How Do I Get Through This?

A Brief Guide to Grief for Teenagers

Losing someone you love or care about is painful, and grief is a normal, natural response to loss.

Approximately 6 million U.S. children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the time they are 18, and 1 in 7 Americans lose a parent or sibling before the age of 20.

While the experience of grief is universal, we all go through the process of grief and healing in our own unique way. In this sense, it is important to remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve. Just do what feels right for you.

Here are some things that may be helpful to keep in mind in going through your own grief:

 Grief is not just sadness.

There are many emotions you may experience through this process: shock, sadness, anger, guilt, loneliness, relief, anxiety, or fear. Many people also experience physical reactions to loss such as tiredness, stomachache, chest tightness, shortness of breath, physical pain, trouble with sleep, or muscle tension.

Grief is a roller coaster of emotions.

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 Your family and friends are important.

It can be very helpful to talk through what you are feeling and thinking about when going through grief. Who are the people in your life that are important to you? A best friend, your mom or dad, a sibling, trusted teacher, counselor, or coach? These people are here to support you. Even if you don’t want to talk about your loss, having people around you who love you can help you feel less alone.

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 Give yourself something to do.

Think about how you might want to remember or memorialize the loved one you lost. Sharing with others the good times you had, what you loved about the person, or creating ways to honor or memorialize them whether it be through a service, photo/memory area of your room or school, drawing, or a poem, can help in the process of grieving.

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Give yourself time to heal.

Grief has no timeframe. Some people experience a short period of grief and feel like they can move on relatively quickly. Some people struggle for much longer. There can be moments where grief becomes more difficult, like on an anniversary, birthday, or other important occasion or holiday. It is important to remember that everyone’s healing process is different, and you aren’t expected to feel “better” or “move on” after any specific amount of time.

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Get help if you need it.

Not everyone needs a mental health professional in their grieving process, but some people struggle more than others, and may need additional support. Talking to your doctor and/or seeking out a therapist or support group is a good place to start.


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This announcement is supported by SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award over five years (2020-2025) with 100 percent funded by SAMHSA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by SAMHSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.