Support Us

Review: What’s Offered & Who It’s Right For

Published – December 17, 2020 Updated – February 22, 2021

Actively Moving Forward is a virtual community bringing grieving people together to heal from loss. It’s a website and app that connects mourners with others in bereavement in their age range and shared life situations for positive growth through loss. Here, discover all that AMF is and does to see whether you may benefit from joining the AMF community.

What Is Actively Moving Forward?

Actively Moving Forward is an app and program published by the non-profit organization HealGrief. AMF is not a stand-alone app but is part of a larger, highly credible group dedicated to providing resources, support, and connections so people can cope with loss and thrive. Originally a community-based group located on a handful of college campuses to support college students grieving the loss of a loved one, AMF was embraced by HealGrief and brought under its umbrella to reach as many people as possible to support connections.

Actively Moving Forward offers some helpful resources and activities on its website, but its community is primarily app-based. As HealGrief founder and president Fran Solomon explains, today’s young adults grew up with technology. Their devices are part of who they are and how they operate in the world, and they want a digital, 24/7 connection. Because AMF’s purpose is to serve this group, they seek to do so in a way that meets their distinct needs and desires. AMF has responded to requests and has expanded to serve adults aged 30 years and older, as well as other groups, too.

The AMF groups, programs, and resources help people create meaning in mourning in a way that resonates with each of its age-based communities. Its focus is not on wallowing or being stuck in grief, but instead, as a place to have conversations, give and receive support, honor loved ones, cope with grief, and move forward actively. Through AMF, people can acknowledge their grief and all of their feelings, embracing them as they are rather than suppressing them. The app supports positivity and action in a healthy manner. It doesn’t offer false positives, and here you don’t have to pretend you’re not hurting. You get to experience everything authentically and come to reframe your loss in a positive, healthy manner by celebrating the depth of your feelings and the love you feel for your deceased loved one.

Strengths of Actively Moving Forward

One of the many strengths of AMF is that it meets people where they are. Solomon indicates that many of today’s young adults don’t want to sit in a room at a set time and limited way just talking about their feelings. They want to be able to connect wherever they are, whenever they need to, and they want to actively create meaning in their experiences. Solomon describes some of the activity ideas generated in the community discussions that members have done to honor their loved ones in meaningful ways: cooking their loved one’s favorite foods with others and sharing stories, going hiking and writing the loved one’s name on a rock and placing it in a special location, or holding a book drive and donating the books to a library in honor of someone’s mother who was a librarian in life. The AMF communities facilitate this kind of meaningful, healing action in a way that resonates with people in each age-based community.

The app format allows AMF to be flexible in meeting the needs of members. Programs, conversations, and groups follow a drop-in format rather than a structured, time-limited schedule. Thus, you can come and go as you need to rather than having to arrange your life around AMF’s offerings. Get the type of support, programs and resources you need and connect with others experiencing similar situations on your terms.

When supported by a community of caring individuals who understand each other through shared experiences, people can develop coping skills and find meaning through loss so they can actively move forward while continuing to honor and cherish the memory of their loved ones.

Who Is Actively Moving Forward Right For?

Actively Moving Forward serves specific groups:

  • College students

  • All young adults aged 18-30 years

  • Adults older than 30

  • Professionals who assist these groups with coping with loss and grieving

  • Teens and support centers

The AMF community for college students brings together students who are mourning the loss of a loved one while simultaneously dealing with the college environment. Young adults who aren’t attending college are offered an AMF community that is specific to their own needs. They can interact with each other and receive support for dealing with a loss while juggling their own sets of demands. Young adults can use the website to get resources for their needs (college students or all young adults), and the app brings them together in the community for grieving young adults.

In response to increasing requests for a community to support people aged 30 years or older, AMF now has a community for adults of all ages. Grieving adults can join and give and receive support to and from other adults also dealing with loss.

Professionals, too, can join AMF to gain information and resources to better serve grieving clients. They can access their own dedicated community to connect with and support each other as they work with young adults and adults to help them process loss and move forward.

Actively Moving Forward now offers a community for teens and support centers. This community, though, is mostly designed to bring together people who serve teens so they can easily collaborate for the benefit of grieving adolescents.

When someone joins AMF, they join the specific community that applies to them and can connect with others in the same developmental stage or life situation. This way they can directly interact with others who understand what they’re experiencing on a deep level as well as access the most useful resources designed specifically for them.

Who May Want an Alternative to Actively Moving Forward?

Actively Moving Forward is an outstanding resource for grieving younger and older adults , as well as professionals supporting them. This helpful app, however, may not be useful for everyone. Three groups in particular will benefit from an alternative to AMF:

Children & Adolescents

Children and teens under the age of 18 have distinct developmental needs that this app is not designed to meet, and, when dealing with a loss of a loved one, they need in-person support and monitoring. To the app’s credit, they are open about the age groups they support and don’t claim to be a resource for children.

The AMF community for teens is primarily a collaboration with support centers so those groups that help grieving teens can communicate and access valuable resources. The Children’s Bereavement Center, an in-person support organization located in and around Miami, offers a list of resources for children and teens.

People Experiencing Complicated Grief

While loss can be extremely difficult to deal with, grief itself is not a mental health problem but is a normal response to the loss of a loved one. With support and time, most people come to accept their loss and live positively in spite of it. Sometimes, though, people have trouble adjusting to the loss and experience what’s known as complicated grief. Complicated grief isn’t currently a mental health diagnosis but instead is a term referring to difficulties recovering from a loss beyond the typical mourning experience.

People experiencing complicated grief don’t feel better with time but instead become stuck at one or more of the stages of mourning, and after a year, continue to struggle and move forward with their lives.1Complicated grief can interfere with someone’s ability to work or engage in social relationships and can lead to suicidal ideation or behavior, substance misuse, and serious medical conditions.

Consequently, complicated grief is being considered by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder in its own right, and currently referred to as persistent complex bereavement disorder.2 People experiencing complicated grief would benefit more from mental health therapy such as grief counselingdesigned to help with mourning than they would from an online service or app.

Anyone in a Mental Health Emergency

Actively Moving Forward provides support and encouragement. It is not a crisis service. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s important to call 9-1-1, go directly to your local hospital’s emergency department, or visit or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

How to Use Actively Moving Forward

To join a community and access the resources and connections in the Actively Moving Forward app, it’s necessary to register through HealGrief online. Every participant must register to receive access to the appropriate community in the app. The purpose of this is to vet people who wish to use AMF to ensure that they are legitimate humans with genuine intent.

Each registrant is personally reviewed, verified, and entered into the system. For the integrity of the app and safety of the community members, people running AMF don’t want to leave this important task up to a computerized system, so they spend time thoroughly checking potential participants, ensuring that their phone number or email matches either their own name or their emergency contact’s name. Once approved, the person receives an email invitation and instructions for how to join the AMF app.

Steps to register for and use Actively Moving Forward are clear and easy to follow:

Step 1: Hop Online & Follow the Link to Register

Visit HealGrief’s dedicated website Actively Moving Forward and click the box that prompts you to “Join a Community of Others Who Understand.” Follow the clear steps to register.

Step 2: Complete the Registration Form & Submit

Once you’ve clicked the box, you’re taken to a page with steps to register for the AMF App.  Here, the first step asks you to click a box to go to the SurveyMonkey registration form where you will complete some basic information. The information is gathered and used internally by the AMF folks. Your contact information will not be visible to others on the app. Submit the form when you’ve completed it. It will automatically be sent to AMF administrators for review.

Step 3: Receive an Email, Download the App, & Sign In

Once your registration has been approved (you’ve been verified as a legitimate non-robot who fits an AMF community), you’ll receive a personal email welcoming you to the community. This message will contain instructions for how to access the app. Once you’re approved, you are pre-registered under the email address you’ve provided.

You’ll simply:

  1. Search “Actively Moving Forward” in your app store and install it.

  2. Open the app and enter your email address as prompted

  3. Enter a password that you create in this step

  4. You’ll be redirected to your own profile page. Complete your information and add a photo to facilitate connections.

  5. Click continue when you’re done. You can edit your profile any time you wish.

  6. Join the community that fits you.

  7. Begin exploring, connecting, and accessing all the resources and features mentioned above!

Step 4: Join Your Community & Begin Actively Moving Forward

Once you download and open the Actively Moving Forward App, you’ll be able to join the community that fits you. Within each community is a wealth of opportunities to connect, learn, and grow. The exact offerings differ slightly within each group, with content tailored for the specific membership (young adults, adults over 30, professionals, or teens and support centers).

In your community, you can do things such as:

  • Actively engage to receive and give support by connecting with members, joining virtual conversations and/or support groups, or even use the “shake” feature.

  • Shaking your phone will cause a geographically close member’s phone to vibrate so you can chat with each other—your addresses and specific location are not revealed.

  • Use the chat feature to message members individually, a feature that acts like in-app texting

  • Honor and remember your loved one in meaningful ways

  • Access information, tools, and resources to help you cope with loss accordant with your age group and life situation (eg, various readings, informative programs with professional presenters such as Let’s Talk Death, and links to valuable external resources). You can even download content for your own personal information and use.

Confidentiality & Privacy

Actively Moving Forward is respectful of its members’ privacy and confidentiality. While you must provide a valid email address when you register, it is used only by administrators during their vetting process to ensure that people who have no business being in this community receive access. You’ll receive an email notification to access the app, but your email address is not shared publicly. You are allowed and encouraged to complete your profile with information about yourself and a photo, but you are in control of what you share.

The privacy and respect AMF values extend beyond keeping your external contact information private. The people running AMF value the personal grief experiences of all members and do not allow outside entities to violate this space. Advertising isn’t part of AMF, so when you use the app, you won’t be bombarded with sales pitches for products or services. “We don’t want to capitalize on people’s grief,” asserts Solomon. AMF is funded exclusively by grants and donations in order to prevent their members from solicitation.

Actively Moving Forward does, however, form meaningful partnerships with multiple sources in order to provide a wealth of resources and options for their members. You may see information from outside groups, but these are there solely for the members’ benefit and are not paid ads or links. HealGrief and Actively Moving Forward seek to equip people with access to a wide variety of quality resources rather than keeping their members locked into the app because HealGrief and AMF exist exclusively to help, not to profit from or control their members. This app truly facilitates the ability of its members to experience grief, grow through it, and actively move forward with meaning and peace—without being harassed or exposed.

Pros & Cons of Actively Moving Forward Based on User Reviews

Actively Moving Forward has not received a high number of public reviews, likely due to the nature of the app. The app is very personal and private and therefore less likely than other apps to generate reviews that can be read by the general public. There are indeed some reviews, however, on app stores like the Google Play Store, the App Store for Apple, and Facebook. Here is a summary of the pros and cons of AMF based on these reviews.

Pros

Reviewers appreciate the positive connections with similar people who understand them. People also are pleased with the many support resources provided in the app and on the website as well as the useful references and programs such as grief talks.

Cons

At the time of this writing, AMF had only received one unfavorable review, a two-star rating given in the App Store for Apple. The reviewer indicated displeasure with the fact that you can’t join directly from the app but must register through the main website. They also expressed frustration that they were unable to find readings and resources on the app but could only join support groups. (It’s worth noting that once you register online and then join the group that is appropriate for you on the app, you do have access to all the resources available for that group.)

Final Thoughts on Actively Moving Forward

Actively Moving Forward meets mourners where they are and helps them cope in ways that are useful and meaningful to each unique individual. By bringing similar people together in support through loss, AMF lets people learn from and support each other.

According to founder Fran Solomon, one of the big difficulties experienced in grieving is isolation. Those who experience the death of a loved one often feel adrift and alone, and after the initial loss, early supporters tend to drop away. Furthermore, it can be hard to know how to move on with life or even to feel okay doing so. The confusion and loneliness following a death can lead to isolation. Without support, the very normal human experience that is grief can become a mental health challenge that negatively impacts life. As Solomon emphasizes, AMF “is a first intervention to that isolation.”

The focus of AMF is positivity and healing. It is a steady, gentle presence. With your AMF community, you can acknowledge your loss and keep your deceased loved one close at heart while also finding the strength, desire, skills, and support to move forward in life. Actively Moving Forward provides hope in grief, a sense of order and calm amidst loss and upheaval. It’s about forward movement and resurrection. With AMF, you have a community of supporters who carry each other through a very difficult time in a healthy, meaningful way.

WRITTEN BY: Tanya J. Peterson, NCC

REVIEWED BY: Naveed Saleh, MD, MS

 2 SOURCES

Choosing Therapy strives to provide our readers with mental health content that is accurate and actionable. We have high standards for what can be cited within our articles. Acceptable sources include government agencies, universities and colleges, scholarly journals, industry and professional associations, and other high-integrity sources of mental health journalism. Learn more by reviewing our full editorial policy.

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Complicated grief. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complicated-grief/symptoms-causes/syc-20360374
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, (Fifth ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

COPYRIGHTS © 2018 HealGrief All rights reserved.