Anyone who has experienced the loss of a friend, co-worker or family member knows the indescribable pain this causes. More than pain, the loss of someone we love can make us feel truly alone. With the growth of internet technology and the surge of people going online for help, there has been a parallel growth in grief support forums.
Physical grief support groups can be a large barrier to people after a loss and online support groups can offer the safety, support and love that people need most. However not all grief support forums are the same. Here are some things to consider:
Safety & privacy:
When choosing an online community after experiencing a loss, safety and privacy are of huge importance. People in these communities are sharing intimate details and questions to ask yourself include: Are there moderators? Is this community public or private? What checks and balances are in place to ensure your privacy? Some communities, especially on Facebook will ask members to provide death certificates. While this practice may seem insensitive in a time of loss, it is actually a safeguard to ensure that those inside a "Child Loss" support group have actually lost a child.
A good support group is a like a good therapist, hard to find and in need of effort on your part. Not every community will suit your needs and chances are you may need more than one community. If you are a single parent who lost a child, a support group for married couples may not offer you all the support you need but may offer some in addition to others. Follow your heart and instinct and do not be afraid to move on if you feel uncomfortable.
Grief Support Forums
7. Web Healing
Web Healing was started in 1995 by Tom Golden. Feeling like there was no place to turn to online(this was 1995 after all), Tom started Web Healing as a place where people could come together and work through their grief and mourning in a safe environment. The website has links to important resources, videos and the ability to have a grief consultation with Tom. The Forum is very active with boards relating to grief and loss, loss of a parent, loss of a child and more.
6. PetLoss Message Boards
We've written about this topic before("Dealing with the loss of a pet") and only someone with a companion animal can truly understand the bond that is developed. This makes losing your friend that much harder. This online support forum has over 240,000 posts, a memorial section, grief section and a forum to find homes for abandoned cats and dogs. A safe and caring community.
5. Grief Healing
Grief Healing is much more than a message board. This website has a blog, articles, columns and advice for anyone who has experienced a loss. The forum is heavily trafficked and include topics such as "Anticipatory Grief", "Loss of a Spouse", "Pet Loss" and more. The forums are a safe place and every post is reviewed and read by our moderator, a nationally certified grief counselor who visits the site several times a day.
4. Online Grief Support - A Social Community
This grief portal features a myriad of options to help you work through your loss. Sign up and start your own grief blog, upload photos and videos and chat with a sympathetic community of people. The website is comprised of Groups which anyone can join that allow you to interact with other people and contribute. On top of this, there is also a forum with active members. If writing is your release, this might be the place for you!
Featuring forums, chat rooms and galleries, this online grief support message board is growing in popularity. The forums dealing with the loss of a partner and suicide loss are extremely popular and full of loving and supportive people. Probably one of the more comprehensive forums on our list, however it does not feature things such as blogs, articles and counselling resources in a traditional website space.
2. Open to Hope
Open to Hope is a non-profit organization with the mission of helping people find hope after loss. The team behind Open to Hope want to create a safe environment for people to come together and share their stories and experiences of grief and mourning. The website is divided between several sections and is filled with interesting stories of hope and survival. Contributions are welcome if you feel like you have a story you need to share.
1. Alliance of Hope
Alliance of Hope is a support group for survivors of suicide loss. It is a safe place for those grieving after a loss and was founded in 2008 by Ronnie Walker, a licensed clinical mental health counsellor who lost her stepson to suicide in 1995. This non-profit's website features a blog, a bookstore, personal stories, memorials and a very active Message Board. Registration is open to anyone and it is a moderated forum. You can even volunteer an hour of your time to getting to know new members on their community forums.