Online grief support groups can provide people going through bereavement with a healing space for their loss.

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Finding support when you’re grieving can be overwhelming, but online grief support groups exist at arm’s length — as close as your laptop or phone.

The loss of a loved one is considered one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life. It can profoundly change the way you live after you go through it.

Speaking with others who have gone through the same experiences that you have can bring enormous relief.

Online support groups provide an outlet around the clock and allow participants who may feel isolated, stigmatized, or unable to attend in-person meetings an opportunity to reach outside their immediate communities for help. They can serve as a touchstone while coping with grief.

Grief support groups bring people together who have been through the loss of someone close to them.

Some target specific groups, such as parents who have lost a child or those who have lost loved ones who died by suicide. Others are more general.

You may also see them referred to as bereavement support groups or loss-support groups.

There are many professionals and places that can help you find resources about these groups (and sometimes groups may even be held in these spaces):

  • hospitals
  • hospices
  • places of worship
  • community centers
  • school guidance counselors

Plus, your primary care doctor may be able to refer you to a social worker or other behavioral health professionals familiar with social support resources.

You may find a group that meets in person, but the resources we list here are online groups with a focus on online support.

If you want to jump directly to the sections for each service, you can click the links below.

There are plenty of bereavement support groups. To narrow it down, we looked at:

  • Qualifications. Do the founders or staff hold specific qualifications that make them suitable to lead a grief support group?
  • Activity. Are the groups busy with daily new posts?
  • Security and safety. Do the sites show concern for members’ security and safety?
  • Cost. All the resources listed here are free, though some ask for donations to support their programs.
  • Accessibility. Most online support forums on this list are open to people worldwide. However, phone hotlines and other services like in-person meetings may be accessible only to people in the United States.
  • Vetting. All the services have been vetted to ensure that they meet Psych Central’s medical, editorial, and business standards.

Best overall

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: online forum, founded in 1997, is one of the oldest and most established online grief support groups. Its long history means a breadth and depth across its forum, both in terms of the number of users (250,000) and the variety of topics.

Why we chose it is a well-established online support group with a wide variety of categories revolving around various aspects of grief. The forum offers harder-to-find conversations such as

  • grieving teens
  • grief and the legal system
  • coping with holidays

What we like

  • can serve about anyone who’s experienced any type of loss, including loss of parents, siblings, children, and partners.
  • The site provides some forums related to issues surrounding death and grief that aren’t specifically about loss.
  • The service has forums for caregivers, discussing religious rituals around death, and a special section about COVID-19.

What to look out for

  • may become overwhelming for some because it’s not specific to any one type of grief or loss.

Best for parents who lost a child

MISS Foundation

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: online forum

The MISS Foundation offers free forums, moderated around the clock. The website also provides:

  • support packets to those in need of immediate support
  • access to in-person groups
  • a carefarm where grieving families can participate in animal therapy
  • grief retreats

Why we chose it

MISS Foundation was founded specifically for parents grieving their children. The foundation offers a variety of resources, including a 24/7 moderated forum.

What we like

  • The site is easy to read and has been updated recently.
  • The founder is a parent who experienced the loss of a child, as are many of her staff and the moderators of the forums.
  • A mentorship program pairs bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents with another person who has gone through a similar experience from the same perspective. Mentors are trained volunteers who will meet in person or online depending on distance.

What to look out for

  • People can participate anonymously. While this can be an appealing feature to some, it may also make it harder to vet participants.

Best for pregnancy and infant loss

First Candle

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: Facebook support group; grief support line

First Candle offers support for families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss.

In addition to a 24-hour grief support line staffed by bilingual crisis counselors, First Candle also hosts three private online peer-to-peer support groups on Facebook for people who have lost a child to:

Why we chose it

First Candle’s Facebook peer-to-peer support groups offer parents who’ve experienced SIDS, stillbirth, or miscarriage a safe space to share their personal experiences and comfort one another.

What we like

  • You can call their grief support line 24/7 at 800-221-7437.
  • Peer-support volunteers all have experienced the loss of an infant and have undergone training.
  • The support groups offer a safe and supportive space to talk about experiences of pregnancy and infant loss.
  • In addition to offering grief support, First Candle also strives to educate people about safe sleep for infants.

What to look out for

  • While the Facebook groups have specific rules to ensure respect and confidentiality, anyone within the group will be able to read your posts.
  • Though volunteers undergo training, they’re not mental health professionals.

Best for people who have lost a partner

Widowers on Reddit

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: online forum

The Widowers subreddit, active for more than 9 years, has more than 16,000 members and is moderated by 4 volunteers. It’s a very active site with posts covering various topics related to the loss of a spouse, partner, or companion.

Why we chose it

Widowers on Reddit is a well-established, inclusive forum with numerous users and ongoing activity.

What we like

  • The site welcomes people who weren’t married but lost a partner.
  • The group is described as a welcoming “place for anyone who has lost a companion.” (Still, it’s not specifically stated that it welcomes LGBTQIA+ members.)
  • Reddit’s popularity means the site stays active and busy, and if you have concerns or questions, they’re likely to receive responses quickly.

