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Grief is Managed Better with A Support System

Garry Knight
Reaching out to a grieving person gives them strength.

Grief is a strong and a difficult emotion.   When not handled in a healthy way, it can lead to physical and mental health issues.  With a supportive environment, most people find it easier to deal with grief associated with a traumatizing loss. 

Dr. Julia Letlow, Executive Director of external affairs and strategic communications at the University of Louisiana Monroe, explained that "Grief is a natural reaction to loss."  However, she pointed out that "Grief is a very individualized personal experience. "  Everyone deals with grief in their own personal way.  "There’s no six steps that you get through and you are done." 

Listen to the complete interview of Dr. Julia Letlow.

Letlow described something called “disenfranchised grievers.”   She explained that "those are the people that aren’t always given the support that mainstream grievers are given.  In that category sometimes fall siblings.  Also in that category are the people grieving a loss due to suicide."  She advised that “the need to communicate with them is even ten-fold.  They are not given the same social support that is given to people grieving for someone who died of natural causes. "  She urged people to reach out to those who may not have adequate social support during their time of grief and bereavement.

Anita Sharma Ph.D., LCSW, is a Gerontology and Social Work Educator, Researcher, and Practitioner. She holds an M.A. in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, a prestigious social sciences university in India, a Master of Social Work (clinical practice) and a Doctorate in Social Work from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Louisiana and serves as a pro bono consultant to various agencies.
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