teen dealing with grief

Coping with Grief and Loss as a Teenager

April 29, 2024

The loss of a loved one is one of life’s most challenging experiences, and when you’re a teenager, it can feel especially overwhelming. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, friend, or even a pet, grief doesn’t discriminate based on age. As a teen, you may find yourself struggling with a range of intense emotions such as sadness, anger or numbness all while also trying to navigate the complexities of adolescence. 

In this blog, we’ll explore some strategies to help you cope with grief and loss during this sensitive time.  

Understanding Grief  

First and foremost, it’s essential to recognize that grief is a natural response to loss. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, confused, or even numb. Everyone experiences grief differently, and there’s no right or wrong way to mourn. As a teenager, you might find yourself fluctuating between moments of intense sorrow and times when you feel relatively normal. 

Two things can be true at once, you can have a good day while also dealing with grief or vice versa. Remember that grief is not something you “get over” quickly; it’s a process that takes time.  


coping with grief as a teen


Seek Support  

During times of grief, it’s crucial to lean on your support system. This could include family members, friends, therapists, or grief counselors. Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust and share your feelings. Talking about your loss can help you express your feelings and feel less alone. 

If you’re uncomfortable discussing your feelings verbally, consider expressing yourself through writing, art, or music. Not knowing what you need is okay if you are expressing your emotions in a healthy way.  

Take Care of Yourself  

Grieving can take a toll on both your physical and emotional well-being, so it’s essential to prioritize self-care. Make sure you’re eating nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring you joy. Exercise can be particularly beneficial, as it releases endorphins that can help improve your mood. Additionally, try to avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive alcohol or drug use, which can ultimately make your grief more challenging to manage.  

Honoring Your Loved One  

Finding meaningful ways to honor the memory of your loved one can provide comfort during the grieving process. This could involve creating a scrapbook or photo album, planting a tree in their memory, or participating in a charity event or fundraiser dedicated to them. 

One way to cope with loss is to remember your loved one through actions. This can help you feel connected to them and bring closure. Grief comes in many stages, finding a way to honor your loved one might take time and thoughts that you are not immediately ready for – take it at your own pace.  

Seek Professional Help if Needed  

While it’s normal to experience a range of emotions after a loss, if you find that your grief is overwhelming and interfering with your daily life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist or treatment center can provide you with the tools and support you need to navigate your grief in a healthy way.   

There’s no shame in asking for help and reaching out to a mental health professional doesn’t mean you’re weak—it means you’re taking proactive steps to prioritize your well-being.  

Remember, You’re Not Alone  

Finally, it’s essential to remember that you’re not alone in your grief. Many other teenagers have experienced similar losses and understand what you’re going through. Consider joining a support group for grieving teens, either in person or online, where you can connect with others who are on a similar journey. 

Although it might seem intimidating to share space and emotion with others it can also provide support and comfort. Those around you in group therapy are experiencing similar emotions and pain. Being in a space with those who understand what you’re going through can ease the pressure of explaining every detail or the need to put on a brave face.  

Coping with grief and loss as a teen is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s not unattainable. By allowing yourself to feel your emotions, seeking support from others, taking care of yourself, honoring your loved one’s memory, and seeking professional help if needed, you can navigate this difficult time and emerge stronger on the other side. Remember, grief is a journey, and it’s okay to take it one day at a time.  

If you or someone you love is experiencing grief and in need of extra support, Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center is available to help navigate this difficult time. Reach out to one of our admissions members for information on how we can help.