After the loss of a loved one, grief does not need to be debilitating. Grief also doesn’t need to be a journey you need to travel alone. It can often be helpful to have a safe supportive space to process the impact of the loss and enable you to find your way again.
Many Australians will have family and friends who can provide care, support and understanding during difficult times like after the death of a loved one. However, sometimes it may also be helpful to talk to someone else such as a grief counsellor or member of a local support group.
You should seek professional grief support after a loss if you have not been able to get back to a normal routine, such as going back to work or caring for your children.
Below is a list of some of the organisations that may offer bereavement support, crisis support, counselling, and legal services. Some of these support services are available in your own community, by telephone, internet or face-to-face.
If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, call 000. Call 13 11 14 for Lifeline’s Crisis Counselling service or 1300 224 636 for BeyondBlue.
Bereavement and support services across Australia.
- Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement offers bereavement counselling and support services: 1800 642 066. They also have a MyGrief online support resource app that you can download.
- GriefLine Community and Family Services listens, cares and supports people experiencing loss and grief, at any stage in life (12 noon to 3am, 7 days). Phone: 1300 845 745. Online counselling is also available.
- Grieflink is a website that is another great resource of information.
- For more immediate help, call Lifeline crisis support and suicide prevention services: 13 11 14 (24 hours, 7 days).
- BeyondBlue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live. Phone: 1300 224 636
- Palliative Care Australia Phone: (02) 6232 4433
- StandBy Support assists anyone who has been impacted by suicide at any stage in their life including: individuals; families and friends; witnesses; schools; workplaces and community groups; and frontline responders and service providers. Phone: 1300 727 247.
- Mensline offers support information and referral for men with family, relationship or other concerns. Phone: 1300 789 978
- 13 HEALTH phone advice and referral information about health concerns, including counselling services. Phone: 13 HEALTH or 13 43 25 84 (24 hours, 7 days)
- Kids Helpline telephone counselling: 1800 551 800 (24 hours, 7 days)
- SANDS – support for miscarriage and pregnancy loss, stillbirth and infant death. Phone: 1300 072 637
- Sids And Kids assists families who have experienced the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child, during birth, pregnancy or infancy, regardless of the cause. Phone: 1300 308 307
- 1800 RESPECT is the national 24/7 sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing violence, their friends and family, colleagues and employers. Phone: 1800 737 732
- QLife supports LGBTQI and other sexuality, sex and gender diverse people (3pm to 12am, 7 days). Phone: 1800 184 527
- National Indigenous Critical Response Service (NICRS) provides culturally responsive emotional and practical support to bereaved families and individuals impacted by suicide or other traumatic loss. Phone: 1800 805 801 (free call) or mobile 0499 333 132
- Thirrili is a non-profit organisation supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. Phone: (03) 8578 1410 or Critical Response Service: 1800 805 801 (available 24/7)
Your hospital social worker, community health centre social worker, GP or local church pastoral carer should also be able to refer you to other local counselling services and support groups in your area.
Grief support services in Victoria.
- The Compassionate Friends Victoria offers bereavement support for parents and siblings. Phone: (03) 9888 4944 or 1300 064 068
- National Association for Loss and Grief Victoria Phone: (03) 9650 3000 or 1800 100 023
- Palliative Care Victoria. Phone: (03) 9662 9644
- Mercy Grief Services for people living in the western region of Melbourne. Phone: (03) 9313 5700
- Hope Bereavement Care for people living in the Barwon region: (03) 4215 3358
- SuicideLine Victoria for counselling, crisis intervention, information and referral (24 hours, 7 days). Phone: 1300 651 251
- Victorian Victims of Crime Helpline Phone: 1800 819 817
- Road Trauma Support Services Victoria Phone: (03) 8877 6900 or 1300 367 797
Grief support services in NSW.
- National Association for Loss and Grief (NALG) is NSW’s leading provider of support and education for communities, families and individuals impacted by loss, grief and trauma. Phone: (02) 6882 9222
- Palliative Care Association NSW Phone: 0403 699 491
- NSW Mental Health Line‘s health professionals can speak to you about mental health concerns of yourself or someone you are concerned about, including children, teens, adults and older people. Phone: 1800 011 511
- NSW Victims Support Service Approved Counselling Service provides free individual counselling to people who have become victims of violent crime. Phone: 1800 633 063 or the Domestic Violence line (24 hours): 1800 65 64 63
- Bereavement Care Centre provides comprehensive and accessible counselling and support services for the terminally ill and their families, and for those recently bereaved. Phone: 1300 654 556
Grief support services in ACT.
