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Coping with bereavement during a pandemic

Coping with bereavement

Losing a loved can be emotionally devastating – whether that be a partner, family member, friend or pet – and may be particularly challenging at the moment because of changes taking place to try and stop the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19). We have compiled some information on bereavement, things that can help and resources to help you if you need advice or are struggling to cope.

What is bereavement?

Bereavement is the experience of losing someone important to us. It is characterised by grief, which is the process and the range of emotion we go through as we gradually adjust.

Bereavement affects everyone in different ways, and can involve a range of emotions. Grieving has no time limit. People deal with bereavement in their own way and in their own time. Feelings of grief can also happen because of other types of loss and changes in circumstances, for example:

  • the end of a relationship
  • the loss of a job
  • a decline in the mental or physical health of someone we care about.

In these challenging times, bereavement and grief may be particularly difficult to process but there are things we can all do to help.

Talk to someone

Being bereaved can be one of the loneliest experiences that you or someone you love may go through. Being around family and friends can be one of the most helpful ways to cope. If you are not able to be with family and friends due to lockdown, feelings of grief and loneliness may intensify. You don’t have to be alone with your grief, even if you may be physically alone. Call or text a friend or family member or contact a helpline if you need to talk to someone.

Look after yourself

While this may sound obvious, sometimes it’s easy to forget and you want to hide away. Try and get some fresh air and sunlight everyday – even opening a window can help. If you can, go outside for a run or walk or do some exercises at home, such as walking up and down the stairs. Keep a regular routine of getting up and dressed and have your meals at regular times, whether you are on your own or with a family group.

It is okay to not feel okay

You may find some days you have more energy and the grief is not all consuming and this may make you feel guilty. This is normal and is all part of grieving. Equally, there may be days when you feel you are struggling – this is normal too.

Supporting someone who is bereaved

You might have friends or family who have been feeling bereaved and you may not know how best to support them. Staying in contact and letting them know you are there for them to talk about their feelings can be enormously helpful.

Bereavement advice and support

Whether you’re experiencing bereavement, or know someone who is, and need emotional or practical support, get in touch with these helplines or visit their website for more information.

NHS Bereavement Helpline

Contact this helpline for advice, guidance and practical support following a bereavement. The helpline is open everyday from 8am to 8pm

Phone: 0800 2600 400

Cruse Helpline

Contact the Cruse Helpline for support and advice on some of the practical things that need to be done following the death of a loved one.

Phone: 0800 808 1677

Cruse Bereavement Care

The Kensington and Chelsea branch of Cruse Bereavement Care has information on some of the normal emotions you may feel after the loss of a loved one. They also offer bereavement counselling to help people who are having difficulty coping with bereavement.

Phone: 020 8964 3455

Email: [email protected]

Originally published in the Spring/Summer 2020 Community Living Well magazine, this article has been edited for website purposes. Subscribe today to receive mental health and wellbeing tips straight to your inbox, four times a year!

Refer to the Community Living Well service here.

Author: Michelle Jackson
Posted on: 9th July 2020

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training