What to look out for

  • Reddit is a social media site — not a dedicated or protected forum — and what you write is publicly accessible.
  • Users’ identities are protected, and it may be difficult to get to know people beyond their usernames.

Best for young adults

Actively Moving Forward

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: invite-only app

Actively Moving Forward (AMF) is a network created by HealGrief specifically for grieving young adults, including college students.

They offer an invite-only app, in which you can access:

  • book clubs
  • readings, videos, and resources
  • virtual support groups
  • individual and group chats with community members
  • community comment boards

Why we chose it

The Actively Moving Forward app offers a safe place for grieving young people to connect with a national network of others their age experiencing grief.

What we like

  • Though AMF was created with grieving young adults (ages 18–30) in mind, the app also offers communities for adults older than 30 years, as well as professionals.
  • The app makes it easy for people to connect with others.
  • In addition to virtual support groups, AMF offers a variety of resources, including readings and videos.

What to look out for

  • To access the app, you need to register and wait for an invitation to be sent to you.

Best for people grieving someone who died by suicide

Suicide Grief Support

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: Facebook support group

Loss after suicide is often connected with stigma and feelings of guilt, shame, responsibility, and rejection. Connecting with others who have gone through the same thing may help you deal with and work through these feelings.

The Suicide Grief Support Facebook group has more than 14,000 members, has been around on the social network for more than 10 years, and is fairly busy.

Four moderators tend to post, and the group welcomes anyone who has lost a loved one who died by suicide.

Why we chose it

This private Facebook group offers support to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide.

What we like

  • The group, although it’s on Facebook, is private, meaning what you post is visible only to others in the group.
  • You must answer security questions to join the group.
  • They also run a separate page called Suicide Grief Support for Parents, for parents whose child died by suicide, and people are encouraged to join both groups.

What to look out for

  • Although the group is private, posting on Facebook does have more safety concerns than posting on an independent, secure forum.

Best for people grieving the loss of a pet

Grief Healing Discussion Groups for Pet Loss

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: online forum

Although the forums at Grief Healing Discussion Groups encompass many varieties of loss, the site is run by a counselor who has written extensively about pet loss and runs pet loss support groups.

For many, losing a beloved pet can be as traumatic as losing a human companion, and grief can be long lived. This site recognizes this and offers people a place to talk about their animals and their relationships with them.

Why we chose it

This large forum gives grieving people an open platform where they can post their stories and connect with others who’ve lost a beloved pet.

What we like

  • The site owner has an extensive background helping people deal with pet grief. Plus, she was a moderator and monitor for the site before she became its owner.
  • The forum site is quite active and moderated by trained counselors.

What to look out for

  • The site doesn’t cater exclusively to grieving pet owners.
  • Pet grief is often not taken as seriously as grief related to a human loss.

Best for loss of a twin

Twinless Twins

  • Cost: free online support group; yearly membership for TTSGI is $50
  • Structure: Facebook support group

The Twinless Twins Support Group International (TTSGI) is a nonprofit organization whose founder started the group in 1987 after losing his own identical twin.

Membership to the group costs $50 a year, and paying members have access to:

  • educational resources
  • regional meetings
  • national conferences

However, TTSGI also hosts a free Facebook group where grieving twins can connect with and support one another.

Why we chose it

The TTSGI Facebook support group is open to all twins and other multiples who’ve lost their twin at any age (from in-utero to late in life).

What we like

  • TTSGI members can participate in an annual conference and have access to videos of previous conference speakers and workshops.
  • The nonprofit offers a quarterly magazine called Twinless Times.
  • People who’ve lost a twin at any age can join.

What to look out for

  • TTSGI membership is $50 a year.

Best for loss due to cancer

Cancer Care

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: 15-week online support group

Cancer Care hosts various online support groups for individuals living with cancer, as well as for people who are caring for or grieving a loved one. The groups are facilitated by oncology social workers who offer guidance and support.

The online support groups are held for 15 weeks, and members must register to join. The group uses a password-protected messaging board format rather than a live chat. Members can post on the message board 24/7.

Why we chose it

Cancer Care offers a wide variety of social worker-led support groups for anyone affected by cancer, including patient, caregiver, and bereavement support groups.

What we like

  • The message board is open 24/7.
  • The support groups are led by professional social workers.
  • The Cancer Care site offers extensive information and help for a variety of topics and diagnoses.

What to look out for

  • You have to register to participate, but registration is free.
  • After registration, it may take 2 to 3 days to have access to the message board.

In-person option for grieving children

Camp Erin

  • Cost: free
  • Structure: in-person weekend camp

Though it’s not an online support group, Camp Erin is worthy of being included in our list. It’s the largest free bereavement program for children and teens in the United States and Canada.

Camps are held in every city with a major league baseball team, and in a few other areas. Children attend for a weekend, and programming blends traditional outdoor camp activities with grief counseling and opportunities to discuss and memorialize loved ones.

Eluna, the nonprofit organization that oversees Camp Erin, also runs Camp Mariposa, a program for children whose families are affected by addiction.

