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Where to find counselling after bereavement

24 January 2022

A bereavement can have a big impact on your life so there’s no shame in seeking professional help if you are struggling to cope. Here we look at how to find the right counselling support and what options are available to you.

Holding hands in a supportive way
There are charities and organisations to provide a helping hand after a bereavement

It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are when you lose someone; whether it was a sudden death or expected, it can still come as an awful shock and may take a long time to come to terms with.

Loneliness and grief are often intertwined, but the sad reality is that many of us worry we will be a burden to our families if we ask for help or admit that we are finding things hard.

This can be even more apparent when initially after a death there are lots of distractions with people coming and going. But gradually over time this will naturally start to slow down and this is often where feelings of isolation kick in.

Coming to terms with a death

“What can happen is that people feel that the first few weeks or months are very difficult, but there is lots of support around. Then they feel they are doing okay and it may be at this point they have gone back to work,” says Sharon Cornford, Bereavement Service Coordinator at St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney.

“Then around six or seven months later people will often have a major dip - this can shock them because they thought they were doing okay and then it can feel like things are getting worse rather than better. It’s is usually because around this time we realise that this is for real and that person isn’t coming back. This is often a really low period and is when people tend to access professional support,” she adds.

Types of bereavement support

You can find counselling services by going directly through local or national charities and organisations which deal specifically with bereavement. Or you may prefer to find a counsellor via the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP), which is the largest professional body representing counselling and psychotherapy in the UK.

When a loved one has a terminal illness some people find it helpful to have pre-bereavement counselling to help prepare them emotionally, or even practically, for what is going to happen.

You may want also to consider the following:

  • Face-to-face counselling (or ‘bereavement coaching’)
  • Bereavement support groups
  • Online/virtual support with qualified counsellors/therapists
  • Self-help books or journals
  • Charities and organisations
  • Online moderated discussion forums

Further information

You can visit the NHS website to find addresses, phone numbers and websites for bereavement information and support services near to you. You could also search bereavement directories, such as Self Help UK and the Counselling Directory.

Other organisations include:

Silver Line: a confidential helpline aimed at older people needing someone to talk to
Helpline: 0800 4 70 80 90
Visit the Silver Line website

Cruse Bereavement Support: a bereavement support charity
Helpline: 0808 808 1677
Visit Cruse Bereavement Support website

SupportLine: a support line for anyone feeling overwhelmed or isolated
Helpline: 01708 765200
Visit the SupportLine website

The Compassionate Friends: an organisation supporting bereaved parents and families
Helpline: 0345 123 2304
Visit the Compassionate Friends website

BEAD (Bereaved Through Alcohol and Drugs): support and resources for those who have lost loved ones as a result of alcohol or drug use, part of Cruse Bereavement Support.
Visit the BEAD website

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.