Bereavement & grief 

Who can help me deal with the death of a loved one?

The things that help you deal with grief will be individual to you and might include: 

  • talking to a close friend, family member or someone in your faith group (e.g. church), 
  • writing down your feelings, 
  • keeping yourself busy by taking up a hobby, craft, or sport

People work through their grief in different ways and having someone you trust and respect to talk to about it can be very important. If you find it hard to share your feelings with friends or family, or you are really struggling to cope with day-to-day life, you may consider seeing a grief counsellor and/or joining a support group. 

Grief counsellors use different approaches and have different personal styles, so it is important to choose someone you can relate to. Some ideas for finding a grief counsellor are on our Depression page. Your doctor or local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you find appropriate grief counselling for your situation. 

An alternative to face-to-face counselling is telephone counselling, for example as provided by:

  • Need to Talk - call or text 1737 any time to talk to or text with a trained counsellor;
  • Lifeline (0800 543 354, 24 hours 7 days) to talk to a qualified counsellor or trained volunteer; or 
  • the listening service provided by Samaritans (04 473 9739 or 0800 726 666, 24 hours 7days).

More telephone counselling and listening providers are listed on our Depression page.

You might consider joining a bereavement support group. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you find one near you.

If you are grieving for someone who has taken their own life, you can find information to help you on our Suicide and self-harm page.

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What services are available to help me cope with my miscarriage? 

You can find information on the Miscarriage Support Auckland website. It also has a list of  support groups around New Zealand.

Sands New Zealand provides support to parents who have suffered the death of a baby, during pregnancy or as a baby or infant. You can find a Sands support group on their website.

Grief counselling services are also available, and your doctor or Citizens Advice Bureau can help you locate one in your area. You can find more information to help you elsewhere on this page.

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How can I help my child deal with grief?

If your child is grieving, you may not notice immediately. It may become evident over time through changes in their behaviour, for example they may have difficulty getting to sleep, be frequently looking for the person who has died, complain frequently of tummy pains or wet their bed. They may be angry that someone isn’t around anymore or unsure whether it is okay to be sad and cry about their loss.

It may help your child if they are able to talk to you about how they are feeling. You can find information about common ways for children of different age groups to grieve, and how parents can help their child deal with bereavement, on the Kids Health website, run by the Starship Foundation and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand.

Sometimes a child may need more help with their grief than their family or friends are able to provide. In these cases, counselling may help. You could try discussing this with your child first, and see if they are receptive to the idea.

Some nationwide organisations who offer counselling to children are:

  • Skylight - provides counselling and runs children’s support groups in the Wellington and Auckland regions, and provides information nationally to young people dealing with loss, change, and grief. Their number is 0800 299 100.
  • The following telephone helplines are free:
    • Youthline (0800 37 66 33) is a telephone, email and text support service for anyone to use 24/7. They also provide face-to-face counselling in some regions. 
    • Kidsline is a help-line for children and teens. Call 0800 KIDSLINE (0800 543 754) at any time, or to speak to a Kidsline Buddy (a trained year 12-13 student) call Mon - Fri 4pm - 9pm on week days.
    • Barnardos’ What’s Up is a help-line for children and teens. You can call or chat online Mon – Fri 1pm-10pm and Sundays 3pm – 10pm.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also help you find a counselling provider in your area.

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How much bereavement leave am I entitled to?

This depends on your workplace and your relationship to the deceased. For more information on bereavement leave, read our Employment section.