Sudden, Traumatic Death Services

The death of a loved one is a devastating experience that often leaves people feeling completely alone. It can seem impossible to cope with the grief and the pain following an unnatural death. Feelings of shock and disbelief are normal. Some other reactions may include:

  • Disturbing memories/dreams
  • Guilt
  • Sense of helplessness
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Inability to concentrate or complete routine tasks
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Deep sadness
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Depression

Virginia Mason Grief Services offers individual and group services after sudden traumatic death (such as homicide, suicide, accident and overdose).

  • Short-term individual therapy (in-person and via telehealth)
  • Ten-week traumatic death support groups: no cost to join, and pre-registration is required (telehealth only at this time)
  • Information and referral
  • Community, regional and national trainings (in-person and via telehealth)
  • Community critical incident debriefings (in-person and via telehealth)

Grief Groups for Sudden, Traumatic Deaths

Virginia Mason offers free grief groups for individuals impacted by a sudden death. Each 10-week, two-hour group has approximately seven individuals.

Groups are held via telehealth at this time and will resume at the Virginia Mason Seattle campus or at one of the regional medical centers when it is safe to do so based on Washington state and CDC guidelines.

An in-person or telehealth assessment is required and is not a guarantee that interested participants will be placed in group. If placement in group is confirmed, attendance at all 10 sessions is required.

Each group is led by an experienced, caring therapist who guides conversations on topics including: how you’ve changed since the death, new family dynamics, changes in your social supports, and religious or spiritual beliefs. Supportive techniques are used to help move through the difficult emotions surrounding the death.

Upcoming grief groups for Sudden, Traumatic Death: 

  • February, 2022 – April, 2022: Dates/times/logistics to be determined

Use our Sudden Traumatic Death Therapy form to receive more information. Or call Grief Services at (206) 223-6398.

Traumatic Death Community Outreach

Virginia Mason Grief Services provides traumatic death community outreach to organizations, including:

  • High Schools: debrief and consultation
  • Housing Organizations: debrief and consultation
  • Retirement Communities: overview of grief responses, debrief and consultation
  • First Responders (Fire Department, Law Enforcement, Chaplains and EMTs): overview of grief responses, debrief and consultation

For more information, please complete our request for services form, or call Laura Jeffs at (206) 223-6398.


“This was a tremendous help with processing the deep and intolerable pain that comes from the violent and sudden death of a loved one. I don’t know how I’d be living my life without having had this service to help cope. I’m very fortunate to have had the help I found at Grief Services.” — CLIENT