Canadians Struggling with Guilt, Anger, and Sleep Loss: Why They Need More Support for Grief Processing

Guilt, anger, loss of sleep: Canadians say they need more help processing grief

“Over 4,000 Canadians spoke up about their experiences with grief in a recent survey conducted by the Canadian Grief Alliance (CGA), shedding light on the lack of resources and support available for those navigating loss. The findings reveal a pressing need for increased public education and accessible mental health services to address the diverse range of emotions that accompany grief.

The Silent Struggle of Grief

According to CGA co-chair Paul Adams, many individuals grappling with grief feel isolated and unsupported, lacking avenues to express their feelings and connect with others who understand their pain. A staggering 50% of survey respondents admitted to feeling unsupported in their grief, while over 80% expressed a desire to be able to openly discuss their loss. This highlights a significant gap between societal expectations and the reality of grief, which is often characterized by complex emotions beyond just sorrow.

Adams emphasized that grief is not a linear process with a definitive timeline, dispelling common misconceptions that suggest otherwise. Guilt, anger, irritability, appetite changes, and sleep disturbances are just some of the many symptoms individuals may experience while mourning a loved one. The idea that grief should be resolved within a few weeks or a year is not only unrealistic but also adds unnecessary pressure on those who are grieving.

Hope for Change and Healing

The recommendations derived from the grief survey will be presented to Health Canada in 2025, with the aim of advocating for enhanced public education, better training for professionals, and increased access to counseling services. Adams stressed the importance of providing adequate support for those who may not find it within their immediate circle of family and friends, particularly in rural areas where resources are scarce.

Inequities in Grief Support

Maria Fiala, communications manager for CGA, shared her personal journey of loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, where she faced a series of heartbreaking events that exacerbated her grief. Fiala highlighted the widespread impact of unprocessed grief on mental health, emphasizing that untreated feelings of loss can pave the way for mental illness.

Fiala’s call for simple yet profound support for those mourning underscores the importance of acknowledging someone’s pain without trying to fix it or downplay their emotions. Providing a listening ear, empathy, and validation can make a world of difference for someone navigating the turbulent waters of grief.


The voices of grieving individuals must be heard, and their needs must be met with compassion and understanding. By fostering a more open and empathetic dialogue around grief, society can create a safer and more supportive environment for those in mourning. It is time to bridge the gap between perception and reality, and to offer a helping hand to those who are silently struggling with the weight of loss.”



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