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The death of a loved one is universal and 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 research shows they can help ease the grieving process and reduce depression symptoms for some people.

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 support groups can vary from group to group, but they 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 other people working through grief.

Grief support groups do not replace professional care for depression and anxiety that may develop with grief. Still, they can offer support in addition to that a mental health professional provides.

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.

All the support groups included in this article were also vetted and approved by our team of mental health experts, which is comprised of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and therapists.

Our team ensures that brands meet Healthline’s strict standards and evaluates brands based on medical credibility, businesses practices, and social impact.

However, keep in mind that this list is not 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

Why we chose it: Grief in Common provides support for people experiencing all types of loss. In addition to offering a variety of free features, you can also participate in individual and group sessions for an additional fee.

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, the site does offer to waive this fee so that everyone can access the support they need.

Grief in Common also offers virtual grief coaching sessions and provides 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 $25 for 2-hour general grief therapy group sessions.

Best for the loss of a sibling or child

The Compassionate Friends

Why we chose it: Not only does this free support group provide lots of resources for those experiencing the loss of a child or sibling, but it also offers a wide range of private groups for additional peer support.

The Compassionate Friends group provides support to every family experiencing the death of a son, daughter, brother, sister, or grandchild.

It offers online support through live chats in 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. However, 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

HealGrief Actively Moving Forward

Why we chose it: Designed specifically for young adults, the HealGrief Actively Moving Forward app is a simple and convenient way to connect with others and build a personal support network.

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.

There’s an app to make it easy for young adults to connect, which includes readings, videos, group and individual chats, and virtual support calls.

Young adults are also able to connect, build friendships, and heal their grief together.

A drawback is that the program requires a registration process and waiting for an invitation to be sent through the sign-up process.

Best social media-based group

Grief Anonymous

Why we chose it: With many subgroups for specific types of grief to choose from, Grief Anonymous makes it easy to find free support on social media whenever you need it.

Grief Anonymous hosts Facebook groups. The main group is for general grief, and there are subgroups 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

Why we chose it: First Candle is focused on preventing sleep-related infant deaths and providing support for pregnancy and infant loss. With peer support and online resources, it can be a great tool for families coping with 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.

The group offers grief support through free online Facebook groups and a peer support program. The 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’ve experienced the death of an infant.

They do go through training and are able to offer support through listening and sharing their own experiences, but keep in mind that they are not trained mental health professionals.

Best for the loss of a twin

Twinless Twins

Why we chose it: Offering a variety of free and paid resources, workshops, and in-person meetings, Twinless Twins is specifically aimed at helping people navigate the challenges and issues unique to twin loss.

The Twinless Twins Support Group International is a nonprofit organization providing a community for people who lost their twins or other family members and helping twinless twins heal from loss.

Twinless Twins offers both free and paid resources, including 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.

The group offers an annual virtual meeting and other programs throughout the year. Usually, only in-person conferences and online community pages are provided.

Best for the loss of a spouse

Soaring Spirits International Widowed Village

Why we chose it: This free support group provides a wide array of resources for those coping with the loss of a spouse. It also offers in-person events and a pen pal program to connect you to peers.

The Widowed Village is an online community created by Soaring Spirits. It offers forums and connect you to people who are similar to you in age, location, and date of widowhood.

The membership is free and includes 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 does not replace medical advice.

Best for loss after suicide

HEARTBEAT

Why we chose it: With free virtual meetings each month and local chapters in several areas throughout Colorado, HEARTBEAT can be a useful resource for people experiencing the loss of a loved one to 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

Why we chose it: CancerCare provides both professional and peer support for people navigating cancer-related loss. Plus, it’s also free, easy to use, and accessible 24/7.

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 program format 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 Working Through Pet Loss

Why we chose it: With monthly virtual meetings guided by a trained grief counselor, this online support group is intended to ease the healing process and provide the tools you need to cope with the loss of a pet.

The Anti-Cruelty Society is an animal welfare organization that started in 1899. It offers 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.

FocusStructurePrice
Grief in Commonloss of a loved oneresources, forums, live chat, individual and group coachingmost features are free
$9.99 per year for live chat
$85 for individual video sessions
$25 for general grief group sessions
The Compassionate Friendsloss of a sibling or childlive chats and private Facebook groupsfree
HealGrief Actively Moving Forwardyoung adults experiencing lossresources, forums, live chats, and virtual support groups free
Grief Anonymousloss of a loved oneprivate Facebook groupsfree
First Candlepregnancy and infant lossresources, private Facebook group, and peer support programfree
Twinless Twinsloss of a twinresources, annual conferences, in-person and virtual workshopsmost resources are free
$50 per year for paid membership with extra features
Soaring Spirits International Widowed Villageloss of spouseresources, forums, virtual workshops, in-person events, pen pal programfree
HEARTBEATsuicide lossvirtual and in-person meetingsfree
CancerCarecancer-related loss private message boards and live support groupsfree
The Anti-Cruelty Society Working Through Pet Losspet lossvirtual group meetingsfree

What is the difference between online and in-person support groups?

Although they may not be the best fit for everyone, online support groups can be a convenient and flexible alternative to in-person support groups.

Typically, online support groups consist of discussion boards, virtual meetings, or live chats, while in-person support groups are physical gatherings where members can connect and share their feelings and personal experiences.

In many cases, online support groups can be more cost effective than in-person meetings, and many types are often free.

However, some people may find it easier to share and connect with others when interacting in person rather than online.

Some may also prefer the consistency and stability offered by in-person support groups compared to virtual groups or discussion boards.

Who is an online support group best for?

An online support group can be a good choice for people with a busy schedule who are seeking flexible ways to connect with others, such as live chats, virtual meetings, or discussion forums.

Because online groups are often free or available at a low cost, they can also be a great option for those on a tight budget.

Additionally, some people may feel more comfortable interacting virtually, while others may prefer the anonymity online support groups offer.

When should I see a mental health professional?

While online support groups can be a useful tool for the healing process, they shouldn’t be considered a replacement for treatment or therapy from a trained mental health professional.

If you are experiencing grief that is interfering with your daily life, affecting your relationships or performance at work or school, or causing you to feel anxious, stressed, or unhappy most of the time, you should consider talking to a mental health professional.

Other signs that you may benefit from additional treatment from a licensed professional include:

  • struggling with substance use
  • having thoughts of harming yourself and/or others
  • experiencing a loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy
  • feeling a lack of motivation
  • feeling hopeless or guilty
  • having trouble getting out of bed or feeling tired most of the time

Grieving the loss of a loved one can be a long process, and asking for help can be difficult.

Support groups do not 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 are not 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.