National Grief Awareness Day focuses on ways to cope with loss

National Grief Awareness Day focuses on ways to cope with loss
August 25
14:04 2021

By Patti Sears

The past year brought grief and sadness to the Representative Payee Program of Financial Pathways of the Piedmont as we had 17 clients pass away. This was a significant number to lose and caused heavy hearts as several had been clients for many years. Most of the deaths were due to the challenging circumstances of the past year that brought insurmountable obstacles such as battles with substance abuse and chronic health conditions.   

National Grief Awareness Day is recognized on August 30, 2021. Now more than ever we should take the time to highlight the importance of this day. National Grief Awareness Day is dedicated to educating people about the many ways individuals cope with loss. Hopefully, it will also encourage all of us to support people we know who are grieving.  

Grief is one emotion that all of us will experience at some point in our lives. Often it is brought on by the loss of a loved one, a close friend, or a pet. Grief can also be brought on by other experiences like national tragedies, distressing news, etc. Coping with the death of someone you care about may be one of the hardest challenges you will experience. Grief not only affects your emotional health but can negatively impact your physical health. 

Unresolved grief can cause a myriad of issues that should be acknowledged and addressed in order to regain mental and physical health. With grief often comes pain, anger, or sadness. Some may turn to drugs or alcohol to try and cope with the painful emotions that come with grief. Unfortunately, this can lead to long-term addiction. Unresolved grief can also lead to a weakened immune system, heart problems, depression, and poor sleep. Those who already suffer from mental health issues may find grief an impossible emotion to face.  

Awareness about grief and its impact is so important. Not only must we be self-aware but we want to show care and compassion for individuals in our life who may need support to walk through grief in a healthy manner. 

So how can we help someone we care about grieve effectively in a way that will promote future health and happiness? 

Small gestures – sending a card or flowers, bringing a meal, helping with household chores, or just stopping by to listen and show you care – can be a huge source of comfort to a person who is grieving. Be there for those you love and care for. One day you may very well need that same comfort. 

If you are experiencing long-lasting or intense grief that interferes with your daily activities, please seek professional counseling or talk to your primary care physician. 

For more information on the services offered by Financial Pathways of the Piedmont, visit

Patti Sears is the representative payee director for Financial Pathways of the Piedmont, where she oversees the staff working with clients who receive Social Security benefits and need the assistance of a Payee to manage their funds.  Through her prior experience working with vulnerable populations, Patti discovered her true passion to work in an area that can bring positive change to those suffering with mental health and developmental disabilities.

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