Amy Kehoe knows a thing or two about grief.
Five years ago, she lost her partner Andy Jones after the car she was driving in alone flipped and caught fire after colliding with another vehicle.
Kehoe, a social worker helping at-risk youth at the time, had been living in Victoria, Australia with Jones for the previous nine years.
Jones' death flipped life on its head for Kehoe.
"When she left it just turned my whole world upside down. I have had other people in my family die but none affected me like losing her," she said.
"Losing her has been hard, but it just makes me more compassionate and gives me a deeper understanding of what it means to live and die."
Kehoe moved to Rotorua in May 2019 and while volunteering for Rotorua Hospice, noticed a need in the community for more grief and loss services.
She has since teamed up with psychotherapist Kay Ryan to organise free weekly grief support groups at the Rotorua Library.
Jones died in August 2016, eight months after Kehoe graduated.
Kehoe said Jones' belief in her was "instrumental" in gaining her social work degree. She had previously worked as a nurse.
"Because of her belief in me, I feel like she is a mentor still. She was a beautiful, beautiful giving human. Boy, it was a hard road," she said.
The new grief support groups would offer a "safe, caring and non-judgmental space" where painful stories could be shared.
"Since I have been here I have noticed a need for this type of support. I want anybody that needs a service to be able to access it," Kehoe said.
"People need somewhere to go, to feel like they are not alone. Death just changes everything. We just want people to know that we are here, meet us and build that trust up."
Ryan, who is also a member of Compassionate Communities Rotorua, Te Atawhai Aroha has more than 30 years of experience in psychotherapy.
She hoped these group sessions would help those experiencing grief release pain and open up conversations about loss, death and dying.
"We would like to create an atmosphere so that people can start to talk about what they are feeling, and not feel alone," she said.
"We grieve because we have loved. Grief is a normal reaction to loss of any kind. Sometimes talking to someone who has been through it gives us the support we need to release those deeper feelings. It is when we open our hearts to the grief we can move through it."
A Lakes DHB spokesperson said it "has a Primary Mental Health Intervention Service which provides free access to community-based mental health nurses in primary care with interventions for those with identified needs or referral to another agency as appropriate".
Other services in Rotorua are available through WAVES Bereaved by Suicide eight-week group programme, individual counselling for adults and children bereaved by suicide loss, and Growing Through Grief.
The grief support group will take place on Tuesdays, from 10-11am, in meeting room 4, Level 2 at Rotorua Library.