There is power in walking in community with others who understand your grief. For veterans or military families who are experiencing the pain of losing a loved one in active duty, support groups can provide a much-needed veteran community along their healing journey. 

Many providers host groups for armed forces members and military families that address a wide array of mental health needs. These groups seek to provide support for veterans and their families as they navigate the complexities of life after service.

In this article, we will explore resources available to help remarkable veterans and their loved ones along their healing journeys.

What Is the Importance of Support Groups?

Support groups are vital throughout the healing process because they connect individuals from all walks of life who have been through shared experiences such as loss or grief. Support groups remind members that they are not alone in what they are facing and provide tools for coping after losing loved ones in service.

Support groups may be provided through a nonprofit advocacy organization or clinic, and they can be peer-led or facilitated professionally by a psychologist or nurse. Individuals who join support groups may feel less alone, gain the motivation to persevere through difficult times, learn coping strategies to address challenges, and gain a sense of empowerment or hope in the midst of loss.

Support for Loss

Loss is a shared experience amongst many military veterans and their families. Whether in active duty or retired service, there is support for veterans who are facing the pain of loss and families who have lost a loved one in active duty.

While we all process grief differently, none of us should have to face grief alone.

Organizations such as the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) provide support for anyone who has lost a remarkable loved one in active duty. TAPS also offers resources for caregivers of military veterans. Other resources provided by TAPS include suicide loss survivor assistance and grief counseling.

The Department of Defense also offers free counseling to family members of veterans who lost their lives during active duty. Organizations such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offer benefits including healthcare to surviving family members and caregivers of a veteran.

The Wounded Warrior Project is an organization that focuses on providing peer support for military veterans. These support groups can be found across the country and provide troops support through various battles including the loss of an incredible loved one. These support groups provide a much-needed community that supports veterans through their journey of grief.

Veteran Groups

Surviving veterans may face various challenges when transitioning into civilian life after service. One of these challenges can include the loss of friends with whom they served in active duty. 

For many veterans, their military friends become family as they endure hardships together while deployed. For surviving veterans facing the loss of a remarkable loved one, there are support groups and resources that can provide much-needed help through their healing journey.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs also offers bereavement counseling and care groups to veterans experiencing grief. Veteran support groups are also provided through the Wounded Warrior Project and various other programs across the country. These groups seek to address the emotions associated with grief and loss and remind veterans they are not alone.

There are also support groups and grief counseling for veterans who have lost friends to suicide. These resources are provided to military service members through organizations like TAPS. Suicide loss support at TAPS occurs in a three-stage process. These steps include stabilization, grief work, and post-traumatic growth.

The stabilization phase is when TAPS staff provides resources to those grieving suicide loss immediately after loss. Grief work is the process of guiding veterans in a healthy journey of grief. The post-traumatic growth stage helps survivors see meaning in loss and move toward recovery.

Military Family Support Groups

Military families hope they never see the day when they receive the news that they have lost a loved one in active duty. For those who are living this reality, there are a variety of resources that provide families with support in heartbreaking times.

There are a number of organizations across the country that connect military families with resources for healing from mental illness, substance abuse, and physical injuries.

TAPS connects military families with local care groups in the area. TAPS support groups are led by a peer mentor or a mental health professional that guides group discussion, though there is no formal structure to these groups. They are a place of community and comfort and a time for your voice to be heard. TAPS care groups assure military families they are not alone in times of loss.

TAPS also provides military family members with bereavement counseling for those wanting to speak with a licensed professional.

TAPS also provides programs that are geared toward children and teens who are experiencing the loss of a remarkable military family member. These youth programs are led by professionals who specialize in child development, grief support, and mental health. Youth programs provide children with the opportunity to express their emotions while developing friendships and mentorships in the process.

The American Widow Project is another organization providing support for military families experiencing loss. This organization provides surviving military spouses with peer support and resources for grief. This group emphasizes the importance of sharing stories and unifying military widows across the country.

Other Resources for Veterans

Veterans are also provided with a variety of other supports in their journey of healing.

Veteran Crisis Line

The Veteran Crisis Line is available to all veterans and families, even if they are not enrolled in VA benefits or health care. The Veteran Crisis Line provides 24/7 access to individuals who are qualified to support veterans. Responders will help connect veterans to resources that may help in their healing journey.

Vet Center

Vet Centers are a thoughtful resource for veterans seeking support in a community. These centers are community-based counseling centers that focus on helping veterans adjust to civilian life following active duty, offering services such as readjustment counseling. This may be specifically beneficial for veterans who experienced the loss of those close to them while in active duty.

Wrapping Up

There are countless resources available to veterans and their families who are experiencing loss or the after-effects of service in the military. Families and veterans can seek support in community and through various veteran services so that they are not walking alone in a difficult time.

Among service options and wellness support, support groups are an incredibly beneficial tool in the healing process. They support veterans and family members in navigating painful emotions and difficult life experiences. Support groups surround these incredible individuals with love and connectedness so they can heal from their grief and celebrate the remarkable lives of their lost loved ones.


Support groups: Make connections, get help | Mayo Clinic 

Peer Support Groups | Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

TAPS Suicide Loss Survivor Assistance | TAPS