The 7 Best Online Grief Support Groups of 2020

Find a community that helps with loss

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Grieving.com

"They’re one of the oldest support communities on the internet, and they support over a quarter of a million people."

Best Live Chat: Grief in Common

"Their site offers a live chat room that allows users to connect with others any time they would like."

Best for Young People: Hope Again

"Users might find that reading other people’s stories or watching their videos help them feel less alone."

Best Social Media Group: Grief Anonymous

"Avid Facebook users might enjoy this option best, since connecting with others won’t require users to join an additional website."

Best for Specific Grief: Online Grief Support

"Users can interact in the general discussion forum, or they can join groups for people who have experienced specific types of losses."

Best for Email Support: GriefNet

"The site has over 50 email support groups, offering grief support for both adults and children."

Best Monitored Discussion Group: Grief Healing

"They report that their discussion groups are closely monitored and moderated by the owner to ensure quality, safety, and security."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Grieving.com

Grieving.com

Grieving.com

Founded in 1997, Grieving.com is one of the oldest grief support communities on the internet, helping a quarter of a million people in more than 100 countries. 

Grieving.com is a judgment-free zone that focuses on helping people who have gone through loss connect with others who understand what they’re going through. They provide a variety of forums, ranging from generic loss discussions to more specific issues, such as the loss of a parent.

The site offers forums where members can read and post messages at any time of day or night. While there are moderators on the site, the group is not run by a mental health professional. In addition to forums, the site also features “circles,” where members can connect on very specific topics. One such circle is called “Death Row Families.”

Discussion posts are open to the public. However, individuals can only see 15 pages of content prior to becoming a member. Once users hit the page limit, pages are blocked until they have signed up for the service.

Members can also send private messages to one another, which can be helpful to individuals who aren’t comfortable sharing their stories publicly or can help individuals with shared experiences connect privately. 

Grieving.com also offers a marketplace where they share products and services that can help with healing. Their website states that everyone is welcome to join their forums.

Grieving.com is free for its members and relies on donations to help keep it that way. The site suggests a donation of just a dollar or two per person so that they can continue their mission to keep their grieving communities connected.

Best Live Chat: Grief in Common

Grief in Common

Grief in Common

Grief in Common aims to provide people with a place to feel validated and understood as they talk about their experience with loss. The site can match people with individuals who have experienced similar losses, so individuals can connect with them privately. 

To sign up, create a profile that outlines the circumstances surrounding your loss. Then, join a chat room to search for people who have undergone similar experiences.

Grief in Common offers a live chat room that allows users to connect with others any time they would like. The fee to participate is around $1 a month or about $10 a year. They report that their fee covers the cost of hosting the site and eliminates the need for ads.

Individuals who would prefer to chat with someone in real-time, as opposed to leaving a message on a forum, may appreciate this website’s chat room function.

Chat room conversations are open to anyone who becomes a member. Users can obtain a 15-minute phone call for free, or sign up for paid grief coaching services. The site offers grief coaching over the phone. Just to be clear, a grief coach isn't necessarily a licensed mental health professional, but they usually do have a background in working with people who are struggling with loss-related issues.

Best for Young People: Hope Again

Hope Again

Hope Again

Hope Again isn’t an ongoing grief group, but it is a way for people to read others' stories and share their own. Users can share any information they want regarding the loss they've gone through, how they are handling it, what they've learned, or how they're struggling.

It offers resources for parents or adults who are trying to support a young person who is grieving. Their site features educational tools and resources about grief so that adults can better understand how young people process loss. 

The website caters mostly to teens and young adults. They often share stories about losing a parent or sibling, but are welcome to discuss any loss they’ve experienced.

The site offers user generated video blogs, or vlogs. Site users can watch videos of people sharing how they coped when someone they love died. People can also contribute by creating their own vlogs. Videos will become public to anyone using the internet. 

Users might find that reading other people’s stories or watching their videos help them feel less alone in their grief. And they might find that sharing their own story helps them heal as well.

Best Social Media Group: Grief Anonymous

Grief Anonymous

Grief Anonymous

Grief Anonymous provides access to Facebook groups that allow users to connect with other people and talk about their experiences day or night. Their original group, the Grief Anonymous Family Group, has over 7,000 members and allows people to talk about all types of grief.

With more than 30,000 members, Grief Anonymous has clear rules about engagement to ensure that members are supported in their efforts to heal. They also offer more than 20 specific grief-related groups. 

Avid Facebook users might enjoy this option best, since connecting with others won’t require users to join an additional website. Instead, they can incorporate it into their regular social media use.

