Being Grief-Informed: From Understanding to Action

Grief is a natural response to loss. How people grieve privately or publicly varies and is based on many factors, including their personality and what their social context has shown, taught, or demonstrated as “appropriate.” A dominant attitude in “mainstream” society is that grief is an individual emotional experience which has predictable stages and a defined timeline. Defining grief this way suggests that if your “symptoms” last too long, or are too intense, you may have a “mental disorder” needing treatment. And this is problematic.

Everyone responds to grief in a unique way and grief can last a lifetime…and that is completely normal. This doesn’t mean grieving is easy or that people won’t experience emotional, physical, spiritual, and/or relational challenges. Rather than label people “disordered” or “dysfunctional,” we need to understand the holistic nature of grief. To be grief-informed not only means having knowledge about grief, it also means knowing how to put this understanding into action. Download the Tip Sheet

Being Grief Informed Principles

10 Core Principles of Being Grief-Informed

What does it mean to be Grief-Informed?

Here are the 10 Core Principles

Call to action image

Call to Action

While knowledge of the ten core principles is a critical first step to becoming grief-informed, we must recognize that knowledge is most impactful when it is put into action. It is time that we as a nation take a stand and acknowledge grief for what it truly is: a natural and normal response to loss that is interwoven into a sociocultural context. Grief is not an experience that needs to be “silenced,” “treated,” or “pathologized.” Grief, and all the many complications it imposes on the griever, is an experience that needs and deserves understanding, support, and community.

Here's what you can do

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Join the Movement

Raise awareness of this critical issue and help others Understand Grief.

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Find out more about Being Grief-Informed and the dangers of Pathologizing Grief at these upcoming Dougy Center webinars
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Additional Resources

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Watch this conversation about being grief-informed.

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