Grief is a very personal thing and after a bereavement we can experience a huge range of emotions. We hope that over time feelings of intense sorrow ease and it becomes possible for us to come to terms with our loss. But sometimes, grief can seem overwhelming and we may need support to help us begin to move forward again.
Below is a list of organisations and services that offer a range of support for people that have suffered a bereavement and are finding it difficult to cope with their grief.
For detailed information on what you need to do after a bereavement, please visit the GOV.UK website.
If you are struggling to cope, it may be helpful to speak to someone. The following helplines and online chat services have trained counsellors ready to help.
NHS helpline for anyone whose loved one has died in hospital. Speak to a trained nurse on 0800 2600 400 between 8am and 8pm every day.
Cruse freephone helpline offers emotional support from trained bereavement volunteers. Call 0808 808 1677. Check the Cruse website for opening hours.
National Bereavement Partnership provides support, counselling referral and a befriending service for those suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 0800 448 0800.
Childline provides 24-hour confidential support to children and young people under the age of 19. Call 0800 11 11.
Samaritans helpline is available for anyone that feels unable to cope with any situation. Call 116 123 any time, day or night.
Search for support
There are many types of bereavement support groups, some dealing with specific types of bereavement, others simply serving a local area.
The At a loss foundation was established in 2016 to ensure every bereaved person in the UK can find the support they need, from national agencies to specialist and local providers. The charity’s website provides a fully searchable database of bereavement support organisations across the country.
You can narrow searches on the site using four filters that let you specify who has died and your relationship to them, how they died and the age and location of the person looking for support.
Examples of groups focusing on bereavement in specific relationships or in specific circumstances include:
Sibling Support - helping people cope with the loss of a brother or sister
Widowed and Young - supporting bereaved spouses under 50
The Loss Foundation - providing cancer and COVID-19 bereavement support
The Good Grief Trust, also providing a search that allows you to search for support groups in your local area, provides a series of videos dealing with issues faced by bereaved parents, partners, children, siblings and friends.
Cruse Bereavement Care is the UK’s leading national bereavement charity, with 4,000 volunteers across the UK. You can find out more about the local support offered from their websites:
Several charities also run online bereavement support forums for people who can’t travel easily or who don’t want social interaction at the moment. Examples include:
The Sue Ryder online community features hundreds of discussions, from staying positive to suffering from loneliness.
MacMillan Cancer Support runs an online community specifically for bereaved spouses and partners to share their experiences of loss.
Friends, family and loved ones may offer support after a bereavement. Outside your immediate circle, you can speak to your GP or search for local council provision on the GOV.UK website.
Your local independent funeral director also has an in-depth knowledge of your local community, and tips for dealing with bereavement, making them a good point of call when searching for a support group. Some even run their own support groups or provide counselling resources.