All loss is traumatic. However sudden, violent and instant death of a loved one is considered acute trauma. It can cause us to have nightmares, ruminating thoughts. We often continue to replay the traumatic events in our head, reliving the trauma.
Here are some resources from Virginia Mason's Traumatic grief and loss department.
You can find the information below at
Sudden, Traumatic Death Services
Traumatic death grief services are temporarily on hold, and we are not accepting new patients for individual or group therapy.
The death of a loved one is a devastating experience that often leaves people feeling completely alone. It can seem impossible to cope with the grief and the pain following an unnatural death. Feelings of shock and disbelief are normal. Some other reactions may include:
- Disturbing memories/dreams
- Sense of helplessness
- Isolation and loneliness
- Anxiety and fear
- Inability to concentrate or complete routine tasks
- Difficulty sleeping
- Deep sadness
- Changes in eating patterns
Virginia Mason Grief Services offers individual and group services after sudden traumatic death (such as homicide, suicide, accident and overdose).
- Short-term individual therapy (in-person and via telehealth)
- Ten-week traumatic death support groups: no cost to join, and pre-registration is required (telehealth only at this time)
- Information and referral
- Community, regional and national trainings (in-person and via telehealth)
- Community critical incident debriefings (in-person and via telehealth)
Grief Groups for Sudden, Traumatic Deaths
Virginia Mason offers free grief groups for individuals impacted by a sudden death. Each 10-week, two-hour group has approximately seven individuals.
Groups are held via telehealth at this time and will resume at the Virginia Mason Seattle campus or at one of the regional medical centers when it is safe to do so based on Washington state and CDC guidelines.
An in-person or telehealth assessment is required and is not a guarantee that interested participants will be placed in group. If placement in group is confirmed, attendance at all 10 sessions is required.
Each group is led by an experienced, caring therapist who guides conversations on topics including: how you’ve changed since the death, new family dynamics, changes in your social supports, and religious or spiritual beliefs. Supportive techniques are used to help move through the difficult emotions surrounding the death.
Upcoming grief groups for Sudden, Traumatic Death:
Traumatic Death Resources
Adults – Groups/Meetings
- Crisis Connections (Suicide)
- Swedish Edmonds: (425) 640-4404
- GRASP (Grief recovery after a substance passing)
- The Compassionate Friends (parents)
Youth/Family Services and Resources
- Bridges: A Center for Grieving Children: (253) 403-1966
- Providence Safe Crossings: (206) 255-5816
- Seattle Children’s Journey Program: (206) 987-2062
- A Little Book of Self-Care for Those Who Grieve, by Paula Becker
- It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand, by Megan Devine
You can find this information at Virginia Mason Grief Services