Complicated Grief in the COVID-19 Era

In June, I attended a webinar on Complicated Grief in the COVID-19 Era. Expert panelists Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, MDiv, Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, and Leah McDonald, MD, explored the complicated grief that will likely emerge from the pandemic.

One area of grief discussed was deaths during the pandemic and how complicated grief is likely due to the often sudden nature, minimal visits to the loved one before their passing, and the possible stigma that comes from COVID-19. Other than deaths associated with the pandemic, there are other losses that people are experiencing such as loss of employment, loss of freedom and social movement, and loss of routine and connection.

The changes to our daily lives during this pandemic are significant; every single adult and child are affected in some way. Coronavirus continues to cause anxiety, and the panelist experts along with their colleagues are working diligently to formulate scales to determine levels of grief and resources to provide the support many of us will need now and for a long time to come.

Also discussed in the webinar were guidelines and ways to help when working with end of life and bereavement. Healthcare workers are coming up with ways to help families that are typically allowed to be together and share moments during their last hours/days. Some ways that they are helping include using facetime, inviting stories of the passing one’s life, writing letters (taking dictation), and reviewing photos to celebrate high points and acknowledging low points in life.

I found this webinar to be extremely well done, and I have a better understanding of how the pandemic is affecting us and ways to help cope. They have provided a free recording of the webinar online. If you are interested in watching it, the link is provided under Resources below.

Heart and Solutions can help you during COVID-19 through our three services: mental health therapy, behavioral health intervention services (BHIS), and marriage and family therapy. Through these three avenues, we can help you process life and grief in these changed times.


post by Tiffany Johnson

Written by on August 15, 2020.

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