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What is grief?

Grief is how we react to loss. Grief can feel overwhelming when you experience it, but it’s a normal part of life. We all experience some level of grief when we go through something that upsets us, like a loved one dying, suddenly losing a job, getting divorced or surviving a traumatic event or disaster (like the COVID-19 pandemic). You may have heard there are stages to grief, like anger and denial. But everyone grieves differently and at different times1. How you grieve may be different from people you know. You could feel numb or sad or angry. You may not feel anything until months later. You may also experience physical symptoms of grief, like not being able to eat. People who are grieving may feel like the pain will never end. But over time, your grief will feel less intense. It may take several months before you start to feel better.


How can grief affect my health and well-being?

Although many of us associate grief with feelings of sadness or crying, grieving can affect your whole body. People have a greater risk for heart attack in the first 24 hours after a loved one’s death2. The risk is even higher for people who already have heart issues, and adults over 60 experience a greater risk for stroke after facing a loss. Grief can also trigger your body’s fight or flight response and increase your feelings of stress. Stress can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, mental and emotional challenges and more3.


What if my feelings of grief don’t get better over time?

If your grief doesn’t start to feel more manageable over time or even feels more intense, you may be experiencing what is called prolonged grief disorder. Generally, people start to feel more able to move forward with life after six months to a year. But for some people, the intense pain may last years. If you are experiencing prolonged grief disorder, you may4:

  • Have nightmares or disturbing thoughts
  • Feel unable to deal with daily life
  • Feel extremely angry about your loss
  • Feel bitter
  • Feel envious of people who are not grieving
  • Feel like you don’t enjoy life anymore
  • Feel deep loneliness and pain you just can’t shake, even months later
  • Not want to be reminded of a loved one you have lost

If you think you may be dealing with prolonged grief disorder, you may want to get help to get through it. Start with your primary care doctor. Grief is a process and a normal part of life, but you don’t have to be stuck in it.


Where can I turn for help to cope with grief?

Start with self-help. This is often an important first step. Try going for a walk, practicing prayer or meditation, or getting extra sleep. If you prefer digital self-help, there are a wide range of self-help apps available.

Reach out to a friend or loved one. It can be tough to ask for help, but maybe there’s a trusted friend you’d feel okay talking with. 

Talk with your doctor. Don’t be afraid to talk to your primary care doctor about your grief because mental health and physical health are connected. They can recommend a therapist or specialist who can help.

Florida Blue Centers: Our community specialists at our Florida Blue Centers can help you find a mental health specialist in your community. You don’t have to be a Florida Blue member to get help from a community specialist. Visit your local center, call 1-877-352-5830 or learn more at

Click here to watch some short videos about how our Community Specialists can help.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, use 988 to call, text or chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Here are some more resources you can try if you‘re a Florida Blue member:

  • Call our care partner Lucet at 1-866-287-9569. Let them know your needs and they will help you find a therapist in your community or available for a virtual visit. Virtual visits can eliminate travel time to see the therapist, making it much easier to fit a conversation with a therapist into your busy schedule.
  • Try using meQuilibrium — an online mental well-being program designed to help you face each day with confidence. By using meQuilibrium, you can build resilience, learn ways to combat stress, find out your stress score and learn your stress triggers. It’s available at no extra cost with most health plans. Look for meQuilibrium in the Find & Get Care section of your member account. Click the Mental Well-Being tab and scroll to meQuilibrium to get started.
  • If you’re eligible for our care programs, reach out to your care manager for more information on mental health care. With the BlueForMe app, you can do it through your smart device.




1 U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

2 American Heart Association News

3 American Heart Association News

4 American Psychiatric Association


meQulibrium is an independent company contracted by Florida Blue to provide health and wellness services and resources to members.

Florida Blue has entered into an arrangement with Wellframe to provide members with care decision support services, information and other services. All decisions that require or pertain to independent professional medical/clinical judgement or training, or the need for medical services, are solely the member’s responsibility and the responsibility of their physicians and other health care providers. 
Wellframe is an independent company that provides online services to Florida Blue members through the BlueforMe app.


Florida Blue contracts with Lucet to provide behavioral health services.  


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