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Bereavement is the emotional reaction felt or experienced after the death or loss of someone or something you were strongly emotionally attached to.

Bereavement and/or grief can have a huge impact and can potentially decimate the dynamic of your life. It can alter what you believe in, your outlook on life, your personality and even your entire sense of reality.

Everyone deals with loss and grief differently. There is no certain amount of time to adjust to the loss you have endured, and there is no right or wrong way to do so. Grief is a very normal human reaction to any kind of loss, and the effects of any loss can surface in many different ways: whether that be anger, self-isolation, denial, or becoming reckless and acting out of character. Bereavement can also lead to mental health issues, such as depression, which are more serious and can be difficult to overcome.

Grief can be a trigger for other underlying issues that you may have previously been able to cope with. However the intense experience of grief may cause these issues to become overwhelming.

It is perfectly normal to experience these reactions to loss:

  • Poor appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Preoccupation
  • Sense of worthlessness
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Sense of helplessness

However, if these symptoms persist and you find your ability to cope with life has diminished it might be a good idea to seek help before your grief reaches a point where you feel you can’t manage with your daily life. Consider contacting your GP or a counsellor.

More info

Useful Articles

Here's a list of articles on bereavement you might find helpful.

Two Big myths about grief  
In this column, we confront two common misconceptions about grief. The first is that the bereaved inevitably experience intense symptoms of distress and depression. The second is that unless those who have experienced the death of a loved one “work through” their feelings about the loss, they will surely experience delayed grief reactions, in which strong emotions may be triggered by events unrelated to the loss, even long after it occurred. As we will show, neither belief holds up well to scientific scrutiny.

How Grief Works  
Whether this intense sorrow is caused by the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a pet, miscarriage or some other unfortunate occurrence, it's an emotion that varies in duration and intensity from person to person. In short, there is no easy way to "cure" grief. Instead, psychologists believe that the grieving process must be allowed to run its course over time.

Different types of bereavement 
Grief is a natural response to losing someone you love and cherish. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone experiences it differently. The important thing is to allow yourself to grieve and mourn as much and as long as you need to. Although grieving is intensely painful, in time these feelings begin to change as we adapt to a different way of life. Grief can never be fixed, diminished or taken away. It becomes part of our life story, and shapes how we live the rest of our lives. 

How soon is too soon to find love after bereavement 
It is an age-old - and delicate question – but set to become ever more pressing as life expectancy reaches unprecedented levels: how soon is too soon for someone recently widowed to consider a new partner?

What to do about work when you are grieving 
We discuss what both employer and employee should do to make the situation that little bit easier.

Recommended Reading

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why - Laurence Gonzales
In Deep Survival, Laurence Gonzales combines hard science and powerful storytelling to illuminate the mysteries of survival, whether in the wilderness or in meeting any of life's great challenges.

Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience - Laurence Gonzales
Drawing on cases across a range of life-threatening experiences, Laurence Gonzales makes a compelling argument about fear, courage and the adaptability of the human spirit. 

A Grief Observed -  C.S. Lewis
A Grief Observed comprises the reflections of the great scholar and Christian on the death of his wife after only a few short years of marriage. Painfully honest in its dissection of his thoughts and feelings, this is a book that details his paralysing grief, bewilderment and sense of loss in simple and moving prose.

Charities and support groups

Charities and support groups

Below you will find a comprehensive list of charities and support groups that offer help and assistance to anyone who is struggling with this mental health issue

Mind - For Better Mental Health

We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.  We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.


Mental Health Foundation

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.


Student Minds

Student Minds is the UK's student mental health charity. We believe that peer support can change the state of student mental health. Our vision is for students to take action to foster an environment where everyone has the confidence to talk and listen to each other, the skills to support one another and the knowledge to look after their own mental health.

Helpline: 08444 775 774 Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5.30pm (calls subject to charge)

Bereavement UK

We aim to provide you with bereavement support and information when you need it- 24 hours a day 365 days a year, the site is available at your fingertips.



Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse is a national charity providing advice, information and support to anyone who has been bereaved (children, young people and adults), whenever or however the death occurred.  The service is provided by trained, experienced volunteers, and is confidential and free.  Cruse provides face-to-face, telephone and website support both post and pre-bereavement.

Helpline: 0844 477 9400 (Monday-Friday 9am -5pm)



Sands supports anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth.  We offer emotional support and information for parents, grandparents, siblings, children, families and friends, health professionals and others.


Our Forever Babies

Our Forever Babies was set up four years ago and has quickly grown to be the largest organisation in the United Kingdom offering support to parents who have lost a baby in pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. We support parents at every stage of this journey, the immediate aftermath of losing a baby and in the weeks, months and years after that day. We also support parents through subsequent pregnancies as experience has taught us how stressful and anxious a time that can be. Although we are a UK based organisation the World Wide Web enables us to welcome parents from all around the world.


