What To Know About Collective Grief And Its Benefits

2022 has had its share of loss and tragedy. Whether we have lost loved ones on a large scale from natural disasters, watched our family members lose their battles with COVID-19, or witnessed iconic individuals pass on unexpectedly, there have been many opportunities to grieve this year. Being alive in this tumultuous time isn't easy. One fact that none of us can ignore is that loss is a guaranteed part of the human experience. When we lose someone or multiple people who are important to us, the pain of grief can be immense. Lately, it feels like everything is extreme, and the loss of our normalcy can also impose grief on us and our loved ones.


The pandemic, war, and the loss of many people at one time to senseless crimes all require a special kind of mourning that goes beyond one or two people (via Women's Health). Our human nature pushes us toward one another for solace and understanding, and sometimes the only action that can ease our pain from this loss is being with others that feel it as strongly as we do.

What is collective grief

Because our world has been quite volatile lately, you may have noticed a need for collective grief. Grief Recovery Houston says that collective grief happens when a society, community, or country experiences extreme loss. Oftentimes it happens after a tragedy that is widespread or natural disasters that change the landscape for many people at once. If you've ever been through something of this magnitude, you may have felt compelled to gather with others who have been impacted in the same way you have. Collective grief can be intense, but it's nice to know that you are not alone in your feelings (via Cruse).


Sometimes the need to collect with others to feel like you're mourning properly can surprise us. Some say that they were surprised they felt the loss as strongly as they did, and the need to collect with others who felt the intense pang of grief caught them off guard, says Women's Health. We can see collective mourning emerge in many different ways. Usurns Online explains that collective mourning happens when we see public forums, protests, a moment of silence, social media groups collecting, and people volunteering for rebuilding when something is destroyed due to natural disasters or war.

Why we need to grief with others

It's human nature to desire collecting with others who share the same history and feelings. This is proven by the way we need to collect within communities to help one another and even our desire to gather to mourn a loved one on a small scale at a funeral. C.P.J. Field believes this comes from an internal desire to say things we may have left unsaid about the person we lost. Sharing thoughts and memories we never got to share with a loved one feels like closure to many. University of Washington says that collecting with others to grieve is healthy. This kind of active grief is a step on the road to healing and is better than trying to handle these huge feelings alone.


Even when we don't personally know the person or the people who have passed on, it's normal to feel a sense of uncertainty and loss. The media plays an integral part in this grief based on how often they give us real time updates on a tragedy or if they broadcast a funeral live (via CNN). People need to release big emotions in a healthy way, and collective grief is a beautiful example of how it's human nature to need others during times of loss.