Communicating with bereaved people

bereavement support

Grief can affect us all differently but knowing how to communicate with bereaved people can make all the difference. Building on the previous post ‘Bereavement and Grief‘, here are some simple do’s and don’ts which you may find helpful: DO’S DO show that you know what has happened: say how sorry you are, by letter…

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Bereavement and grief

person giving someone a hug

Grief is not an illness. But we know that if a bereaved person continues to struggle with their loss and is not able to access good support at the right time, then it can sometimes become a health issue. There is simply not enough bereavement support available in our local communities; no matter how many…

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Baby Loss Awareness Week

Every day in the UK, 15 babies die during birth or shortly after. As well as my role managing our GriefChat service, I am also a bereavement care trainer for Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity. I go to hospitals and teach midwives, neonatal nurses and other health professionals how they can best care…

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Let’s talk about death

I’ve been thinking about death a lot recently. Just saying that to people has been met with a few strange looks, some uncomfortable shuffling, and rapid changes of subject. But why? It’s life’s only true certainty, and yet many of us approach the fact with an attitude somewhere on the scale between cheerful fingers-in-ears denial…

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Too much self care?

Self care seems to be everywhere at the moment. You don’t need to look far on any social media platform to find dozens of people extolling what they do for their self care. I frequently post on this important topic as I feel it’s so vital to our individual well-being to make sure we’re looking…

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Grief in isolation

grief in isolation

Grief is, for many people, a lonely and isolating experience. No-one knew your loved one quite like you did; no-one had the exact relationship with them you did; therefore there is no-one who can fully understand your loss. You can be surrounded by people – in fact especially in the early days following a bereavement…

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You say it best… when you say something

“It’s so difficult to know what to say.” Sadly, many of us are searching for words at the moment. In these times of social distancing we find ourselves needing to find alternatives to the many non-verbal forms of communication that we usually rely on. There’s no kettle to put on or hug to give to…

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How to help in the face of a sudden loss

Sudden death and bereavement

When we think of sudden and traumatic death, we think probably of deaths by murder, suicide or accident. We might think of a sudden heart attack that was instantaneous and completely unforeseen. But of course, many different types of loss may be traumatic for the people left behind. Even when a death is ‘expected’, it’s…

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Grief and mental health – just how long is too long?

I was struck by the results of a study, carried out by the University of Stirling and widely reported in the press, that looked at the impact of the death of a friend on mental and physical health. The research found that this type of bereavement can have serious effects for up to four years…

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Moral injury – are funeral directors in the firing line?

From March 2020, psychologists began to publish warnings that medical staff working through the height of the pandemic, perhaps faced with difficult choices and almost certainly higher patient mortality than usual, should watch for and guard against the symptoms of what they called ‘moral injury’. They warned that if left unchecked, it could lead to…

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