The announcement of the EU referendum result has unleashed a spectrum of emotion in people across the country. Some were pleased, happy, excited and celebratory, while others experienced something very different. Media interviews and social media responses from those voters who lost the result highlighted feelings of disappointment, disillusionment and fear for the future. But more than that, they spoke the language of grief, describing feelings of shock, denial, anger and sadness.
Many therapists and thanatologists have proposed grief is a process that involves passing through or between a number of stages, commonly recognised as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But of course bereavement is completely individual and, while the emotions people feel may have some commonality, the strength, duration and order they're experienced in will naturally vary. What's important in the process is that those who are grieving are given support and can speak openly about their loss.
Many clients I've worked with have spoken about coming to therapy because they don't feel able to talk about their loss with those around them, or because they feel everyone else has moved on. And it's true that too often grief is still 'the elephant in the room'. But with the predominance of social media in today's culture, perhaps we have the opportunity to change that.
With the creation of Facebook memorial pages and the ability to unite people with Twitter hashtags, we can share our grief more openly, publicly and instantly than ever before. And the EU referendum result is providing an example of that. We're seeing people pour out their grief in Facebook posts, tweets, blogs and vlogs. And perhaps in the midst of the uncertainty over what will happen next we can allow those grief emotions to be openly felt and worked through. For it's simply an amplified example of the personal bereavements we will each inevitably face in our own lives.
 Kübler-Ross, E. (2003), On Death and Dying, New York: Scribner
 Kettering, T., The Elephant In The Room, Available: http://www.bereavement.co.uk/Media-Centre/?page_id=359