Seeking support

Although grief is an intensely personal experience, most people find they do need some support from other people. This may be from your family, friends or others in your social circle, particularly those who supported you while the person was dying. Sometimes it helps to talk to people who aren’t directly involved in your life.

    − Lee

Learn more about:

Peer support services

Sometimes you may feel that your family and friends don’t really understand your grief or aren’t interested in hearing about it anymore, or you might feel that you can’t be entirely honest about your feelings with them.

Meeting other people who have had experiences similar to yours can be worthwhile. You may feel supported and relieved to know that others understand what you are going through and that you are not alone, even if you don’t feel like opening up right away, feel shy, or worry that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say. Over time, most people get used to peer support and find it helpful.

There are many ways for you and your family to connect with others for mutual support and to share information. These include:

  • face-to-face support groups, which often meet in community centres or hospitals
  • online discussion forums where people can connect with each other at any time – visit Cancer Council Online Community 
  • telephone support groups for bereavement, facilitated by trained health professionals.

In these support settings, people often feel they can speak openly and share tips. You may find that you are comfortable talking about your
experiences, your relationships with friends and family, and your hopes and fears for the future. Ask your nurse or social worker or call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to find out about suitable support groups and peer support programs in your area.

Getting professional help

Many people cope with grief with the support of family and friends and sometimes a support group. You may want to seek professional help if you are finding your pain unbearable, if you are struggling to function after a time, or if you feel stuck and unable to move forward.

Bereavement counselling can help you learn to understand your reactions to the natural course of grief. You can also explore a range of strategies for adjusting to the changes in your life. The counselling is usually provided by a professional counsellor, therapist or psychologist with experience in supporting people who are grieving. Counselling may not be appropriate immediately or very soon after the death, so if you feel unable to function at that time, talk to your doctor first.

Finding help

  • Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or ask your palliative care team for help accessing bereavement counselling.
  • For confidential phone counselling, call GriefLine on 1300 845 745, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78. Children and young adults can call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
  • If you need crisis support or are feeling suicidal, contact Lifeline 13 11 14.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on understanding grief

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit:


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in April 2020
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Caring for someone with cancer
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Cancer Council Online Community
A community forum – a safe place to share stories, get tips and connect with people who understand

Cancer information

Emotions and cancer
People who are affected by cancer in some way can experience a range of emotions, that can be very challenging to deal with at times. Learn more.

End of life 
This information may help you better cope with end of life, or support someone who may be dying with cancer