Understanding Grief and Loss
At Penn State Health, we realize that our community comes to us for support in every life stage, from the joy of welcoming a newborn, in midst of sudden and chronic illness, and for help at the end of life.
The resources included here are for people experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one. Our hope is that these resources help you feel less alone in your sadness. Each can provide a connection to professionals and peers who can stand with you as you grieve.
While grief and loss can feel isolating, please know you are not alone. There is no “formula” for navigating the profound sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one. While every experience of grief is unique, there are physical, emotional and spiritual effects that are common to the grief experience. These may include:
- Physical responses to grief
- Changes in sleep patterns and appetite
- Tightness in the chest and shortness of breath
- Extreme tiredness or fatigue
- Sensitivity to noise and stimulation
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks
- Stomach pain and nausea
- Playing events from the past like a “movie”
- Emotional responses to grief
- Waves of emotion
- Spiritual responses to grief
- Questioning long-held beliefs or faith
- Feeling angry at God
- Reorganizing priorities
- Issues with forgiveness of self or others
Penn State Health Resources
Grief can be overwhelming, but there are many wonderful resources, support groups, workshops and counselors in the central Pennsylvania region dedicated to assisting those facing grief and loss in various life stages.
Email us at [email protected]. We can assist you in exploring counseling and group support, and add you to our newsletter.
Children's Hospital Resources
There are many support groups and organizations dedicated to bereaved families in the central Pennsylvania region.
For children grieving loss:
- Camp Koala
- Camp in Cumberland county for grieving children.
- Phone: 717-258-1122
- Children's Bereavement Art Group - Under the Horizon
- Highmark Caring Place
- A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, located in Dauphin and Schuylkill counties. Currently offering virtual programs and resources for grieving children.
- Phone: 866-613-4673
- Olivia's House
- Support groups and resources for children in York and Hanover.
- Phone: 717-699-1133
For adults (some may also offer children’s programs):
- Hospice of Central Pennsylvania's The Journey Program
- Resource center with support groups run by Hospice of Central Pennsylvania. Serves people in Dauphin, Schuylkill, Perry, Lebanon, Adams and Cumberland counties through in-person and virtual support groups, as well as educational and social supports.
- Phone: 717-732-1000
- Pathways Center for Grief and Loss
- Resource center with support groups run by Hospice & Community Care. Serves people in Lancaster, York, Chester, Adams and Lebanon counties, with both English and Spanish supports.
- Phone: 717-391-2413
- St. John Lutheran Church of York Grief Share Ministry
- Sweet Grace Ministries
- VNA of Hanover and Spring Grove
- Support groups in Hanover area.
- Phone: 717-637-1227
- psychologytoday.com: a database of qualified mental health professionals. Can be searched by zip code and insurance coverage.
- goodgrief.org: helpful information regarding grief and loss for all ages. Based in New Jersey.
- compassionatefriends.org: grief support after the death of a child, with regularly updated information regarding local parent support groups.
- dougy.org: the National Grief Center for Children and Families, where children, teens, young adults and families can find wonderful resources.