Keywords: Covid-19, grief, Prolonged Grief Disorder

I usually do not make these blog posts very personal, and this is not going to be an exception, but this topic is one that I have some connection with and I think, sadly, it impacted and continues to impact the great majority. After talking about grief in class and the fact that it can be diagnosed as a disorder I started to read through some recent articles which focused more in particular on grief during this challenging time we are living, during the pandemic of Covid-19.

The last two years everybody’s lives were turned completely upside-down, we have experienced social isolation, complete lockdowns, fear of loss of job, financial stability and loss of loved ones. Recent research in areas affected by the pandemic reported significantly increased levels of anxiety and depression, yet one of the most pressing mental issues might be grief, more specifically Prolonged Grief Disorder (Eisma et al., 2020).

Grief is a very natural response to losing a loved one, it is a painful and overwhelming process, where individuals have to accept the loss and adapt to the new circumstances which might take some time. Although it is a natural process, there might be some factors that trouble the resolution of the loss. These can be, for example, the importance of the relationship with the person who passed away, the circumstances and context of death, survivor’s guilt and others (Goveas & Shear, 2020).           

During the pandemic, this already hard process turned into an even more difficult one. The losses were mostly sudden, unexpected and seemingly preventable, as well as, the restrictions mostly banned all visits at hospitals and thus the deceased were most likely alone before they passed away (Goveas & Shear, 2020). Furthermore, the restrictions about physical distancing, funerals, rituals were not allowed or they were not fulfilling their function, which is the social support that is essential for the bereaved.                                                                                              sourceThe Post Pandemic 'New Normal' May Come with Grief

The mentioned items are all risk factors that might obstruct the adaptation and might result in  prolonged grief disorder  (PGD). The main characteristics of this condition include disabling yearning for the deceased, constant thoughts of preoccupation and memories of the person who passed away along with grief-related emotional pain which enhance the occurrence of impairments in healthy functioning and last at least 6 months (Goveas & Shear, 2020). The diagnosis of PGD is not yet classified in the DSM-5, but was proposed to be included in the upcoming revised edition. However, in 2018 it was already included in the ICD-11 (Eisma et al., 2020). 

It is anticipated that after Covid-19, PGD is going to be one of the most pressing issues in mental health. Therefore, research must focus on treatment possibilities and training of health professionals, ideally in both face-to-face and virtual formats in order to meet the needs of people suffering from PGD and providing them with sufficient support (Eisma et al., 2020).


Eisma, M. C., Boelen, P. A., & Lenferink, L. I.M. (2020). Prolonged grief disorder following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Psychiatry Research, 288, 113031.

Goveas, J. S., & Shear, K. (2020). Grief and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Older Adults. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 28(10), 1119-1125.

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