Learning about loss during lockdown. New bereavement guide to help charities supporting people who have been bereaved during Covid-19

 A new guide for voluntary organisations who are supporting people who have been bereaved during COVID-19 has been launched by the Campaign to End Loneliness. The guide, Bereavement in the time of Covid-19, brings together the latest ideas and learning from leading experts in bereavement care including Cruse Bereavement UK and St Christopher’s Hospice.  

Bereavement in the time of Covid-19 draws on a seminar in April which brought together more than 100 organisations from the voluntary sector. It includes a range of practical suggestions from delegates in helping people through their bereavement journey during a pandemic.

These include:

  • Understanding the different types of grief
  • Ways of acknowledging and engaging directly with people
  • How to support people remotely

The guide also outlines the gaps and challenges that organisations have faced in supporting people during a pandemic.  Some of the issues delegates raised with us which they found challenging included trying to support people who were bereaved who did not have digital access, skills or confidence.  Delegates also reported gaps in local specialist bereavement support – so people who needed more specialist support were not able to access it.

Robin Hewings, Programme Director for the Campaign to End Loneliness said:

“Loneliness is a critical aspect of bereavement, and this report is a helpful tool for charities which have done so much to support people through a really difficult time.  For people who have been isolated from their usual social networks, during the pandemic, losing a loved one is especially tough.

“We hope that charities will use this guide to develop the range of ways they practically support people.”

Heather Richardson, Joint Chief Executive, St Christopher’s said: 

“This thoughtful report is an important reminder about the lasting effects of COVID-19 on how we experience grief. As many day-to-day elements of life continue to open back up, we all hope to be able to move on from the pandemic but, for those individuals who were bereaved during this time, life will never be the same. Hospices have always been committed to supporting people who are bereaved, but our approach and its inclusivity needs further amendment to deal with the sheer scale and breadth of loss that people have experienced over the last 15 months. We’re proud to support the Campaign to End Loneliness and look forward to working with local people, groups and professionals to respond in a way that continues to provide comfort and support to as many people as possible.”