Sadly, an inevitable part of caring for an elderly parent, relative or friend is the feeling of loss and grief when they die. You will hear us say this a lot, but people experience loss and grieve differently, it is entirely individual. You might not need bereavement support now, however, you might need it later or another member of your family may need some support. You can always bookmark this page, and share it.
Our guide to bereavement support includes lots of useful advice on National support services, bereavement care and support near you, information on bereavement support payments and other helpful bereavement and grief resources.
Most experts agree that there are 4 main stages of grief. Although everyone experiences grief differently, and there is no defined timeline, they are as follows:
- Accepting that the loss has happened and is real
- Experiencing pain and grief
- Getting back to normal, adjusting to the loss
- "Moving on" - beginning to put emotional energy into other things
Where you are in the grieving process, will affect what help you might need. A good bereavement support service will help you to identify this, so don't worry if it all feels very overwhelming.
National bereavement care services
The National charities and organisations listed are a good place to start. Some offer online and over-the-phone emotional support (often for free). Others such as Cruse Bereavement Care have local offices and can offer more face-to-face services.
Cruse Bereavement Care
Cruse Bereavement Care is the biggest National charity for bereavement and grief support services. They provide people with emotional help in many different ways including a free helpline, webchat, and individual and group counselling sessions.
Cruse Bereavement Care often provide these services through local hubs, usually associated with or near to major hospices. It is at these hubs where you will be able to access individual or group grief counselling. How quickly they will be able to offer you services will depend on each individual hub’s availability at the time.
Their helpline is staffed by volunteers trained to offer emotional support for free. The helpine is available between 9:30am – 5pm on Mondays and Fridays, 9:30am – 8pm Tuesdays to Thursdays, and from 10am – 2pm on weekends.
Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland
Coroner's Courts Support Service
The Coroner’s Court Support Service (CCSS) is a charity that helps families who are going through the Coroner’s Courts. People might go through the Coroner’s Courts if a death was unexpected or the cause of death isn’t obvious. When cases are referred to the courts it can be an emotional and confusing experience. Their volunteers help families understand the process and are their to support them every step of the way.
Their support line is open 9am – 7pm every weekday, and 9am -2 pm at the weekend. Call 0300 111 2141 for more information.
Find bereavement support groups near you
Lots of people find support in talking to others who have been through the same experiences. Those who are further along with their grief can offer guidance to those who have recently lost someone. Grief support groups are also a great place to find information about other local services that can help.
The grief groups that are available to you will be dependent on where you live. To search for bereavement support groups near you, you can use one of the following directories:
How to get grief counselling
While some people find they are comfortable talking about death and loss with friends and family, others find it easier to talk to a professional grief counsellor. If you, or someone you know, is finding it difficult to continue on with their day-to-day life following a death, they might benefit from grief counselling.
Find grief counselling near you
There are many different ways through which people can find grief counselling. The first step is to talk to your GP who might be able to refer you to someone local. It is also worth asking your local Cruse bereavement care and Marie Curie branch whether they can provide or refer to a suitable grief counsellor.
If you would prefer to look for a counsellor privately, search the counselling directory.
Bereavement Support Payments
The Bereavement Support Payment is a government allowance for people who have recently lost a husband, wife, or civil partner. It has replaced the Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow’s Pension), Bereavement Payment, and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
You are eligible to apply if you lost your partner in the last 21 months (special considerations are available), the deceased was below the state pension age when it happened and they paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since 6 April 1975.
It consists of one initial payment of £2,500 and then monthly payments of £100 (slightly more if you receive child benefits). If you think you are eligible then you should claim within 3 months of their death, to claim the full amount.
The quickest way to apply is to call the government bereavement service helpline at 0800 731 0469.
More bereavement resources
The legal and practical things to do after losing someone can be a confusing and stressful time. Our ‘Step-by-step Guide on What to do when Someone Dies‘ will hold your hand through all the key steps. You may also find the following resources helpful:
- NHS guidance on grief
- The National Bereavement Service - for advice, information and support
- National Bereavement Partnership - for bereavement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
- The Bereavement Register - to stop the post of someone who has died
- Mailing Preference Service - to stop the post of someone who has died
- Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide - support following a suicide
- Switchboard LGBT - support following the death of a same-sex partner