Someone I love has died - where can I find support?

It can be tough at any time to lose someone, but particularly hard during a pandemic when you can feel more alone than usual. Take a look at our article on the organisations and groups that can support you if you’re grieving.
support

What is grief?

Grief is something we experience when someone close to us dies. There is no right or ‘normal’ way to feel, as everyone experiences grief differently. 

As it is natural to have a strong reaction to someone dying, you may feel:

  • Shocked about what has happened
  • Pain and distress
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Longing
  • Worried about other people’s reactions

When you’re grieving, it’s important to not put too much pressure on yourself to feel better.

To help you support yourself and others experiencing grief, Cruse Bereavement Care have put together a series of useful articles, including practical advice on what to do when someone dies.

You can find out more here:  https://www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/coping-grief

COVID-19 and grief

Increased public talk of death can be distressing for people who are already grieving. For example, the current pandemic may bring up painful or traumatic memories. Social distancing measures also mean people may now be cut off from their usual support networks, intensifying their grief and loneliness.

You may have been bereaved as a result of Covid.  Because we are being asked to stay at home to help prevent the spread of the virus, it may mean people do not have the chance to spend time with the person who is dying or are unable to say goodbye. This can make it difficult to accept the reality of the bereavement.

Cruse has some useful information specifically to support people who have lost someone to Covid. https://www.cruse.org.uk/coronavirus/trauma  Their Helpline is open and ready to hear from you.

Where can I get support?

Grief is a natural response to loss that many people will cope with through support from family and friends. However, if you want to talk to someone else about your grief, there are services, organisations and community groups that can help you.

NHS support

If you need support, you can use NHS talking therapies, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). These are free and you can refer yourself directly.

You can find talking therapies near you here: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-psychological-therapies-service/

 

Read on for details of support groups and voluntary services which can support you

When should I see a GP about my mental health?

You should go to the doctor if:

  • You’re struggling to cope with stress, anxiety or a low mood
  • You’ve had a low mood for more than 2 weeks
  • Things you’re trying yourself are not helping
  • You would prefer to get a referral to a service from a GP

Find out more here

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/coping-with-bereavement/

If you're in a crisis and need urgent help:

If you don't feel you can keep yourself safe right now, seek immediate help by visiting your nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) department or call 999.

If you need urgent support but don't want to go to A&E:

  • Call Samaritans on freephone 116 123 – they're always open and are there to listen. 
  • Contact your GP surgery and ask for an emergency appointment
  • Contact NHS 111

https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care-services/when-to-use-111/ 

Find support on social media.

Lots of people have set up their own online communities or accounts exploring grief and bereavement. For example, the UK Motherless Daughters Facebook group is a closed space for people to share their experiences and feelings.

These groups can be particularly helpful if you’re waiting for NHS support or are currently unable to access traditional support because of COVID-19.  Please note that we are not checking these sites regularly so we cannot vouch for all their content.

You can find these groups by searching key words, like grief and loss, on different social media channels. Some examples that might help you are:

Charities and community organisations

There are lots of organisations that can help you if you’ve been bereaved. This article has a selection of national charities and community groups, but to find the full range of support available to you, you can use the At a loss website

Many of the organisations below run helplines, online chat services or are arranging digital meet ups to continue providing supporting during the pandemic. 

Organisations supporting adults:

Cruse Bereavement Care provides bereavement support to people across the UK. If you need someone to talk to you can call their helpline. Call 808 808 1677

Friends Together is based in West Kent. They run a Grief Chat which is a completely free service and is available Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm. 

Call 01732 360328 

The Compassionate Friends offers support for those mourning the death of a child of any age and from any cause. You can email them here helpline@tcf.org.uk 

Death Cafes are local groups of people getting together to drink tea, eat cake and discuss death. They are run entirely by volunteers. Although they may not be meeting physically right many are meeting virtually. Find your nearest here. https://deathcafe.com/

WAY Foundation is a national charity that supports people who have been widowed before their 51st birthday. 

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide  exists to meet the needs of those bereaved by the suicide of anyone close to them. Call 0300 111 5065 - Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm 

Macmillan Cancer Support provide information and support for anyone affected by bereavement due to cancer. Call them on 0808 808 0000 

Organisations supporting children and their families:

Grief Encounter is a charity supporting children and their families who have experienced the death of someone close to them. Call 0808 802 0111 - Monday to Friday 9am-9pm

Holding On Letting Go is a Kent-based charity that helps children to cope with the death of someone close to them.

Winston’s Wish support children and their families after the death of a parent or sibling. If you need advice on supporting a bereaved child, you can phone their helpline. Call 0808 802 0021 - Monday to Friday 9am-5pm 

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals both when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, and when a child is facing bereavement. Call 0800 028 8840 - Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm  

Jigsaw South East provides information, advice and guidance to help support bereaved children and young people and those facing the death of a loved one. They support families across Surrey, parts of West Sussex, Kent and surrounding areas. Call 01342 313895 – Monday to Friday 9am – 12pm

Slide Away is a charity which works in partnership with schools in West Kent. Their aim is for all children to have access to a bereavement support service.

You can email them here slideawayone@aol.com

Organisations supporting young people:

Hope Again is website set up by Cruse Bereavement Care for young people. https://www.hopeagain.org.uk/ 

Let’s Talk About Loss is a peer-led meet up group in cities across the UK for young people aged 18-35 who have been bereaved at any stage. You can find them here: https://www.instagram.com/talkaboutloss/

The New Normal runs grief support meetings to connect young adults who have all experienced loss and are looking for others who understand. 

End of life organisations:

Compassion in Dying is helping people to prepare for end of life. Call 0800 999 2434 - Monday to Friday, 11am-3pm.

Hospice UK is a national charity for hospice and palliative care. 

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