Just keep in mind that most Facebook groups can be joined by anyone and the information shared can be read by anyone in the group. And, while the groups are moderated, it's unlikely that they are moderated by licensed mental health professionals. 

At the same time, Grief Anonymous also offers the option to facilitate live meetings. Individuals and organizations who prefer to meet face-to-face can search for local groups in their community or start one of their own.

Best for Specific Grief: Online Grief Support

Online Grief Support

Online Grief Support

Online Grief Support offers a variety of online forums. Users can interact in the general discussion group, or they can join communities for people who have experienced specific types of grief, such as the loss of a spouse, someone to cancer, a parent, or sudden loss. 

The website offers many helpful links and resources, as well. There is information on obtaining grief counseling, an online bookstore with recommended reading, and an online “healing center” with helpful product suggestions.

Joining a grief specific group may be helpful to individuals who want to connect with people who understand their experiences best. 

With more than 14,000 members, Online Grief Support’s community guidelines are clear that they do not tolerate spam. But, it's important to note that the conversations in the forum are open to the public. They recommend that users use nicknames as opposed to their real names when chatting.

Best for Email Support: GriefNet

GriefNet

GriefNet

GriefNet offers support via email messages, rather than a website or forum. The site has over 50 email support groups, offering grief support for both adults and children. 

Everyone on the email chain can reply to other subscribers. So, they will be able to communicate with other members once their subscription is confirmed. 

The site offers support groups for the following types of grief: loss of a spouse or partner, widowed with kids, widowed young, loss of a child, child who died in an accident, kids-to-kids, k2k-teens, and more. Joining and replying to emails means individuals' information will be shared with anyone who has subscribed to the grief group.

GriefNet is directed by a clinical psychologist and a certified traumatologist and is supported by volunteers. They request donations of around $10 a month for each group that they subscribe to. However, if users are unable to pay, they may explain that when they sign up for services.

Best Monitored Discussion Group: Grief Healing

Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Grief Healing Discussion Groups

With a variety of grief-related articles and resources, Grief Healing is a great resource that provides access to discussion groups. Their communities offer opportunities for users to share stories and connect with others who understand loss. 

The site reports that their discussion groups are closely monitored and moderated by the owner to ensure quality, safety, and security for all participants. Every post is read by the site's monitors; two nationally certified grief counselors, according to founder Marty Tousley, who is also a grief counselor. 

It's important to note that the discussion forums are open to the public. Any comments users leave can be read by anyone on the internet. Therefore, they may want users to choose a nickname, as opposed to their real name.

Talking to others in a moderated forum may give people some peace of mind, knowing that bullying or spam won’t be tolerated by the moderators. They may feel safer expressing themselves when they know a grief counselor will be reading each message.

Membership is free. But Grief Healing does ask users to consider making a donation, so the site can continue to operate free of charge.

How we chose the best online grief support groups

We assessed some of the most popular online grief support groups and discussion forums. We looked for communities that were active, offered a variety of resources, and supported their members. 

We chose the forums that appear to be moderated in a way that prevents members from being bullied or exposed to spam. We also selected groups that offered a variety of different forums, so that members could connect with individuals who might be able to relate to their specific issues surrounding loss. We wanted to provide a list of groups that could meet a variety of grief-related needs. 

How are online support groups different from in-person groups?

Most in-person support groups meet on a regular schedule, maybe once a week or once a month. All the members meet for an hour or two (on average) to talk about how they’re doing and to share resources that they find helpful. Online support groups usually allow members to communicate electronically at any time via forums or chats.

How do discussion forums work?

Many online support groups consist of forums. Members can read other people’s messages at times, and they can write their own messages on a community board for others to read and respond to.

Who should attend a grief support group?

Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one may find a grief support group helpful. Some communities offer specific forums or opportunities for those who have lost a pet. Others address specific issues, like anticipatory grief, for instance, which helps individuals who are dealing with a pending death. 

How do I know which website is best for me?

Individuals should consider their preferred method of communication. Are emails ideal, or would a forum be better? Also, consider whether a large or small community is ideal. It really depends on how well people might want to get to know other members.

Finally, people should think about whether they want to join a general forum for those who have experienced loss, or if they would prefer a more focused discussion with others who can relate to the specific issues they're dealing with. 

Does it cost anything to join a grief group?

Most groups are free. Some of them charge a small fee that helps them maintain their operating costs.

When should I see a mental health professional?

If grief is taking a toll on a person's ability to function, then they should talk to their physician, or contact a mental health professional. For example, if they're missing work, unable to sleep, or feeling depressed, therapy might be necessary. While a grief support group might be very helpful, there might also be cases where they need to talk to a professional as well.

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