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Living with Life’s Losses: A resource for people who have experienced a loss and are grieving and those who support them

The Living with Life’s Losses material is provided as an introduction to loss and grief for those people who are grieving and all those family members, friends, work colleagues, carers and clinicians (GP’s, nurses, counsellors, therapists, social workers, case managers and service providers) who provide care and support to those who have experienced a loss and are grieving.

This material has been put together to provide some information and ideas about appropriately responding to grief. The material is intended to provide an introduction to loss and grief. For those who seek further information links to other resource material are provided.

Loss and Grief

As well as bereavement, loss comes in many forms including relationship breakdown, unemployment, chronic illness, homelessness, incarceration, ageing or a loss that results from a traumatic event.

Following a loss it is normal to experience a period of grieving and transition where the loss is integrated into the person's life. When healthy grieving occurs people are able to achieve personal wellbeing and resume their normal life. In contrast, a failure to effectively grieve can result in diminished wellbeing and ongoing disruption to life. Grieving is a complex process and someone's capacity to grieve is influenced by the nature of the loss, their personal resilience and the context of the loss.

Grieving is a deeply personal and painful experience, but the support and understanding provided by families, friends and workmates can be helpful. However, specialist support may be required when grieving persists and becomes complicated. The experience of loss and grieving can be especially difficult for someone who is socially isolated or who is experiencing other significant difficulties in their life.

In the health and community service sectors clients present with many challenging issues that require specialist support and interventions. Experience has shown that when client's are dealing with issues of loss, identifying and responding to a client's grieving can assist in attending to their other needs.  Experience has also shown that loss and grief work is demanding on those who are providing support and it is important for them to exercise self care.

New Resources

With the support of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, NALAG has developed a package of loss and grief resources for consumers, volunteers, carers, clinicians and other stakeholders in the health and community service sectors. The material covers:

•  Recognising loss and grief. •  The health implications of loss and grief (physical and psychological). •  Tips for managing loss and grief in everyday life. •  How to support people who have experienced a loss and are grieving. •   Looking after yourself when providing loss and grief support. •  When additional support is required