and changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, anxiety and stress can often be high among children and families. Helping children manage anxiety requires calmly communicating factual information, without raising unnecessary alarm. It is important that children understand the potential risks of the disease and the recommended guidelines to avoid spreading the virus. Listening and recognising your child’s concerns, without panic, is crucial.

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Social Support and Bereavement during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, we are increasingly isolated from normal activities that bring us into contact with others. Going to work, shopping, visiting the library or making arrangements to catch up with friends and family are impacted by the need for personal distancing and social isolation. In addition to these daily life changes, each day brings new and distressing information that adds another layer of anxiety.

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Funeral Support and Physical Distancing

With the increase of the Coronavirus pandemic, physical distancing is having an impact on how funerals are conducted and the participation of mourners. The Australian Government has increased physical distancing rules. This may mean that more people may be unable to attend a funeral or that more people may choose to hold a private funeral and or cremation. When you can’t attend a funeral, you can still show your support to grieving family and friends.


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Missing Our Loved One in Time of COVID-19 Webinar 

Missing Our Loved One in the Time of COVID-19 webinar by Jim Monahan is designed for people with a family member or other loved one in an assisted living, skilled nursing facility, or other location and unable to visit due to the safety rules of COVID-19. This webinar discussed the situation, the impact on families and offer suggestions for making the best of the situation. This webinar is free and open for public.

 Watch The Webinar Here

MyGrief App 

MyGrief app is specifically created to support you, your families and friends experiencing grief and bereavement. The free app, designed by the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement and has been rolled out in Australia, the USA and UK, supports bereaved people including those supporting them.

Download MyGrief App

All Grief Factsheets

Our Grief factsheets cover a wide range of subjects and are written by grief and bereavement experts in their fields. They are free to download, print and share.


Download All Grief Factsheets