Social Media and Grief

This morning’s news is a shock.

Let’s take a moment to reflect and understand we don’t know all the details however a prominent member of the South Australian community, Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh, is dead. This will impact us in all sorts of ways yet to be revealed. One thing that is a given – many of you may be feeling grief or be impacted by grief of others in the coming days.

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss.

If you need immediate support, don’t be shy, seek help.

The main thing, look after your own physical health. The mind and body are connected. When you feel good physically, you’ll also feel better emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising.

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief.” These stages of grief were based on her studies of the feelings of patients facing terminal illness, but many people have generalized them to other types of negative life changes and losses, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up.

The five stages of grief:

Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”

Facebook is intertwined with every aspect of life — even death.

Memorial pages on Facebook and other social media sites have become a way to inform a wide audience of a loved one’s passing and to reach out for support. As well as allowing you to impart practical information, they allow people to post their own tributes or condolences. Reading such messages can often provide some comfort for those grieving the loss.

Of course, posting sensitive content on social media has its risks as well. Memorial pages are often open to anyone with a Facebook account. This may encourage people who hardly knew the deceased to post well-meaning but inappropriate comments or advice. A wise man once said nothing.

Keep it real and keep it respectful is the best policy.

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