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

Last reviewed: February 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Loss and grief

Loss and grief is a normal aspect of pregnancy yet it is not often talked about. Holding a sense of loss and grief alongside joy can feel confusing.

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

Understanding grief and suicide

Understanding grief and suicide. Grief in response to a suicide can be particularly intense and difficult. It can raise many questions for family and friends.

Read more on beyondblue website

Bereavement, Grief and Loss

Bereavement, Grief and Loss

Read more on CareSearch website

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 and Loss

Everyone’s experience of grief or loss is unique. You might experience all kinds of difficult and at times overwhelming emotions, and you might sometimes wonder if the sadness will ever end. This is a normal reaction to loss.

Read more on beyondblue website

Suicide and grief

Grief in response to a suicide can be particularly intense and difficult. It can raise many questions for family and friends.

Read more on beyondblue website

Grief and Sadness

People are often quite shocked in the weeks following the death of a loved one. Coping with grief and loss often requires a substantial emotional and physical effort and can sometimes be overwhelming.

Read more on CareSearch website

Grief and loss

While the signs and symptoms of grief and loss are similar to depression, its important to recognise the differences so people can receive the most appropriate help.

Read more on beyondblue website

Grief and Loss Resources

There are differences in the ways in which people grieve. There are also differences in the circumstances surrounding grief. Sometimes information tailored to specific situations may be helpful.

Read more on CareSearch 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

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