Grieving during the pandemic
The increasing death toll from COVID-19 continues to overwhelm funeral homes and mortuaries in some areas. Families and loved ones are also struggling with how to say goodbye as traditional methods are changing. Most hospitals are preventing families from visiting loved ones to help prevent further spread of the virus.
Funerals are also heavily restricted in many areas of the country, including Missouri. Mental health experts are saying this is affecting how loved ones are grieving.
"A lot of people have been struggling with increased anxiety and trauma from not knowing how to start the grief process," Katrina Reese said.
Katrina Reese is a trauma therapist. She says for many, the denial stage of grief is being prolonged by the absence of rituals like funerals and wakes that bring closure.
"It's natural for anyone going through the grief process to turn inward and want to bear the burden on their own, but it's so important we talk about those feelings," Reese said.
Some funeral homes have started streaming services. Meanwhile, Reese suggests journaling, letter writing, or connecting via online platforms to share stories about those we've lost. She also suggests planning in-person memorials for after the pandemic.
Mental health experts are also emphasizing many providers are offering telehealth services, including grief counseling during these difficult times.