- Best for all losses: Grief in Common
- Best for the loss of a family member: The Compassionate Friends
- Best for young adults: HealGrief Actively Moving Forward
- Best social media-based group: Grief Anonymous
- Best for pregnancy and infant loss: First Candle
- Best for the loss of a twin: Twinless Twins
- Best for the loss of a spouse: Soaring Spirits International Widowed Village
- Best for loss after suicide: HEARTBEAT
- Best for cancer-related loss: CancerCare
- Best for pet loss: The Anti-Cruelty Society Working Through Pet Loss
The death of a loved one is universal and also one of the most stressful experiences in life. Grief affects everyone in their own way. For some people, connecting with others and sharing their stories helps them process their loss.
Support groups aren’t for everyone, but some
Asking for help can be a difficult step. Read on to find out how online grief support groups can help you cope, and our picks of the best grief support groups online.
Grief and bereavement support groups can help you connect with people also dealing with the loss of a loved one. Being part of a grief support group can help you feel less alone, and also help you learn coping skills.
The structure of the support groups can vary group to group, but usually come in the form of:
- virtual group meetings
- one-on-one chat rooms
- online public discussion forums
- private online forums
- in-person events
Attending a grief support group session can help you connect with people at different stages of grief. You can work together to help each other move through the stages.
Grief support groups don’t replace professional care for depression and anxiety that may develop with grief. Still, they can offer support in addition to that provided by a mental health professional.
We assessed popular virtual grief support groups to find active communities that provide a safe place for people to heal from their loss. We looked for communities that help different types of loss and a variety of resources to create a list that serves many loss-related needs.
This list isn’t comprehensive. If one of these groups doesn’t resonate with you, more options are available to help you grieve. If you’re looking for an in-person support group, try searching “grief support groups” and your city or town’s name for local options.
Best for all losses
Grief in Common was designed to connect people to others with a similar loss. When you sign up, you create a profile that describes who you lost and how you lost them. You are added to a chat room with people who have similar experiences.
The site’s forums, tribute pages, match feature, and resources page are free to use. The fee is $0.99 a month or $9.99 for the whole year to use the live chat feature. If that’s not cost-effective for you, they do offer to waive this fee so that everyone can access the support they need.
Grief in Common also offers virtual grief coaching sessions. They provide a first-time 15-minute free individual session. There is a cost to the other individual and group coaching sessions:$85 for individual 55-minute video sessions and $20 for 2-hour general grief group sessions.
Best for the loss of a family member
The Compassionate Friends provide support to every family experiencing the death of a son, daughter, brother, sister, or grandchild. They offer online support through live chats with a friendly atmosphere to develop friendships with people who understand what you are going through.
The group also offers over 30 private and moderated Facebook groups to connect you to people experiencing the same loss you are.
A drawback to this group is that there are no virtual meetings offered to discuss your grief vocally. But if you live in an area where there is a local chapter, you may be able to attend in-person events.
Best for young adults
The HealGrief Actively Moving Forward program is free and aims to connect, support, and empower young adults up to and including age 30 to move forward in memory of the person they lost.
They offer an app to make it easy for young adults to connect. You can access readings, videos, group and individual chats, and virtual support calls through the app. Young adults are able to connect, build friendships, and heal their grief together.
A drawback is that it requires a registration process and waiting for an invitation to be sent through the signup process.
Best social media-based group
Grief Anonymous hosts Facebook groups. The main group is for general grief, and there are sub-groups for more specific circumstances like the loss of a spouse or a child.
The group claims to offer free support 24/7 because it is an active community throughout the year, with over 9,400 members in the main group. This may be a convenient option for people who want to access support through their Facebook account.
Just remember this is a Facebook group, and the information you share here may be seen by anyone added to the group. The groups are moderated but most likely don’t have support from trained professionals.
Best for pregnancy and infant loss
First Candle is an organization dedicated to educating families about safe sleep for infants and providing support to families who have experienced miscarriages or infant loss.
They offer grief support through free online Facebook groups and a peer support program. Their groups provide support for those grieving sudden infant death, stillbirths, and miscarriages. There are group rules, but remember the information you post could be seen by anyone in the group.
The peer support program is completed by individuals who experienced the death of an infant. These people do go through training and are able to offer support through listening and sharing their own experiences. However, they are not trained mental health professionals.
Best for the loss of a twin
The Twinless Twins Support Group International is a nonprofit organization providing a community for people who lost their twins or other family members. They help twinless twins heal and accept the loss.
Twinless Twins offer both free and paid resources. They offer free articles and videos to help people who are grieving. The paid membership costs $50 per year. It provides access to paid membership pages, including past meetings and workshops, newsletters, in-person meetings, and support from other grieving “twinless” twins.
They offer an annual virtual meeting and other programs throughout the year. Usually, they only provide in-person conferences and online community pages.
Best for the loss of a spouse
The Widowed Village is an online community created by Soaring Spirits. They offer forums and connect you to people who are similar to you in age, location, and date of widowhood.
The membership is free of charge. You gain access to programs like the Newly Widowed Virtual program. This includes guest speakers, educational videos, weekly Zoom meetings, discussion groups, and other resource sharing.
Looking for more? Sign up for regional groups, in-person events, and the widowed pen pal program.
Like most support groups, this program is meant to complement therapy and therapeutic support from trained mental health professionals. It’s intended to be informational only and doesn’t replace medical advice.
Best for loss after suicide
HEARTBEAT Survivors After Suicide is a nonprofit organization helping people who are grieving a loved one who died by suicide by offering comfort, encouragement, and direction. This group provides a monthly support meeting on the first Tuesday of each month.
The virtual meeting is open to anyone. However, the group is limited to this one type of support except for people living in or near Colorado. If you do happen to live near one of the chapters in Colorado, there are one to three monthly in-person meetings for each location.
There are no forums or online discussion groups for this organization.
Best for cancer-related loss
CancerCare’s online support groups connect people with cancer, loved ones of those with cancer, and people who have lost a loved one to cancer. This group is led by licensed oncology social workers who can offer you professional support and guidance.
The format of this program uses a message board on a password-protected website. Groups are free to access and run for 15 weeks at a time. Members can post on the message boards 24/7. The program is open to anyone in the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories.
Best for pet loss
The Anti-Cruelty Society is an animal welfare organization that started in 1899. They offer multiple pet group programs, including the Working Through Pet Loss free class.
The pet loss group meets virtually on the first Tuesday of every month. A grief counselor leads the group, and the current leader is also a licensed professional counselor. The meeting lasts an hour and a half and requires a reservation to receive the link.
The drawback for this group is support is only available once a month. There are no discussion boards or other ways to connect with other people going through the loss of a pet.
Grieving the loss of a loved one can be a long process, and asking for help can be difficult. Support groups don’t replace the advice of licensed healthcare professionals. However, they can offer a source of comfort and support from other people who are working through a similar situation. Logging into an online grief support group can remind you that you aren’t alone.
Ashley Braun, MPH, RD, is a health and wellness writer based in Michigan. Her work helps people understand what affects their health, so they can make informed choices to take back the control in their health and wellness journey.