Grief and bereavement are normal responses to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something we care about.
Usually the response to this loss is emotional but it can also affect our physical health, our behaviour and thinking. Without proper support bereavement may affect our personal relationships and cause trauma for children, spouses and any other family members. Issues of personal faith and beliefs may also face challenge, as bereaved persons reassess them in the face of great pain.
While many who grieve are able to work through their loss independently, accessing additional support from bereavement professionals may promote the process of healing. Grief counselling, professional support groups or educational classes, and peer-led support groups are primary resources available to the bereaved. Talk to your GP who may be able to refer you to local NHS services. Alternatively, there are a number of organisations able to provide support for you after the person you care for has died. Your GP should be able to help and may put you in touch with local support groups or professionals. It may also help to think of these things before they die, so you are prepared for the months ahead.
You do not need to grieve alone.
Bereavement Advice Centre
The Bereavement Advice Centre supports bereaved people on a range of practical issues via a single freephone number. It offers advice on all aspects of bereavement from registering the death and finding a funeral director through to probate, tax and benefit queries.
Helpline: 0800 634 9494
The Compassionate Friends
TCF is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents who have suffered the death of a child/children.
Helpline: 0845 1 23 23 04
Cruse Bereavement Care exists to promote the well-being of bereaved people and to enable anyone bereaved by death to understand their grief and cope with their loss. Services are free to bereaved people. The charity provides support and offers information, advice, education and training services. It is a national organisation with local offices across the country.
Helpline: 0844 477 9400
Facing Bereavement was formed to offer a unique reference point on facing and dealing with bereavement. From emotional topics such as coping with a loved one's terminal illness to practical matters such as organising a burial at sea; also legal affairs relating to a death to special circumstances surrounding the loss of a loved one. Facing Bereavement provides comprehensive information and advice about working through bereavement and the challenge of moving past a loss - even when it feels unimaginable.
Age UK provides a wide range of advice to support older people and their families, including at the end of life. It covers issues relating to finance, planning for death, advice and support for carers.
Helpline: 0800 169 6565
National Association of Widows
The National Association of widows is run by the widowed for the widowed - men and women.
The death of a husband, wife or partner is a devastating experience. Learning to cope with life without that partner is a slow and painful process. That's where the NAW can help.
They offer support, friendship and understanding to men and women who have lost their partners through bereavement. They do this with the help of people who know how you feel - other widows and widowers.
Whatever your age, whatever the circumstances of your loss, the NAW is there to help you.
Helpline: 024 7663 4848
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
Suicide recognises no age, social, ethnic or cultural boundaries.
This group exists to meet the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by the suicide of a close relative or friend.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide is a self-help organisation. Many of its volunteers have themselves been bereaved by suicide. The organisation aims to provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other.
It also strives to improve public awareness and maintain contacts with many other statutory and voluntary organisations.
Helpline: 0844 561 6855
Samaritans is a confidential emotional support service for anyone in the UK and Ireland. The service is available 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.
Helpline: 08457 90 90 90
Child bereavement support: Simon Says
Whether a death is sudden or expected, Simon Says works in practical and creative ways with all members of the family to create an atmosphere in which grief can be shared and the child or young person can be supported. Services offered include a telephone helpline manned by trained volunteers; monthly support groups; befriending and counselling; bereavement advice for schools.
Helpline: 023 8064 7550