The Impact of Grief and Loss on Your Mental Health

Available with English captions and subtitles in Chinese, Hindi, and Spanish.

Grieving is a normal and healthy part of loss. Expression of grief varies by person and can impact thoughts, feeling, and even relationships and sense of identity. However, not all grief is healthy and can impact the rest of the coping process.

At what point is grieving considered unhealthy? How can we navigate periods of loss without getting stuck in grief? And when is the right time to seek help for coping and grief?

Audience Questions

Ipsit Vahia, MD, discusses the healthy components of the grieving process, shares ways for us and our loved ones to strike a balance of coping and grieving, and answers audience questions about when to seek help for grief and loss.

  • What are some of the hallmark symptoms of grief and mourning?
  • Are there differences between “normal” grief and complicated grief?
  • Is there such a thing as a typical healing process after a major loss? What does the process of healing and grieving commonly entail?
  • When should we talk to a doctor about how we’re feeling after a major loss?
  • What kind of disability may be associated with complicated grief?
  • Do you have advice on how to support someone who has lost a loved one to suicide?
  • Is grief a life-long process?
  • What are signs and symptoms that you might be closer to acceptance or that your grief has mostly resolved?
  • Is there anything that would be considered a risk factor for more extreme grief or mourning?
  • How do you help a family member who seems “stuck” in grief and does not want to seek mental health treatment?
  • Do you have any suggestions for treatment for someone who is experiencing grief from the death of a loved one that occurred over a year ago who served as their sole support?
  • Do you have advice around changing traditions around the holidays if you have lost many people you previously celebrated with?
  • Can you discuss loss in the context of estranged relationships?
  • How does spirituality/religiosity impact grief?
  • Are support groups for grief helpful?
  • Do you have advice for supporting kids ages 6-8 through the loss of a parent?
  • As a provider, how can I best support widows and widowers?
  • Do you have advice for dealing with grief about losing your child?
  • What should you do when someone becomes angry or upset when you try to discuss their loss?
  • Do you have recommendations for books or resources for learning about grief?
  • If you experienced loss two days in a row, is it likely that the grief trajectory will be twice as long or difficult?
  • What advice do you have for dealing with the fatigue and loss of interest that can come with losing someone?
  • How can I encourage my family members to help me with my grief if they choose not to talk about the loss?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Dr. Vahia

Ipsit Vahia, MD, is a geriatric psychiatrist, clinician, and researcher. He is the medical director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at McLean Hospital and the McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry. He is also the director of the Technology and Aging Laboratory.

Dr. Vahia serves on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Council on Geriatric Psychiatry and the Geriatric Psychiatry Committee of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Learn more about Dr. Vahia

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