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Coping With Bereavement

Mental Health Conditions

Sadly, an inevitable part of caring for an elderly parent, friend or relative is the feeling of loss and grief when they die. People experience loss and grieve differently, it is entirely individual. You might not need support now, however, you might need it later or another member of your family may need some support.

The four stages of grief

Experts agree that there are 4 main stages of grief. Although everyone experiences grief differently, and there is no defined timeline, the stages are:

Accepting that the loss has happened and it's real

Experiencing pain and grief

Getting back to normal, adjusting to the loss

"Moving on" - putting 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 confusing .

Mental Health

Getting grief counselling

Some people find they are comfortable talking about death and loss with their friends and family, others find it easier to talk to a professional grief counsellor. If you're finding it difficult to continue on with your day-to-day life following a death, then you might benefit from grief counselling.

There are many different ways you can find grief counselling. The first step is to talk to your doctor 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.

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Bereavement Support Payments

The Bereavement Support Payment is a government allowance for people who have recently lost a husband, wife, or civil partner. It's replaced the Bereavement Allowance (previously known as Widow’s Pension), Bereavement Payment, and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

You're eligible to apply if you've lost your partner in the last 21 months, 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.

Bereavement support payment is 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.

Common types of mental health conditions

  • Anxiety disorder, including social anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, PTSD and phobias

  • Depression, including bipolar disorder, SAD and postnatal depression

  • Eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, compulsive and binge eating disorder and orthorexia

  • Personality disorders including narcissistic personality disorder and dependent personality disorder

  • Schizophrenia, including paranoid schizophrenia

National bereavement care services

Samaritans helpline

Samaritans is the UK charity that helps people by offering emotional support from volunteers via a 24/7 helpline. Anyone can call and talk to someone who is trained to listen on any topic, including grief and bereavement.

Call the Samaritans on 116 123.

Coroner's Courts Support Service

The Coroner’s Court Support Service 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 hasn't been determined. When cases are referred to the courts it can be an emotional experience. Their volunteers help families understand the process and are their to support them every step of the way.

Call 0300 111 2141  for more information.

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care is the UK's largest 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.  

For the Cruse Bereavement Care helpline call 0808 808 1677​.

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