Top Three Things Not to Say at a Funeral…

Man comforting friend“At least he’s not suffering anymore.”
“Everything happens for a reason.
“She’s in a better place now.”

We mean well, we really do, but it’s still difficult to know how best to offer care, compassion and practical support to a friend or family member who is grieving or depressed and ditch the well-intentioned clichés. Licensed clinical professional counselor Yoli Holmes with Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois in Jacksonville offers these tips for constructive ways to help:

  • Don’t offer answers or advice on how to “feel better quickly.” Instead, simply let them know you are there to listen, and then be there when they call.
  • Be prepared to step back and allow them space to grieve in their own way, even if it is different than how you would handle the situation.
  • If you offer support, be sure you have the time and energy to provide that support. Clear your calendar. A shallow offer of support will be damaging if you are not willing or able to follow through.

If you are concerned about a friend or loved one becoming clinically depressed, Holmes suggests encouraging them to seek professional mental health services. Gather names, addresses and phone numbers for the individual and suggest they call for assistance.

The Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois has locations in Springfield, Jacksonville and Lincoln. Individuals may be eligible for therapy, psychiatry, case management or an employment program called Individual Placement and Support. Any or all of these services can help an individual process grief and help them return to their normal level of functioning.