While grief itself is as unique as the person feeling it, to feel supported and understood whilst feeling these intense emotions can be invaluable. The rise of online death communities means more people than ever can connect to and share with a global community who may understand what they’re experiencing. With this in mind, we wanted to highlight some of the different online tools available to anyone grieving.
Unfortunately, the internet isn’t always the kindest or most truthful place (even around a topic like death), so we’ve also added some words of warning to each one. This isn’t mean to deter or scare anyone from using the below services – but to give some food for thought and to remind everyone to stay vigilant out there.
Online Death Forums
There are a huge number of forums out there, from larger ones like Grief in Common and Online Grief Support to smaller much more niche options. They are free online communities that allow people to connect with each other online rather than being tied to a specific physical location. These could include specific websites or through social media platforms like Facebook groups.
Some of the most established we’ve used include:
Grief in common: https://www.griefincommon.com/ – this site allows you to create a profile and connect with other people experiencing grief. There are also loads of other resources for you to use.
Online Grief support: http://www.onlinegriefsupport.com/ this is a large forum used by people all over the world. Their purpose is to provide a safe space for people to talk about their feeling regardless of faith or race.
Bereavement UK Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1566851883557388/ this is a closed Facebook group that allows you to share stories and connect with people in the UK.
These forums allow you to quickly connect with people, to share your stories and to hear theirs. It can provide a space to share the most difficult of thoughts and to feel like you have a support system in place for when you need it most.
A lot of these forums are user-moderated. This means that just like in the outside world – you can end up dealing with some not so nice people. They can range from unhelpful to all-out bullies, and this can cause a drain on your emotional wellbeing – at a time when it’s already vulnerable.
Vlogs and blogs
Vlogs (video-logs) and blogs are content that’s updated regularly, and they usually focus on one person’s story over a period of time.
A great blog is called let’s talk about loss: https://letstalkaboutloss.org/blog/, in which they have guest posters talking about their personal experience with grief.
Another powerful, very personal blog is Chasing Dragonflies: https://chasingdragonfliesblog.com/about/ which follows a mother’s journey with grief following the death of her daughter.
There are many benefits to both creating or consuming Vlogs and blogs. Creating one yourself can become like an online diary, allowing you to write or talk through your feelings. Watching or reading someone else’s can help you to understand your own emotions and to feel a little less alone in what you’re going through.
If you decide to start creating your own blog, it can sometimes become a source of anxiety if lots of people start following what you’re putting out there. You may be adding extra pressure to yourself to have to create content at a time when it’s best to be kind to yourself. Getting involved in another person’s journey can also take it’s toll emotionally, you may start to feel invested in their journey and spend time and effort focusing on them instead of yourself.
Nowadays, finding support to help with grieving can be as simple as clicking a button. Many therapists now offer sessions by Skype, there are thousands of courses you can complete and e-books you can read.
Being able to access information at home can be the difference between some people getting support and not. If transport is an issue then having these available for you at home is invaluable. You may also find online services can be cheaper than standard therapy sessions so if money’s tight it can be a better option.
Most of what ends up on the internet isn’t properly policed, and this extends to this area too. People don’t need any formal qualifications to sell workshops and ebooks online and this can cause real damage to people, especially given the vulnerable state they’re in. A lot of what is offered online is ‘quick-fixes’ and grieving doesn’t work like that. Be wary of anything that makes huge promises or looks too good to be true, because it probably is.
The best way to find online support is to go through more established resources first, such as your GP or through specific websites like Cruse: https://www.cruse.org.uk.
Being able to access communities and resources from home is a fantastic thing, and we wholeheartedly support any ways to help those going through difficult times. But, we can’t ignore the darker side of the internet either. Please do use all of the above as and when you need it – but please be careful out there, try not to set your expectations of any of the services too high and always seek out health professionals if you are really struggling.