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Hello Idaho: How to talk about grief and loss

Grief is natural when going through a loss, and the process can vary from person to person.

BOISE, Idaho — Grief is the natural path of healing when we lose a family member, friend, a family pet, or experience drastic change in our lives.

“When someone experiences the loss of a loved one they will experience different degrees of emotion,” said Darren Bushee field coordinator for Optum Idaho. “They can experience sadness, frustration, or even sometimes anger. Some physical reactions to look for is someone being lethargic, being nauseated easily, loss of appetite, or even sleep.”

The amount of time somebody grieves varies from person to person.

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“Grief lasts as long as it takes you to accept and learn to live with these changes in your life,” Bushee said. “For some, it can be a month or so, and for others, it can be over a year, but typically it’s different for each individual.”

Some healthy ways to deal with grief include talking to friends and family, physical exercise, monitoring our diets, adopting old routines, and doing things that make us happy.

Grief is much harder to deal with for children, but there are some things parents or guardians can do to help them process their feelings, and accept their loss.

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“There are things we can do to help kids through this process of grief,” Bushee said. “The first one is to help them engage in dialogue and communication about grief and their expression thereof if they’re feeling sadness and whatnot. Second to that, we can prompt them back into their routines. We also want to encourage play and laughter – those elements are very intuitive for children. Lastly, what we can do as parents is monitor their rest.”

If you or someone you know is seeking professional help with a mental health issue, call the Optum Member Access and Crisis Line at 855-202-0973, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week or call the Idaho Careline at 2-1-1.

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