Why we chose it

Camp Erin is highly unique in that it offers free in-person support for children and teens who have lost a loved one. Grief professionals and trained volunteers lead the weekend camps.

What we like

  • Grief can be isolating; a camp experience offers children a way to meet others in the same situation and to bond over their shared experiences.
  • The program is free and widespread.

What to look out for

  • If you don’t live near a big city or one with a major league baseball team, services may be difficult to access.
  • Camps are held at specific times, and children may not be able to receive constant support.*
  • The program doesn’t offer immediate assistance.

*If you’re hoping to connect your kid with more ongoing support, you could ask your primary care physician for a referral. Some online therapy services may also offer help for children and teens.

Support groupBest for…CostStructure
Grieving.comoverallfreeonline forum
MISS Foundationparents who’ve lost a childfreeonline forum
First Candlepregnancy and infant lossfreeFacebook support group
Widowers on Redditloss of a partnerfreeonline forum
Actively Moving Forwardgrieving young adultsfreeapp
Suicide Grief Supportloss of loved one to suicidefreeFacebook support group
Grief Healing Discussion Groups for Pet Lossloss of a petfreeOnline forum
Twinless Twinsloss of a twin• free online
• $50 yearly membership to group
Facebook support group
Cancer Careloss due to cancerfree15-week online support group
Camp Erinin-person camp for grieving children/teensfreein-person weekend camp

We don’t assume that our list is comprehensive. If you feel like the right match for you isn’t here, other options are available.

For example, historically marginalized groups like Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) or LGBTQIA+ folks often face additional barriers and may wish to find a community sensitive to their experiences. Or maybe you’re looking for a group with a particular spiritual or religious background.

Often, an online search for “grief support groups near me” can help you find in-person or online options that may work best for you. It can help to narrow down your search by including more specific information about the type of grief you’re experiencing or the type of community you’re hoping to find.

Below are some thoughts to consider before choosing an online grief support group.

  • Do you prefer a more casual format like an online forum you can join anytime? Or are you looking for a more structured format, such as a membership-only group led by a grief counselor?
  • Are you specifically seeking support from others living with your specific issue? For instance, if you’ve lost a parent to cancer, do you want to speak with others who’ve experienced the same? Or are you open to a wide range of people working through grief?
  • Do you prefer to speak with people your own age?
  • Do you prefer a religious or non-religious group?

If you didn’t find what you were looking for

If you’re unsure about whether a support group is suitable or reputable, we’ve put together tips for vetting groups you’re interested in.

Was this helpful?

Who should attend a grief support group?

Support groups are beneficial for any grieving person with a desire to connect with others who are also working through grief. These groups are particularly helpful for those without a close social support network.

Whether the loss happened recently or years ago, giving and receiving emotional support from others who’ve experienced a similar situation can be a very healing process.

How are online support groups different from in-person support groups?

Most online groups are less structured than in-person groups.

For instance, people can typically join online forums anytime, and though they may be moderated, they are often less private. In-person support groups are usually facilitated by a grief professional and take place during a specific time frame.

For some people, online support groups may lack the emotional connection of in-person groups.

Still, online support groups serve an important role in that they offer a convenient platform to connect with others from various regions. This is particularly helpful for people who are isolated from others, whether physically or emotionally.

When should I see a healthcare professional for my grief?

Experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one is natural. Often, symptoms fade on their own over time. But when grief symptoms persist over months or even years and affect your quality of life, it may be helpful to seek help from a mental health professional.

This is known as complicated grief. Some symptoms of complicated grief include:

  • feeling intense pain when you think of the person you’ve lost
  • focusing on things that remind you of your lost loved one
  • feeling numb
  • feeling bitter when thinking about your loss
  • losing your sense of purpose or motivation
  • feeling like you no longer fully trust your family, friends, and acquaintances
  • an inability to enjoy life
  • thoughts of suicide or feeling like you should have died along with your loved one

If you’re considering self-harm or suicide, you’re not alone

If you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can access free support right away with these resources:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
  • The Trevor Project. LGBTQIA+ and under 25 years old? Call 866-488-7386, text “START” to 678678, or chat online 24-7.
  • Veterans Crisis Line. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online 24-7.
  • Deaf Crisis Line. Call 321-800-DEAF (3323), text “HAND” at 839863, or visit their website.
  • Befrienders Worldwide. This international crisis helpline network can help you find a local helpline.
Was this helpful?

In the wake of a loss — whether expected or unexpected — finding support can be highly beneficial. Online support groups can offer a space to talk about and work through your grief.

Groups or subgroups of larger organizations that target the type of loss you’re experiencing may allow you to find companionship among people going through similar things at the same time as you.

Of course, no two people experience loss the same — and even people experiencing the loss of the same person or animal will experience that loss differently and process it differently. Still, having a support network by your side may help you work through your grief.

Most of these groups were founded, and continue to exist, to smooth the way for people whose lives are upended by grief, by making access easy and fuss-free.

Support groups can offer less pressure for those trying to cope who feel it may be difficult to find a therapist. Yet, seeking help from a trained mental health professional or grief counselor could be an additional tool to cope with your grief.