Talking to a GP

Grief is a natural response to experiencing a serious loss and not a mental health condition. It will take time to work through feelings of loss after the death of a loved one and that’s quite normal. Talking to family and friends, when you need to, about how you’re feeling and taking care of yourself can help you through this difficult process.

You should think about talking to a GP (or seek professional help), if you’re:

  • feeling very low and struggling to cope with day-to-day life or to take care of yourself
  • finding it hard to go out, return to work or withdrawing from friends and family
  • struggling with a loss that was sudden, traumatic or distressing – such as a death by suicide, accidental death, a homicide, a missing person or the death of a child
  • having difficulties getting enough sleep
  • experiencing distressing memories or flashbacks about what happened
  • feeling ‘stuck’ in an intense state of grieving which is not starting to ease over time (or is getting worse)
  • having difficulty accepting and adjusting to your new situation
  • feeling like you are ‘frozen’ or unable to grieve
  • starting to question if life has meaning

Can antidepressants and sleeping tablets help?

In some situations, a GP may offer antidepressants or tranquilisers to someone who is going through the very difficult early days of a bereavement. They can make you feel calmer and may help to manage feelings of intense distress in the short-term. However, tablets, of course, cannot treat or have any effect on the cause of someone’s grief which is the loss itself.

A GP may also offer sleeping tablets to someone who is struggling to get enough rest following a bereavement but again – taking medication is only a short-term measure. If you are having problems sleeping – explore the MindWell sleep section.

Finding support without a professional referral

You can find a wide range of support for bereavement, that you can access directly, in the MindWell Directory: