Bereavement support

Being bereaved can be one of the loneliest experiences you or someone you love may go through. Talking, and being with friends and family, can be one of the most helpful ways to cope after someone close to us dies.

The current isolation and social distancing can make the feelings of sadness and grief much more intense. You may continue to live in the house that you shared with the person who has died, or you may be isolated away from people who you would otherwise turn to for support.

You may have children or other family members in the house who you feel you need to be strong for, or indeed you may have children who have experienced loss. The combination of these factors can mean that feelings of grief aren’t fully expressed.

There are many organisations that guide you through the process of arranging a funeral, and where to seek support.

You don’t have to be alone with your grief. The suggestions below might help you to look after yourself following a bereavement.

  • You could call, text, email or write to friends and family. They may feel helpless to support you as they are unable to fix your grief so maybe think about what support you need. For a lot of people, sharing happy and funny stories about the person who has died, can be very helpful. For others it is knowing there is someone who doesn’t mind you calling at more unusual hours to talk.  
  • Look after yourself. Although we are being asked to stay indoors, you must look after yourself, get some rest and not lock yourself away.
    • Get some fresh air – simply opening a window can help.
    • If you are allowed, do some daily permitted exercise outdoors or even indoors.
    • The routine of getting up, dressed and eating meals at the usual time can be helpful.
  • It’s OK to have days when your grief isn’t all consuming. Try not to feel guilty if you have days like this. It is all a normal part of grieving. Likewise, it’s normal to have days when you struggle more than others. On these days, reach out to others who might also be finding it difficult, you may be able to help each other. You could also contact friends, family or neighbours for their support.

Advice, guidance and support is available from the following national organisations:

Local Support is also available from:

  • the Listening Service at Branches offers one to one telephone support for people who have experienced loss and / or have mental health concerns
  • Telford Mind have trained staff and volunteers who can assist with emotional support
  • Cruse Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin offer bereavement support over the telephone, or one to one support via Zoom for adults and children
  • Impact An Active Listening service will be provided by qualified, experienced counsellors. This can be delivered either online or on the telephone. This support is available to adults and young people
  • Merulae offer virtual support groups for adults. The sessions will focus on mental health and loss
  • Samaritans trained listeners are there to support 24 hours, 7 days a week for people who are in emotional distress
  • Beam offer emotional support to children and young people.

You might have friends or family that have been bereaved and you may be unsure of how best to support them. You can't take someone's grief away from them, but you can help to make them feel less alone.

Stay in contact:

  • being with someone who is grieving can be difficult. But your continued support and friendship can make a huge difference
  • ask the person how they want to talk – would they prefer a phone call, a video call? Would they prefer to write their thoughts and feelings down?
  • encourage them to talk about how they are feeling.

Advice, guidance and support is available from the following national organisations:

  • is a charitable movement of people across the UK who are passionate about enabling the bereaved to receive the support that they need – in easing the pain together
  • the Good Grief Trust aims to help people find useful information, advice and encouraging stories from others to help in the most difficult of times and to make the future that bit brighter.

Children and young people will be hugely affected by what is going on around them at this difficult time. Children and young people often find it helpful to talk about what is happening. It helps them to make sense of events and feel less afraid. No matter how we protect them, it’s likely that many children will hear reports in the media or overhear adults talking about deaths due to coronavirus, or the risk of death from becoming ill with the virus.

A child’s understanding of death will vary according to their age and stage of development.

It is important to be honest with children and young people. Children tend to pick up when questions are avoided and may then imagine all kinds of things, causing further anxiety. It’s not necessary to go into detail but it will be helpful to explain things that affect them directly.

Keeping to typical, daily routines can be difficult, but they are also very reassuring to children when everything else seems to be disrupted.

Advice, guidance and support is available from the following national organisations:

  • Child Bereavement UK offers advice about supporting children through the pandemic. The Child Bereavement UK Helpline continues to operate as normal, providing confidential support, information and guidance to families and professionals.
  • Childline on 0800 11 11 for 24-hour confidential support to children and young people up to the 19th birthday.
  • Winstons wish offers great advice on how to help children at this time. How to tell them someone has died, how to talk to them about the pandemic and also a helpline if you need to ask for advice. 
  • Young Minds on 85258 for 24/7 crisis support.
    • Text YM to 85258. (Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus)
  • The Century Foundation The Compassionate Friends offer support to families after the death of a child of any age and from any cause, call: 0345 123 2304.

Local Services who offer support, advice and guidance to children and young people, and their parents:

  • Your GP can signpost to local services.
  • As part of the Healthy Child Programme, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust offers a range of support services:
    • Telephone: 0333 358 3328  
  • CRUSE offer telephone support to people following the death of a loved one. This includes children and young people with the support of the parent/guardian.  
  • Beam offer emotional support to children and young people.
  • Telford Mind offers a range of support options, some of which are available for young people aged 16 years and over.
  • Kooth offers online counselling and emotional well-being support for young people.

As key workers you put yourself at physical risk as you form our frontline against the coronavirus. You are also putting your mental health under pressure. We want to help make sure you get the right support with your mental health, both now and in the future.

Our Frontline; offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, by call or text,from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health.

Last updated: 07/05/2020 12:48