Bereavement - help and support
Coping with loss
Everyone experiences grief differently and people may feel one or more of the following symptoms after a loss:
- physical symptoms
It's completely normal to feel any of these things in the first stages of grief.
NHS Choices and Cruse Bereavement Care have helpful advice on bereavement and how to cope.
The most important thing to help you heal is having support from other people. This can be family, friends, colleagues, support groups or counsellors. We have information on organisations who can help in our service provider directory.
Supporting someone else
If you are supporting someone who has lost a loved one, you may need advice on how best to help them. While you can't take away the pain of loss, you can provide much needed comfort and support. Often just being there to listen is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Here are some useful suggestions of things you can do and things to avoid:
- be there for the person who is grieving
- listen to them
- encourage them to talk
- let them know it's okay to show their feelings, rather than putting on a front
- offer practical help, such as shopping, cleaning or helping with funeral arrangements
- tell somebody how they 'should' be feeling, everybody grieves differently
- avoid someone who has been bereaved
- tell someone it's time to move on, there is no time limit for grieving and it varies from person to person
- be alarmed if the person does not want to talk or gets angry or upset
For further advice, Cruse Bereavement Care can provide support. We also have information on organisations who can help you in our service provider directory.
Support for children
Winston’s Wish is a national charity aimed at supporting bereaved young people and their families.
Mosaic provides help and advice for bereaved children, young people and their families in Dorset.
Child Bereavement UK is a national organisation providing help to children and young people (up to age 25), parents, and families.
Grieving and isolation
Grief is a natural response to loss and it is the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love dies. There is no right or wrong way in which to grieve. It is a highly personal issue which can affect people in many different ways.
The Covid-19 pandemic does however, raise some unique issues that are different to a typical bereavement:
- being bereaved can be an extremely lonely time and talking with those we rely on and trust most is one of the most helpful ways to cope. Grief at this time is therefore further impacted by the current health context and self-isolation, shielding and social distancing
- funeral arrangements are different so your experiences of being able to say goodbye have changed
- there is likely to be increased anxiety if the person has died of Covid-19 about the potential for you and other family members to contract the virus due to its infectious nature
- the pandemic is widespread in the news and media so this constant stream of new and distressing information may mean you find yourself distracted from dealing with your grief.
Remember losing a loved person is part of life. Death and therefore bereavement is a normal human experience and whilst it is a difficult experience, the vast majority of people will cope with it without the need for specialist intervention. Understanding the grieving process and what to expect is very powerful and will help you and others to restore feelings of safety and security.
Talking to other people can help the process especially being able to talk with those people you rely on and trust.
National Bereavement Partnership COVID-19 Hub has been set up to provide information, advice and support those individuals struggling on a difficult and emotional journey in these unprecedented times.