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Grief & Loss

Grief and loss are common parts of life both in and out of uniform. You may experience either for many reasons. You may lose a loved one, experience divorce, or suffer a life-changing injury. No matter the reason, coping can be difficult.

Everybody experiences grief and loss differently. Some may experience difficulty sleeping, intense or lasting feelings of sadness, or even guilt. These reactions can affect personal relationships, job performance or health.

If you or someone you know has suffered a loss of any kind, a health care professional can help with coping and recovery. Use the following resources to learn more about grief, loss and how reaching out is a sign of strength.

Recommended Resources

Coping with the Trauma of Suicide Loss

Experiencing the death of a friend or loved one is difficult. Whether the death comes without warning or after a lengthy battle with illness, navigating the grieving process can be challenging. However, it can be particularly challenging for those who’ve lost someone to suicide. A suicide death has a ripple effect that can shake a community, especially a tight knit one like the military.

Understanding and Coping With Natural and Human-made Disasters

Traumatic events related to combat or deployments can occur during your military service. These experiences may cause stress reactions that can negatively impact your psychological health. However, it is important to remember that you and your family can face similar experiences following a natural or human-made disaster.

Security Clearances and Psychological Health Care

Reaching out for care for your psychological health is an important, positive step in your military career. When seeking a role that requires a national security clearance, you will be instructed to fill out the Standard Form 86 (SF86), “Questionnaire for National Security Positions.” [PDF 7.6MB] The federal government uses information from this form to conduct background checks and evaluate individuals who are:

Coping with Mass Shootings

It is important to remember that in any city or town, mass shootings are rare, even if they are highly visible occurrences that receive national attention.Most people will never experience one directly. However, when they do happen they are shocking and can be difficult to cope with. This is because they feel random and happen in places you consider safe like schools, offices, malls, movie theaters, restaurants—even military installations.

Helping Children through the Grieving Process

When a tragedy occurs, processing grief and facing changes to family life can be overwhelming to everyone. For the surviving loved ones and adults, it is important to offer support and hope to children. Knowing how children may react when coping with loss can help everyone through the grieving process.

How to Cope With Common Causes of Loss

Loss is a common part of life in and out of uniform. When thinking about loss, tragedy like the death of a loved one may come to mind. However, you and your family might experience feelings of loss for many reasons. Common causes of loss include:

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