Grief Encounter

We support bereaved children and their families to help alleviate the pain caused by the death of someone close. Our services are free, funded through the generosity of our supporters.

Helpline: 020 8371 8455

Child Death Helpline

At the Child Death Helpline we’re here to listen. We understand that the death of a child is one of the most devastating events that anyone may experience. Sometimes the feelings of grief can be so overwhelming that they make everyday living very difficult – we’re here to help. Our dedicated helpline offers support to anyone affected by the death of a child of any age, under any circumstances, however recent or long ago.

Helpline: 0800 282 986 (landline) 0808 800 6019 (mobile)
Monday – Friday 10 am – 1 pm
Tuesday/Wednesday 1 pm – 4 pm
Every evening 7 pm – 10 pm


Daisy’s Dream

Daisy’s Dream supports children and their families who have been affected by the life threatening illness or bereavement of someone close to them.


The Merry Widow

Online resource for anyone who has lost a partner. Merrywidow does not exclude anybody, it is open to all, and the information contained here is essential reading for widows and widowers of all ages, as well as friends and family who would like to know how best to help. 



SAMM - Support After Murder and Manslaughter

SAMM is a national UK Charity (No 1000598) supporting families bereaved by Murder and Manslaughter. We also provide advice and training to many agencies on issues relevant to the traumatically bereaved.



SOBS – Survival of Bereavement by Suicide

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide exist to meet the needs and break the isolation experienced by those bereaved by suicide.  We are a self-help organisation and we aim to provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other.  We also strive to improve public awareness and maintain contacts with many other statutory and voluntary organisations.


SCARD – Support and Care After Road Death or Injury

SCARD aims to provide emotional and practical support through a telephone helpline, support groups, meetings and personal support systems; to help and assist affected families, individuals and friends with proceedings in the Crown Court, Magistrates Court or Coroners Court; to assist in providing independent and unbiased information with regard to legal proceedings and the Judicial System; to provide access to free initial legal help and advice; to assist in helping bereaved or injured people with free or low cost counselling; to raise the awareness of road danger by information and education.

Helpline: 0845 123 5542 9am – 9pm, 365 days a year

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army works closely with addiction referral services as well as providing specialist detox centres in the UK. This is complemented by rehabilitation and support programmes.



The Samaritans provide 24 hour, confidential, emotional support for anyone in crisis.

Helpline 116 123, this number is FREE to call
Email jo@samaritans.org

Elefriends (run by Mind)

Elefriends is a supportive online community where you can be yourself. 

We all know what it's like to struggle sometimes, and this is a safe place to listen, share and be heard. Whether you're feeling good right now, or really low, it's a safe place to share experiences and listen to others. 

Shared experiences and perspectives are valuable and powerful. In this way Elefriends don't just get help, they give help too. In the good times and the bad.


Off The Record

We believe that young people need places to go which are easy to access, where you are treated with respect, and where you can get support and information to help you make your own life choices. Our services are friendly and welcoming – about 1,000 new young people visit us every year. Available in the Richmond borough.


Time to Change

Our aim is to start a conversation… or hopefully thousands of conversations.

We want to empower people with mental health problems to feel confident talking about the issue without facing discrimination. And we want the three quarters of the population who know someone with a mental health problem to talk about it too.


Have I got a Problem?

HaveiGotAproblem.com is a free online resource to help you understand issues or concerns you may have about mental health or addiction issues.

This site was created to give the public information to help them understand mental health and addiction issues and to assist people in making better informed decisions about their life and personal choices.





Provides holistic, specialist, palliative care services to children, young people and their families in our region.  We will deliver these services in partnership with others wherever possible, while championing the cause of palliative care for children and young people.


Martin House

Martin House helps children and young people with a life-limiting condition, along with their families, to live well and fully, offering the best possible end of life care and support to the family in bereavement


Together for Short Lives

Together for Short Lives is the leading UK charity for all children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and all those who support, love and care for them. We support families, professionals and services, including children’s hospices. Our work helps to ensure that children can get the best possible care, wherever and whenever they need it.


Woking and Sam Beare Hospice

Woking and Sam Beare Hospice

Woking & Sam Beare Hospices are independent registered charities that provide Hospice care across Surrey.

As well as providing in-patient care and day care units at both Hospices our community team are vital in providing services over a much wider area including the boroughs of Woking, Spelthorne, Runnymede and Elmbridge.


The Mix

The Mix is the UK’s leading support service for young people. We are here to help you take on any challenge you’re facing - from mental health to money, from homelessness to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs. Talk to us via online, social or our free, confidential helpline.

Freephone 0808 808 4994


The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK.



The UK’s free and confidential helpline is not just for children, it provides help for young people of all ages who are in distress or danger.  Counsellors provide advice and support, by phone and online, 24 hours a day. 

