Bereavement is something we all face however the way it affects us varies. There are no rules where grief and loss are concerned. You can not foresee the range of emotions you will go through or how long it will take. Which is why bereavement services are so important.
The following information will help understand more about what happens when we grieve and the bereavement services available to get us through it.
Coping with grief
Coping with grief can make you feel isolated and lonely. You may have support from friends and family initially, but this can fade with time. Shock, feeling numb, constantly cyring and exhaustion are some of the feeleings you may have in aht seems like a never ending turmoil of emotions.
However this is all a part of the grieving process, defined by psychiatrist and author Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief.
The 5 stages of grief:
- Denial – refusing to accept the loss
- Anger – at doctors, relatives, friends and even the person who has died
- Bargaining – trying to turn the situation round or reverse time
- Depression – deep sadness for the loss
- Acceptance – the heeling process of moving forward
Not everyone will go through these stages of grief or possibly not in this order however it helps to know that the feelings you have are a natural part of the grieving process and will fade over time.
Bereavement support is available in several forms. Firstly, there is bereavement counselling, should you want to talk to someone. Then there are online bereavement guides if you prefer to read about coping with grief. Finally, financial support is available in some instances through the bereavement support payment.
Bereavement support groups
Bereavement support groups are available throughout the UK through national organisations like Cruse Bereavement or local groups specific to your region. When we suffer a bereavement, it’s good to talk to family however sometimes talking to an expert may be beneficial, so you shouldn’t be ashamed of asking for help.
Here are just a few of the organisations that are there to help guide and support you through the bereavement process.
Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading national charity for the bereaved in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland supporting those north of the border. They offer local support for the bereaved through their national network of fully trained volunteers, bereavement support groups and Cruse branches.
What do Cruse Bereavement Care do?
Cruse Bereavement provide face to face, telephone and email support for the bereaved. They run a free national helpline as well as local services through support groups and one to one sessions. Face to face meetings can be arranged at the Cruse counselling rooms or at home if you prefer.
Their team of 5,000 trained volunteers offer advice and support to people of all ages who are struggling to cope with grief, regardless of how or when the death occurred.
Is Cruse Bereavement free?
The Cruse Bereavement helpline, one to one services and bereavement support groups are confidential and completely free of charge.
Marie Curie bereavement services
Marie Curie is a charity that provides help and support for people with terminal illness and their families. In addition to home help, they have 9 hospices throughout the UK, some of which offer bereavement counselling.
NHS bereavement counselling
The NHS website provides a wealth of information on coping with grief after bereavement. You can also refer yourself for free NHS psychological therapies to help with stress or depression or use their NHS bereavement support directory to locate Cruse Bereavement services in your area.
If you speak to your doctor about how you are feeling they may be able to refer you for grief and bereavement counselling. The services offered should be free but you may have to wait for an appointment.
Private bereavement counselling
Private bereavement support is available through psychotherapists and counsellors however you will have to pay for their services. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the professional association for counselling professions in the UK, so a good place to start when looking for a therapist.
Bereavement support payment
The bereavement support payment is a benefit you may be entitled to if your spouse or civil partner has died. Having replaced the bereavement allowance, widowed parents’ allowance and the bereavement payment in 2017, this relatively new benefit provides financial support in the early stages of bereavement.
Who qualifies for the bereavement support payment?
To qualify for the bereavement support payment your spouse or partner must have either:
- Paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks
- Died as a result of an accident at work or disease caused by work
The bereavement must have happened after the 6th April 2017 which is when the bereavement support payment started. Also when the death occurred, you must have been:
- Under state pension age
- A resident of the UK
How much is the bereavement allowance?
There are two rates of bereavement allowance, both of which pay an initial lump sum followed by 18 monthly payments. You’re entitled to the higher rate if you were pregnant at the time of the bereavement or had a child living with you. Otherwise you qualify for the standard rate.
Bereavement support payment - higher rate
- Initial lump sum payment of £3,500 followed by 18 monthly payments of £350
Bereavement support payment – standard rate
- Initial lump sum payment of £2,500 followed by 18 monthly payments of £100
Is the bereavement allowance means tested or taxable?
The benefit you receive from the bereavement support payment is not taxable or means tested and paid regardless of whether you work or not.
Bereavement counselling near me
To find a bereavement counsellor near you, here are Cruse Bereavement Care’s contact details:
Call the Cruse bereavement helpline on 0808 808 1677
Visit the Cruse Bereavement website for details of their local services
Alternatively for more information on the more practical side of bereavement support such as stopping mail, instructing a solicitor and finding a funeral director, visit the National Bereavement Service.