The death of a close friend will significantly affect a person's physical, psychological and social wellbeing up to at least four years, says a study.
The study, published in journal PLOS ONE, shows that the trauma caused by the death of a close friend can endure four times longer than previous studies suggested.
The researchers warned that a lack of recognition about the time it takes people to mourn a close friend is leading to inadequate support made available during the grieving process.
The research involved 26,515 Australians, of whom 9,586 had experienced the death of at least one close friend.
"The study found people grieving a close friend suffered a significant decline in physical health, mental health, emotional stability and social life," said study lead author Wai-Man (Raymond) Liu, Associate Professor at Australian National University (ANU).
"We found there are serious declines in the health and wellbeing of people who had experienced the death of a close friend any time in the last four years," Liu added.
"We all know that when someone loses a partner, parent or child, that person is likely to suffer through a significant grieving period. Yet death of a close friend, which most of us will experience, is not afforded the same level of seriousness by employers, doctors, and the community," Liu added.