As part of our job, and in our personal lives, there has been transition, loss, and grief, particularly over the last year. Surges in the pandemic have highlighted the losses we have experienced, whether you have experienced the death of a loved one, death of a patient, loss of usual job duties, loss of customary routines or loss of normalcy. The racial injustices and tragedies that have been occurring across the nation have also been sources of loss and grief. Having an emotional response to grief and loss is normal, and can range from numbing to anger to sadness to isolation, or even include, “I am too busy to feel things right now”. Grief can be unexpected and unpredictable as everyone experiences loss differently. How you cope with loss and grief is individual and may vary day to day. Each day allows us to work towards healing.
During this challenging time, one of the best resources we have is the support of our coworkers, family and friends. Connection to others allow us to process and express our sadness, while also focusing on the present and things we can grow and change. Each person has the opportunity to be a person who provides non-judgmental listening and support, and to share their own experiences, as they feel comfortable. In many ways, our co-workers, experiencing the pandemic in a health services setting, are some of the people most likely to understand some of our losses
There are also general coping strategies that may help you process feelings of loss or grief:
- Be present with your feelings, at your own pace. Options can include looking at pictures or memorabilia, listening to music that reminds you of
- Process feelings: Talk about and label your feelings, write your emotions down/journal
- Be social and connected OR take time for yourself; chose the connections that you need.
- Self-care: Ask yourself what do you need today? Do things that feel good, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
- Take a break: Distracting and occupying your mind may be helpful when things feel overwhelming
The Department of Mental Health Services (DMH) has a website with an extensive list of grief and bereavement support resources, including handouts, support phone lines, and grief support groups:
A local organization that provides support for those who are grieving, with grief support groups for children and adults is Our House. Grief support resources have moved online due to COVID-19, and Spanish speaking support groups are available. For more information, please go to website: https://www.ourhouse-grief.org/groups-at-our-centers/
Online resource that provides specific grief groups related to COVID: https://griefsupportonline.com
If you, or someone you care about, is feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, please call: 911;
Suicide Prevention Line (24/7) 1-800-273-TALK (8255);
Crisis Text Line (24 hours)Text 741-741 from anywhere in the US;
Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center 310-391-1253.
DMH Wellbeing Line for County Employees: 833-307-0509