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Finding Support After the Death of a Loved One

After the death of a loved one, you may experience a wide range of emotions. That is natural. The path to finding a new normal may not be the same for everyone. Knowing where and when to find support along the way may help. Here are some resources that may be of help to you and your family.

Connect with support networks

Each branch of the military service offers programs that provide long-term support to surviving families of deceased service members.

  • Survivor Outreach Services, the Army’s official long-term support program for surviving families of deceased service members, helps continue the survivor's connection with the Army by providing comprehensive services that include assistance with housing, education and finances.
  • Long Term Assistance Program is the Marine Corps’ resource for survivors that connects family members to grief and peer support experts, provides information on benefits and entitlements and offers any kind of assistance that is needed.
  • Navy Gold Star Program is the Navy’s support network that provides survivors with information on resources available to them.
  • Air Force Families Forever offers support for survivors who are grieving the death of a service member. Among its services is an online community through Family Support Network exclusively dedicated to friends and family of deceased Air Force members.

Consider counseling options

You don't have to grieve or go through this journey alone. Sharing your feelings can be productive and therapeutic. Here are a couple of free counseling options to consider:

  • Military OneSource provides 24/7 service to all active-duty service members, National Guard and reserves and eligible family members, including surviving spouses who remain unmarried. Counselors offer information and make referrals on a wide range of issues including grief and bereavement. Arrange a face-to-face, phone, online or video counseling session by calling 800-342-9647 or click here for overseas calling options.
  • Veterans Affairs Bereavement Counseling offers bereavement support to parents, spouses and children of active duty and National Guard or reserves who die while on military duty. Call 202-461-6530 or send an email to vetcenter.bereavement@va.gov to use this service.
  • TRICARE mental health care services are available for you during times of grief. Outpatient psychotherapy is covered for up to two sessions per week in any combination of individual, family, group or collateral sessions.

Check out other support organizations

Many other organizations offer support by people who understand grief and may have been through a similar experience. A full listing of support and service organizations is available in the publication “The Days Ahead.” 

Explore Bereavement Camps and other groups for children

The death of a loved one can be especially difficult for children, so finding resources tailored to their needs is essential. Several groups work to provide grieving children with a comfortable place to talk about their feelings and feel understood. A full listing of support and bereavement camps is available in “Bereavement Camps: An Opportunity to Grieve and Heal.” and in the publication “The Days Ahead.” 

Knowing where to turn for support may not make the hurt disappear, but it can help you begin to take those first steps toward finding your new normal. You have a place in the military community. Your country will never forget your loved one's sacrifice and service to our nation. For more resources to assist you, see the resources section. Or call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. OCONUS/international? Click here for calling options.