Support services for the bereaved

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The emotional stress brought on by the loss of a loved one is hard hitting. The trauma can leave family members and friends feeling overwhelmed, and make moving forward seem like an impossible task.

In times of uncertainty and shock, it's important to know where to seek the right help and advice to cope with grief.

Seeking help and advice is often the best approach to coping with the loss of a loved one. A strong support network may minimise the risk of poor health.

Where can I find help?

A strong support network of family and friends can help prevent the onset of poor health that may arise as a consequence of bereavement and lossi. However, some people may find professional counselling and support services more beneficial to their needs. Talking to or seeking help from a GP, trained counsellor, or seeking help from the local community centre is advisable.

In Australia, there are a number of government and non-government groups that provide professional grief support services to those coping with the loss of a loved one.

Department of Human Services: The principle government agency responsible for welfare and public aid services is the Department of Human Services (DHS). In addition to financial assistance-including bereavement allowances, widow allowances, and orphan pensions -the DHS offer social work services in the form of confidential counselling as well as community support programs. These support services are available to people of all ages and are not restricted to those dealing with loss and bereavement. Visit the website for more information on the types of payments and services available.

Non-government groups

Australian Centre for Grief & Bereavement: As the largest provider of grief and bereavement education in Australia, the Australian Centre for Grief & Bereavement provides a wide range of educational resources to help individuals better understand and cope with their loss. Although face-to-face and telephone services are only available in Victoria, the centre offers access to online resources, such as brochures and fact sheets, where you will find advice and strategies for helping grieving children, adolescents and adults. They also have a number of grief and bereavement books and DVDs available for purchase on their website.

There are a number of government and not-for-profit organisations in Australia who provide support services to help cope with grief.

Adjusting to life after loss

The death of someone close can be a painful experience. But with the right support - whether from family and friends, or caring professionals - the grieving process can be made more bearable. At Allianz, we understand that in a time of grief, dealing with financial matters can be a burden further source of concern. Life insurance is one way to ease the financial stress at an already difficult time, by providing your family with the financial means to take care of funeral costs and other living expenses when you are no longer able to do so.

i Better Health Channel, 2013, Grief – Support Services, State Government Victoria,