person has their own way of coping with grief, sorrow and loss. Parents, family
members and caregivers who lose a child to illness or injury may respond to
many different kinds of support. Riley Bereavement Services recognizes the unique needs of grieving families and we offer several types of grief support.
Whether you prefer to seek help online, by phone, in one-on-one counseling or through direct contact with people who share similar losses, we are ready to support you wherever you are in your grief.
How We Can Help
How We Can Help
We provide individualized, family-centered services for our patients’ parents, siblings and family members, including:
- Individual and family grief counseling
- Grief support groups for adults and children
- Specialized grief workshops
- Telephone consultations
- Grief education materials
All services are confidential and free of cost. If you have experienced the death of a child, Riley Bereavement Services offers compassionate care to help families receive the support they need.
Grief Support Guide
The Riley Children's Health Grief Support Guide is a new digital tool to help support families who have lost a child. Users are able to access free grief-related education materials for parents/guardians, children/siblings and for those supporting someone in grief.
In addition to the free education materials, you can also create a free account to access other features such as secure journaling, saving special memories and more. Grief Support Guide is available on mobile, tablet and desktop.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
To learn more about how we can help, explore our Frequently Asked Questions.
How long will I grieve?
Grief is a lifelong journey. There are periods when grief is turbulent and periods when it is calm. Grief is also unpredictable and can change quickly. You and your family have experienced a profound loss, and it is important to be gentle with yourself and others as you go through this uncharted territory. Give yourself permission to grieve and adapt. As author Mitch Albom states, “Death ends a life, not a relationship.
What is grief counseling?
Grief counseling is very different than mental health counseling in that we don’t diagnose or formulate a treatment plan. Rather, we provide a supportive, safe space for people to talk about and process their grief and the many psychosocial losses that come with losing a child or sibling
What is the difference between individual counseling and support groups?
In individual counseling, a bereaved person and counselor meet privately to discuss the individual grief experience. In group counseling or support groups, multiple bereaved people gather to provide support for each other. Usually there is a shared experience around the type of loss.
How do I know if I need grief counseling or a support group?
Each person grieves in a unique way, and what may be helpful for one person might not be helpful for another. Many grieving parents find support from family members, friends, co-workers and faith communities. However, grieving the loss of a child can also be a very isolating experience. Some parents feel unable to share their grief with close friends and family. It can be difficult to see others return to their daily routines while you are still in so much pain. Some parents find grief counseling helpful in that it gives them a safe space to talk about their child, their loss and their grief without judgment and without someone trying to “fix it.” Some find comfort in attending a support group with other parents who have lost a child. It can be helpful to know you are not alone in your pain or fears.
How old does a child need to be to receive grief support services?
Even young children can experience the effects of grief. We use play and art therapy to work with young children in our child-friendly environment. If you have questions or concerns about how your child is grieving, please contact us.
How much do grief and bereavement services cost?
We believe every family who experiences a loss should receive the support they need. With this in mind, IU Health and the Riley Children’s Foundation financially support Riley Bereavement Services, allowing our team to offer services to families free of charge.
I do not live in Indianapolis. May I still receive grief support?
Yes, please contact us so we can identify resources and support in your area.
For Bereaved Parents
Compassionate Friends. The Compassionate Friends is a global organization organized in chapters around the U.S. to support bereaved families and friends.
For Adults Who Want to Help a Child
The New York Life Foundation: A Child in Grief. New York Life Foundation offers an exhaustive set of resources designed to help people who grieve.
Scholastic: Children & Grief. Scholastic Corporation provides many online resources and classroom activities to support teachers who help students with grief.
The National Alliance for Grieving Children. This organization promotes awareness of needs children and teens may have when they are grieving and provides education and resources for anyone who wants to support them.
For Bereaved College Students
National Students of AMF. This organization promotes peer-to-peer support among college students who are grieving.
For Schools and Educators
New York Life Foundation: A Child in Grief. This foundation offers a comprehensive set of resources designed to help people who grieve.
National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. Located at the University of Southern California this center provides resources to help school-based professionals respond to children in grief and crisis.
Scholastic: Children & Grief. Scholastic Corporation provides many online resources and classroom activities to support teachers who want to help students deal with grief.
The Coalition to Support Grieving Students. Scholastic Corporation shares downloadable grief support materials for teachers.
grief support closest to you, please visit the
National Bereavement Resource Guide.