Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Effects of grief

2-minute read

The effects of grief can often resemble depression and some people do go on to develop depression following a significant loss. If you are dealing with a major loss and finding it difficult to cope, see your doctor.


It is common to cry a lot, and feel incredibly sad. Some people never cry at all, but this doesn't mean they are not grieving. There is likely to be initial shock and disbelief as well as a range of feelings, including numbness, a sense of unreality, anger, loneliness or guilt.

Physical health

Grief can be exhausting and this may weaken the immune system, making people prone to colds and illness.

Social life

Some people may isolate themselves after losing a loved one. Some solitude may be necessary for healing, but it's also important to stay connected to others.

Spiritual life

Some people may experience dreams about their loved one, feeling their presence or hearing their voice. People who are grieving often search for meaning and examine their spiritual beliefs.

Post-traumatic growth

Some people find positive experiences following grief and loss, such as a new sense of wisdom, maturity and meaning in life.

Complicated grief and depression

In some people, grief can be prolonged or more intense, and it may interfere with their ability to cope with everyday life. This may be more likely if the loss was particularly traumatic, such as a suicide or death of a child.

For more help and information

If you need someone to talk to, or want to find out more, these organisations can help you:

  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) - call 13 11 14 or chat online
  • beyondblue (24/7 support and advice) - call 1300 22 4636 or chat online
  • Kids Helpline (ages 5-25) - call 1800 55 1800

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2018

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

What is Loss and Grief?

Feelings of loss and grief can occur after losing someone or something that you care about.

Read more on Lifeline website

Grief & Loss - The Trauma and Grief Network (TGN)

When a loved one dies, the grief and feeling of loss can turn your world upside down. Often we feel as though our lives have been uprooted and that we are unable to cope with day to day life. Understanding and supporting children and teens during this time can be difficult. It is important during

Read more on Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) website

Tool kit Coping with sorrow, loss and grief

A self-help resource to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people trying to cope with sorrow, loss and grief

Read more on Lifeline website

Indigenous Parents and Carers: How might trauma, loss and grief affect your bub?

This article contains the following sections: What is trauma? What is loss and grief? How might this affect your children? How can you tell? What can you do? Who can you contact?

Read more on Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) website

Loss and grief

Adjusting to parenthood, postnatal anxiety and depression support

Read more on Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) website

Indigenous - The Trauma and Grief Network (TGN)

Australias First Peoples are resilient and resourceful. We have survived through adversities; some in the past, but many of these adversities are ongoing. There are still issues impacting on how we live today, and they range from issues such as the effects of the stolen generations, to other business, and the breadth of things in

Read more on Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) website

Supporting your child through Grief and Loss

Both adults and children are likely to experience a range of feelings after the loss of someone special, including sadness, fear, anxiety, confusion, disbelief, guilt and anger.

Read more on Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) website

Coping with grief TINO : Tune In Not Out

When someone close to you dies it may seem like everything has been turned upside down. You may feel shock, disbelief, numbness, sadness, anger...

Read more on Tune In Not Out website

Disasters - The Trauma and Grief Network (TGN)

Australia is a country all too familiar with natural disasters and the devastating effects they have on the environment and surrounding communities. As a nation, the impact they have on us and our families can be as traumatic and unsettling as the disasters themselves. To help you and your family cope in the event of

Read more on Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) website

Trauma - The Trauma and Grief Network (TGN)

Children sometimes have experiences which may have lasting effects on wellbeing. Trauma can occur during the experience but can also take a while to show. Children who have experienced trauma may have varying reactions which may show in mood, behaviour and learning difficulties. It is important to recognise and get help for these things early

Read more on Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo