Updated 18 November 2020
What is grief?
Grief is something we experience when someone close to us dies. There is no right or ‘normal’ way to feel, as everyone experiences grief differently.
It is natural to have a strong reaction to someone dying and you may feel:
- Shock about what has happened
- Pain and distress
- Worry about other people’s reactions
When you’re grieving, it’s important to not put too much pressure on yourself to feel better.
To help you support yourself and others experiencing grief, Cruse Bereavement Care have put together a series of useful articles, including practical advice on what to do when someone dies.
COVID-19 and grief
The current pandemic (COVID-19) and the public focus on death may bring up painful or traumatic memories. Social distancing measures also mean people may now be cut off from their usual support networks, intensifying their grief and loneliness.
People are also being bereaved as a result of COVID-19. Because we are being asked to stay at home to help prevent the spread of the virus and because of hospital and care home visiting restrictions, some people do not have the chance to spend time with the person who is dying or say goodbye.
To acknowledge this, Dying Matters has launched the #BeforeTheirTime campaign encouraging people to share their experiences and discuss their feelings.
Support in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
Grief is a natural response to loss that many people will cope with through support from family and friends. However, if you want to talk to someone else about your grief, there are services, organisations and community groups that can help you.
An updated guide to bereavement support in our area has been published by the local Clinical Commissioning Group.
This leaflet lists the main services across our area, including hospital and hospice bereavement services as well as local and national organisations offering support for people who have lost a loved one.
When to see your GP about your mental health
You should go to the doctor if:
- You’re struggling to cope with stress, anxiety or a low mood
- You’ve had a low mood for more than 2 weeks
- Things you’re trying yourself are not helping
- You would prefer to get a referral to a service from a GP
NHS Talking Therapies
You can refer yourself for free NHS talking therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
If you're in a crisis and need urgent help
- Call 111 and press option 2 for the First Response Service - a 24-hour service for people in a mental health crisis. This service is for anyone, of any age, who is registered with a GP in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough.
Call Samaritans on freephone 116 123 – they're always open and are there to listen
Contact your GP surgery and ask for an emergency appointment
Contact NHS 111
Local mental health counselling and support services include
Online wellbeing support and chat-based counselling for anyone aged 18+ from Qwell.
Free, anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform. Open 12pm-10pm Monday to Friday and 6pm-10pm Saturday and Sunday.
Mental health and wellbeing helpline for people aged 18+ and living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Monday-Friday 9am -2pm via freephone 0808 808 2121. The line will support people to manage their wellbeing, provide self-help advice or signpost to other organisations for particular concerns.
Between 2pm and 11pm, seven days a week, the same number becomes Lifeline and provides support for those in mental health distress: 0808 808 2121.
Bereaved through suicide?
Losing someone to suicide is uniquely devastating. And those left behind have unanswered questions and complex feelings.
Lifecraft offers a suicide bereavement support service to family and friends in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area.
Telephone : 01223 566957
Find support on social media
Lots of people have set up their own online communities or accounts exploring grief and bereavement.
These groups can be particularly helpful if you’re waiting for NHS support or are currently unable to access traditional support because of COVID-19.
- UK Motherless Daughters Facebook group is a closed space for people to share their experiences and feelings.
- Griefcase (Instagram
- The Grief Gang (Instagram)
- Your New Normal (Instagram)
- Siblings Grieve Too (Instagram)
- Live. Death. Whatever. (Twitter)
- The Loss Project (Twitter)
Other types of online support
Tell us your experience of end of life and bereavement services
Have you or your family been affected by COVID-19? Or have you used end of life or bereavement support services?
We would like to hear your experiences. It could be praise for a local hospital, hospice or care home, a particular member of staff or a local bereavement service that has helped you manage your grief.
It only takes five minutes to tell us and your feedback can help NHS and social care services understand the steps they can take to improve care for you and your loved ones.
Visit the At a Loss website to find the full range of support available to you
WAY Foundation is a national charity that supports people who have been widowed before their 51st birthday.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide is a self-help organisation which exists to meet the needs of those bereaved by the suicide of anyone close to them.
Helpline 0300 111 5065 - Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm
Macmillan Cancer Support provide information and support for anyone affected by cancer.
Helpline 0808 808 0000 - Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
Organisations supporting children and their families
Grief Encounter is a charity supporting children and their families who have experienced the death of someone close to them.
Helplline 0808 802 0111 - Monday to Friday 9am-9pm
Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals both when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, and when a child is facing bereavement.
0800 028 8840 - Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
Organisations supporting young people
Hope Again is website set up by Cruse Bereavement Care for young people.
Let’s Talk About Loss is a peer-led meet up group in cities across the UK for young people aged 18-35 who have been bereaved at any stage.
The New Normal runs grief support meetings to connect young adults who have all experienced loss and are looking for others who understand.
The Grief Network is a London based network for people bereaved as a teenager or in their 20s and 30s.
End of life organisations
Compassion in Dying is helping people to prepare for end of life.
Helpline 0800 999 2434 - Monday to Friday, 11am-3pm
Hospice UK is a national charity for hospice and palliative care.