5 steps to managing your grief


Mark had suffered extreme loss – first his father and brother in his early 20s, and then later in life, in a short period, he lost his mother, a second brother, a sister and a daughter.  At an all-time low, Mark was referred to counselling to help him cope, deal with his survivor guilt, and to try and regain a positive outlook on life.

“I’d be way worse if I didn’t go to counselling. I realize that there are a lot of people out there worse than me,” says Mark.

Family Services Windsor Essex (FSWE) is a funded partner of United Way that offers mental health counselling services. Last year, United Way donors helped 2,667 people in Windsor-Essex receive mental health counselling through one-on-one counselling, walk-in clinics, and psychoeducational groups. Thanks to our generous donors, Mark was able to see a counsellor at no cost in Windsor.

Beth Anne Ternovan, FSWE Manager of Counselling and the Employee Assistance Program, shares a few ideas to help people deal with their grief:

  1. Understand that grief is a natural emotional response following a major loss, especially the death of a loved one.
  2. Know that we all deal with grief differently and it needs to take place on our own time line and not to be rushed.
  3. Realize that acute grief may return from time to time, especially during holidays, anniversaries, etc., and this is normal and to be accepted as an opportunity for further processing of meaningful emotions.
  4. Be assured that people can always seek professional counselling to support themselves through their grieving process and there are many resources within our community to enable this healing.

Beth Anne highly recommends learning from Dr. Alan Wolfelt, an expert in the field of grief and bereavement, who says that the grief process is, “the normal, healthy process of embracing the mystery of the death of someone loved. If mourners see themselves as active participants in their healing, they will experience a renewed sense of meaning and purpose in life.” 

Mark would tell others, “to consider counselling and make the decision to do the work by practicing and applying the ideas and suggestions. Keep working at it. It helped me believe in myself again. What have you got to lose by trying?”

THE GOAL of United Way’s Counselling and Supports Strategy: fewer people experience barriers to access counselling and other supports, they have improved mental health, they develop stronger social connections, they know more about support options available to them, and have more capacity to work through challenges.



Show your LOCAL LOVE and get involved with iClimb for United Way. Climb the steps of the WFCU Centre in support of mental health and counselling services in Windsor and Essex County on February 27, 2019.







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United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County
300 Giles Boulevard East, Unit A1
Windsor, Ontario N9A 4C4
t: 519-258-0000 | f: 519-258-2346
Charitable Registration #: 10816 0334 RR0001