Best Online Grief Support Groups

Find a community that helps with loss

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While grief can impact individuals in different ways, connecting with others to share stories, experiences, and offers and receive support can help with the grieving process. Online support groups, most of which offer interaction through forums, message boards, chat, or even in-person gatherings and events, can offer a safe, supportive space to learn coping skills and find community.

These grief support groups are not a substitute for professional care for depression, which may share similar symptoms of grief. With depression, getting a diagnosis and seeking treatment from a doctor and/or therapist is essential and can be life-saving. But talking through grief with those going through similar situations can help you get on the path toward healing.

The 7 Best Online Grief Support Groups of 2021

Best Overall : Grieving.com


Grieving.com

Grieving.com

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Forums, chat, journals, resources

Why We Chose It: One of the first and biggest online support groups, Grieving.com has a variety of forums so participants can connect and share experiences.

Pros
  • Big community

  • Support and communities for different types of loss

  • Private messages

Cons
  • Membership registration required

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

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free, but live-chat participation is about $10 per year
  • Structure: Forums, groups and coaching, live chat, blog and resources

Why We Chose It: With Grief in Common, members can connect with others privately with a live chat.

Pros
  • User-friendly interface

  • Ability to browse profiles

  • Live chat available

Cons
  • Additional fee for live-chat participation

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

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Zoom or phone counseling, advice and resources

Why We Chose It: Hope Again offers online support, advice, and support especially for young people aged 12-25 who have lost loved ones.

Pros
  • Video resources available

  • One-on-one counseling available

  • Personal stories

Cons
  • Message board not functioning

Hope Again isn’t an ongoing grief group, but it is a way for young 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

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Facebook group

Why We Chose It: Grief Anonymous offers 24/7 online support that caters to members for all types of grief.

Pros
  • Open to individuals who need support for different types of grief

  • Big community

  • 24/7 support

Cons
  • Facebook account required

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 almost 9,000 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

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free
  • Structure: Forum, groups, chat, blogs and journals

Why We Chose It: Online Grief Support lets you easily connect with others who have experienced specific types of grief through online forums.

Pros
  • Big community

  • Offers support for specific types of grief

  • User-friendly interface

Cons
  • Conversations are open to public

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

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Recommended donation of $10 per month
  • Structure: Email (library of resources available at website)

Why We Chose It: Directed by a clinical psychologist and a certified traumatologist, GriefNet offers support through email.

Pros
  • Over 50 email support groups

  • No need to create an additional account with a site

  • Founded and directed by psychologist

Cons
  • Joining means email information will be shared with other subscribers

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

Key Specs

  • Membership fee: Free, but donations are recommended
  • Structure: Forums and discussion groups

Why We Chose It: Grief Healing provides online support in a safe space—discussion groups are closely moderated to ensure quality, safety, and security for all participants.

Pros
  • Discussions monitored by certified grief counselors

  • Blog and resources available

Cons
  • Forums are open to public

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.

Final Verdict

Online support groups should not replace professional care for depression, which can share symptoms with grief, but these spaces—which can take the form of forums, live chat, or Facebook groups—can offer valuable connections and a helpful community. They can provide those experiencing grief a place to share experiences and stories, discuss coping skills and offer hope and encouragement. Many of these groups for specific types of loss which can encourage deeper connection with others, especially through live chats. If you would like to remain anonymous, closed online groups also offer more privacy than in-person groups. The group you choose will ultimately depend on your personal needs.

Compare Online Grief Support Groups

Online Grief Support Groups Membership fee Structure
Grieving.com
Best Overall
Free Forums, chat, journals, resources
Grief in Common Best Live Chat Free, but live-chat participation is $10 per year Forums, groups and coaching, live chat, blog, and resources
Hope Again
Best for Young People
Free Zoom or phone counseling, advice, and resources
Grief Anonymous Best Social Media Group Free Facebook group
Online Grief Support Best for Specific Grief Free Forum, groups, chat, blogs, and journals
GriefNet
Best for Email Support
Recommended donation of $10 per month Email
Grief Healing
Best Monitored Discussion Group
Free, but donations are recommended Forums and discussion groups

FAQs

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.

Methodology

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. 

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Article Sources
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  1. Wetherell JL. Complicated grief therapy as a new treatment approach. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2012;14(2):159-166. doi:10.31887/DCNS.2012.14.2/jwetherell