Prolonged grief

Some people continue to find life very difficult following bereavement. They are still overwhelmed by their feelings many months and sometimes years after their relative or friend has died. They may find it difficult or impossible to return to work or socialise with friends. Some people find it hard to even get out of bed in the morning. They may stop washing and taking care of their appearance, and not eat properly. Some people may start to comfort eat or drink a lot of alcohol. Others may have suicidal thoughts.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. And there is no set period of time to grieve for. But if you continue to be overwhelmed by your feelings in some of the ways described in this information, it is important to discuss how you are feeling with your GP or other health or social care professional, so you can get the right help and support.

They will talk with you about how you are feeling and may suggest some extra support for you. This may include:

  • referring you to a bereavement support group
  • referring you to a bereavement counsellor, psychologist or psychotherapist
  • prescribing you medication to help with the way you are feeling.

Back to Coping with bereavement


Grief is a word for how we may feel after the death of someone close to us.

How grief can affect you

You may have many different emotional and physical symptoms after your relative or friend has died.

Your feelings

People describe having many different feelings after someone close to them has died.

Starting to move on

While life will change, most people find that they begin to adjust as time passes.