After the loss of a loved one, counseling can help individuals struggling to work through the grief process. While counseling services are sometimes covered by health insurance, those without insurance or counseling coverage can benefit from free professional services.
Counseling for the General Public
Everyone experiences death and grief whether it's the loss of a friend, relative, or pet. There are a couple national organizations that offer free grief counseling services to anyone in need.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization not only provides services to people who are dying but also to their family members and the larger community. If you've had a family member cared for through hospice care, you're entitled to grief services for just over one year after the loss. Local and regional hospice providers also offer free services to members of the community in certain instances, such as after a natural disaster or a school tragedy. Some agencies, like The Community Hospice of New York provide free grief counseling to any community member in the areas they serve.
OneLegacy is an organization committed to encouraging organ, eye, and tissue donation after death. As part of their community outreach, the organization offers free phone counseling and referrals to services in your area. Call them at 800.423.7220 to see how they can support your needs.
Counseling for Military Families
Parents, spouses, and children of military members who died during service face unique grief challenges after their loss. Because these individuals are all seen as part of the greater military family, the government and other agencies provide services to them.
National Military Survivor Helpline
If you're not comfortable with an in-person talk, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) sponsors a 24-hour helpline. You can reach the National Military Survivor Helpline at 800.959.TAPS and speak with a trained grief professional any time of the day or night.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Voluntary service to our country comes with many benefits for military personnel and their families. Those who have lost a loved one during service can receive free bereavement counseling at their local veterans center.
If you're looking for a counselor closer to home, many community organizations and agencies offer mental health services. Get started searching for area resources by checking in with:
- Hospitals - Some hospitals offer more than just care for your physical health, including counseling groups and sessions. Hospitals with behavioral health units already staff mental health professionals and may offer counseling as a community service.
- Colleges and Universities - If you are a current student or alumnus, you may be entitled to free counseling services by a licensed counselor in the school's counseling center. Universities with programs that train counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists often have in-house clinics where supervised counselor trainees offer free services as part of their educational process.
- Churches - Many ministers and pastors get trained in counseling services and provide grief counseling sessions as part of their community outreach. Local churches may also partner with area agencies and serve as the host site for counseling services.
- Funeral Homes - Since their entire business is based on death, funeral homes aim to provide those left behind with every service they might need. If a local funeral home doesn't provide grief counseling, they can probably direct you to a community resource that does.
- Support Groups - You may also find help through local support groups. Find one near you at Grief.com.
Help for Those in Need
Free counseling services are paid for largely by non-profit agencies or state and federal governments as a way to care for the mental well-being of individuals. Grief may not ever completely go away after a death, but through counseling you can find a way to continue living a happy life.