- Canberra Grief Centre specialises in the provision of services to support grief, bereavement and trauma associated with a loss. Phone Sonia Fenwick on 0409 966 515, or book an appointment online.
- National Association for Loss and Grief ACT. Phone: (02) 6292 6847
- ACT Palliative Care Society. Phone (02) 6273 9606
Grief support services in Queensland.
- Salvocareline Phone crisis counselling for issues including bereavement. Phone: 1300 363 622
- The Compassionate Friends provide support to families grieving the death of a child of any age, from any cause. Face-to-face or telephone support is available at many locations across Queensland. Phone: (07) 3254 2657
- Palliative Care Queensland. Phone: (07) 3633 0096
- Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group provides support services to people affected by the death of a loved one by homicide. Phone: 1800 774 744
- Victim Assist Queensland provides information on support services and financial assistance for victims of crime, including domestic violence and sexual assault. Phone: 1300 546 587
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing Services provides support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who may be experiencing vulnerability across Queensland. Visit the website for details on contacting your local service provider.
Grief support services in Western Australia.
- The Grief Centre of Western Australia provides understanding, support and recovery to people experiencing grief through support groups and counselling. Phone: 0404 658 052
- Palliative Care WA Phone: (08) 9212 4330
- Victims of Crime Western Australia provides information and support for victims of crime and their families, friends and/or colleagues.
- Crisis Care helpline is a telephone information and counselling service for people in crisis needing urgent help in Western Australia (24 hours, 7 days) . Phone: (08) 9223 1111 or 1800 199 008 (country free call)
- Mental Health Emergencies support for anyone involved in a mental health emergency in the community – including individuals, families/carers, member of the general public or health professionals. Freecall: 1300 555 788
- Drug and Alcohol Office provides non-judgemental telephone, counselling, information, referral and support lines for alcohol and drug use. (24 hours, 7 days). Phone: (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024
Grief support services Tasmania.
- The Trauma and Grief Network website connects families, carers and members of the community to resources focused on the care of children and adolescents affected by the impact of trauma, loss and grief.
- Tasmanian Association for Hospice and Palliative Care. Phone: (03) 6234 7577
- Hospital grief and loss counsellors: South (Royal Hobart Hospital) Phone: (03) 6166 8344, and North (Launceston General Hospital) Phone: (03) 6777 6245
- Relationships Australia Tasmania offers confidential counselling for individuals, couples and families who are seeking improved relationships, or resolution of relationship or other personal difficulties. Phone: 1300 364 277
- Victims of Crime Service provides personal support and counselling to victims of crime. Hobart: (03) 6165 7524; Launceston: (03) 6777 2939; Burnie: (03) 6477 7133
- Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre Inc provides support services for Aboriginal Australians. Phone: 1800 132 260
- The Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania provides services to meet the needs of migrants, humanitarian entrants and refugees living in Tasmania. Phone: (03) 6221 0999
Grief support services in Northern Territory.
- Relationships Australia NT counselling services. Phone: 1300 364 277
- Palliative Care Northern Territory. Phone: (08) 8922 6769
- Anglicare NT has qualified counsellors who work with families, couples and individuals to explore solutions to personal and relationship problems and other challenges. Phone: (08) 8985 0000
- Northern Territory Mental Health Line: 1800 682 288
- Mental Health Association of Central Australia. Phone: (08) 8950 4600
- NT Standby Response is a community-based, postvention program that provides a 24 hour coordinated response offering support and assistance for Northern Territory people who have been bereaved by suicide recently or in the past. Phone: 0418 575 680
General advice on coping with grief.
Grief can be overwhelming and debilitating, and is an extremely personal experience. Here is some general advice for you and your grief journey.
- Allow yourself time to grieve and take time out if needed. You have permission to grieve.
- Understand that grief plays out differently in people and so be aware of how your mind, body and emotions are reacting to your situation.
- If you feel you are struggling with grief more than expected, speak to your GP. They can assist you with strategies for coping and referrals.
Remember the most important things in the first few weeks after your loved one has passed:
- Do not feel rushed or pressured into making decisions. There is no rush. Make the right decisions for you, your family, your loved one and your financial situation.
- Do not feel you have to do everything alone. Call out for help from family, friends or even professionals.
- Above all – look after yourself, and be kind to yourself. Ensure you are sleeping, eating, taking time out for yourself and taking care of your emotional health. But it's also not worth beating yourself up about it if you're not doing all of these things. Take it one day at a time, and be proud of every small step you take.
After the loss of a loved one, grief doesn’t need to be a journey you travel alone.
More grief support resources are available on our Grief Support page, including a series of videos and articles. You can also book a 45-minute chat with our grief expert Claire Hoffman, a Certified Compassionate Bereavement Care provider.