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East Texas grief partners give tips on how to deal with grief during holidays

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Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 1:03 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The holiday season is a time of celebration and traditions, but with those traditions and missing a loved one, can come grief.

“Grief comes in waves. The holidays makes those waves bigger,” said Casey Cockrell, the minister of Discipleship at First Baptist Church and a GriefShare partner.

Cockrell shared coping methods including setting a plan, realizing some traditions have to end or be adjusted, and getting rest when needed.

“If you get invited to a party instead of saying, ‘I’ll be there,’ you can say, ‘I’ll plan to be there,’” Cockrell said. “So if grief overwhelms you, then you can step back and go, ‘I don’t think that’s good for me to go to that.’”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the holidays negatively impact mental health. In 2014, 64 percent of Americans with mental illness said the holidays make their conditions worse. This year, three in five Americans feel mental health is negatively impacted by the holidays.

“Here in East Texas we’ve seen an uptick in the stress of people, and this holiday season just only goes to just make some of that a little bit worse,” said Jason Pointer, the crime victim services program director.

And adding the pandemic? “So COVID really went in and tore many of those resources and relationships completely apart, and for many of us, it left us without the ability to really cope and to deal effectively with those deep-seated emotions,” said Jim McKee, the executive director of Crisis Response Ministry.

In a KFF Health Tracking Poll, 1 in 10 adults in the US reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in 2019. During the pandemic? That is now 4 in 10 adults in the US reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression.

When the time is right, they advise you seek help with a grief group, a counselor, or a friend. Crisis Response Ministry shared grief resources.

Casey Cockrell, Minister of Discipleship First Baptist Church and GriefShare partner, shares coping methods for grief during the holidays.

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