Coping With Bereavement
To lose someone you love can be devastating. It may feel overwhelming, trying to adjust to the big changes happening in your life. Grief and bereavement affects everyone differently – there is no right or wrong way to feel. Emotions can change very quickly, be hard to control and it can be difficult to concentrate on everyday tasks. Because grief comes in many forms – you may feel anger, relief, fear, guilt, numbness, loneliness, hopelessness or despair. Speaking to family or friends can help – talking about our feelings helps us to accept and understand them. If you feel that you can’t talk to the people you know there are bereavement counsellors who can help you to come to terms with your loss.
funeral magazine spoke to Amber Dowell, Service Manager for Helplines and Online Development from the charity Cruse Bereavement Care about the work they do to support people after a death.
Why, when and how can someone contact Cruse?
People contact Cruse at any point after a bereavement. Along with our sister organisation, Cruse Scotland, we offer confidential emotional support to bereaved people across the UK, through our helplines and our network of local services.
Bereaved people can contact our national helpline. Tel 0844 477 9400 or firstname.lastname@example.org and speak to one of our specially trained bereavement volunteers.
The helpline is open 9.30-5pm, Monday-Friday, and until 8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Helpline volunteers are here to listen and offer support, but they can also provide the details of face-to-face services in your area, if that’s what feels right for you.
Some people might prefer to contact their local service directly, and all the contact details are on our website (www.cruse.org.uk), where there is also a lot of useful information about coping with grief, and about supporting someone who has been bereaved.
What services can you offer?
We offer bereavement support in groups, in one-one face-to-face sessions, by phone and by email. We are the biggest provider of children’s bereavement services in the UK. We also have a number of really helpful booklets and leaflets which can help people understand grief, how it affects us, and give advice on the small things that can sometimes help. All our services are provided by carefully trained volunteers.
Do you offer or support community groups for people to get together who have suffered a bereavement in similar circumstances?
We are currently developing support groups for people bereaved by suicide. This type of bereavement can cause a huge amount of isolation, stigma and distress, and grieving relatives can be left with intense and sometimes conflicting emotions. Whilst every bereavement is unique, it can help to talk to people who have been through something similar in a safe and supportive environment.
Do you offer pre bereavement counselling?
Our national helpline and some Cruse local services offer pre-bereavement support, and this is something we are looking to develop in future years.
Do people have to pay for counselling?
Our services are free to ensure they are accessible to all bereaved people.
However we need funds to keep them running. Making a donation, doing some fundraising or simply buying your flowers from www.cruseflowers.org.uk will all help.
How else can people support your charity?
You can also volunteer, either by training as a Bereavement Volunteer, or by contacting your local branch and getting involved with fundraising, administration or management. We need all sorts of different skills to keep our services running!