Health and Grief

How we wrestle with grief — and ultimately push ahead to a new life — varies among widows. But many of us who need help to bounce back are not getting it, health experts warn, and that jeopardizes our mental and physical health.

Toni Miles, director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia, is embarking on a research project to learn how loss affects health and what to do about it.

She suspects grief is behind much of the nation’s obesity, depression, diabetes, smoking and hospitalization.

Finding support can be the key to a person’s recovery and acceptance of loss, said the American Cancer Society. Support can come from friends, physicians, spiritual leaders or mental health professionals.

Miles agrees kids are especially vulnerable: “Time doesn’t heal all wounds,” she said. “People in public health need to be discussing this more. There can be healthy outcomes from loss. It’s up to us to find ways to make that happen more.”

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