You can get help and advice about a wide range of issues, including violence and abuse in your relationship on the Childline website.  You can also talk to a counsellor online, send an email or post on the message boards.

Whatever your worry, it’s better out than in.

ChildLine has launched an app called Zipit. It helps you get flirty chat back on the right track. It's packed with killer comebacks and top tips to help you stay in control of your chat game. Find out more: childline.org.uk/zipit

Helpline: 0800 1111

Young Minds

Charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.

Parents Helpline 0808 802 5544 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm


SANE services provide practical help, emotional support and specialist information to individuals affected by mental health problems, their family, friends and carers.

Helpline 0845 767 8000

Bereavement Advice Centre

There are many practical issues to manage when someone dies. Bereavement Advice Centre supports and advises people on what they need to do after a death.



The Compassionate Friends

TCF is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents who have suffered the death of a child/children.

We offer support both directly to bereaved families and indirectly by fostering understanding and good practice amongst professionals concerned with child death and by increasing public awareness.

We recognise that many who have suffered the loss of a child feel a bond with others similarly bereaved and wish to extend the hand of friendship.



The Bereavement Counselling Charity

Our support can enable people to come to terms with the emotional and practical changes bereavement brings, helping to normalise these intense feelings and to promote well-being



Bliss exists to ensure that all babies born too soon, too small or too sick in the UK have the best possible chance of survival and of reaching their full potential.


Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. Our vision is for all families to have the support they need to rebuild their lives. 

Helpline: 0800 02 888 40


Care for the Family

The death of a child, of any age, brings heartbreak and devastation. Whether your child died recently or some time ago, Bereaved Parent Support is here to help you find hope, healing, peace, and a way forward.


Childhood Bereavement Network

The Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN) is the hub for those working with bereaved children, young people and their families across the UK. We underpin our members’ work with essential support and representation: bringing them together across localities, disciplines and sectors to improve bereavement care for children.



Winston’s Wish

Winston’s Wish’s mission is to ensure the resilience of children confronted by the death of someone important to them by providing high quality services that meet their needs.


Widowed and Young

WAY is the only national charity in the UK for men and women aged 50 or under when their partner died. It’s a peer-to-peer support group run by a network of volunteers who have been bereaved at a young age themselves, so they understand exactly what other members are going through.


Alliance of Hope

The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors provides healing support for people coping with the shock, excruciating grief and complex emotions that accompany the loss of a loved one to suicide.



The helpline is an accredited service for anyone in the UK who has been bereaved or seriously injured in a crash or their carers, whether the crash was recent or a long time ago. It is also for professionals, such as police officers or health workers, wanting advice about how to help people affected by a crash.

Helpline: 0808 800 0401, 10am -4 pm Monday - Friday


Road Peace

We are the national charity for road crash victims. Our members include those who have been bereaved or injured in crashes and also those who are concerned about road danger. We are the only member based charity for road crash victims in the UK, and the only one with local groups. We listen to the needs of our members and consult with them over key consultations and campaigns. We provide both support for existing victims and work to prevent future victims by campaigning for road danger reduction. 


Support Line

SupportLine provides a confidential telephone helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue. The Helpline is primarily a preventative service and aims to support people before they reach the point of crisis. It is particularly aimed at those who are socially isolated, vulnerable, at risk groups and victims of any form of abuse. SupportLine is a member of the Helplines Association. SupportLine also provides support by email and post.

Helpline: 01708 765 200

Get Connected

Get Connected is the UK's free, confidential helpline service for young people under 25 who need help, but don't know where to turn.

Helpline: 0808 808 4994
Open from 11am - 11pm every day

Counselling Directory

Counselling Directory aims to be the leading service for providing counselling advice and information - connecting those in distress with the largest support network in the UK.


Papyrus UK

Suicide prevention for young people up to the age of 35

Helpline: 0800 068 41 41
Monday - Friday 10am – 5pm & 7pm – 10pm, Weekends 2pm – 5pm 

Text: 07786 209697
Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org



Barnardo’s believes in children regardless of their circumstances, gender, race, disability or behaviour. Our purpose as a charity today is to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children. We believe in the abused, the most vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected. We will support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child.


Family Lives

Offers support to anyone parenting or helping to raise children, from newborn babies to young adults. There are free telephone and email helplines, parenting courses and information leaflets. The website offers lots of advice, real-life stories and relevant news as well as a helpful A-Z of related topics.

Helpline: 0800 800 2222 (9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday;10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday)


Hope Support

We support young people when a close family member is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. We are here right from the moment of diagnosis and for however long we are needed.


Marie Curie

We’re here for people living with any terminal illness, and their families. We offer expert care, guidance and support to help them get the most from the time they have left.

Support Line: 0800 090 2309

Princess Alice Hospice

Our specialist nurses, doctors, therapists, social workers, and bereavement volunteers offer care and support for you and your family in your own home or at our Hospice in Esher.


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