Watch for the warning signs
It’s common for a grieving person to feel depressed, confused, disconnected from others, or they think they are going crazy. But if a bereaved person’s symptoms do not gradually start to fade – or they get worse with time – this may be a sign that normal grief has evolved into a more serious problem, such as clinical depression.
Encourage the grieving person to seek professional help if you observe any of the following warning signs after the initial grieving period – especially if it’s been over two months since the death.
- Difficulty functioning in daily life
- Extreme focus on the death
- Excessive bitterness, anger or guilt
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Inability to enjoy life
- Withdrawing from others
- Constant feelings of hopelessness
- Talking about dying or suicide
It can be tricky to bring up your concerns to a bereaved person. You don’t want to be perceived as invasive. Instead of telling the person what to do, try to state your own feelings: “I am troubled by the fact that your are not sleeping – what can we do about that?”