‘Cultural sea change’ needed to address society’s reluctance to deal with grief

Those who are grieving need to have access to bereavement support says Sue Ryder.

Those who are grieving need to have access to bereavement support says Sue Ryder. - Credit: Archant

This week, The Hunts Post is launching the first in a series of hard-hitting campaigns called - We Need To Talk... and the first subject under the spotlight is grief.

Discussing issues around grief will be challenging, in fact, health care charity Sue Ryder says it will take “nothing short of a cultural revolution” to address society’s reluctance to deal with dying, death and bereavement.

The aim of the campaign is to bring grief out of the shadows and get people talking, but The Hunts Post is also lobbying Government to commission a review into current provision for bereavement services across the country.

We have spoken to those who have experienced the most unimaginable pain and sorrow who tell us how they were able to emerge from the darkness and face the world again. We also offer support and advice to anyone out there who is struggling to make sense of things right now.

The Hunts Post has teamed up with the Sue Ryder charity to start an “open and honest conversation” around grief.

We are supporting Sue Ryder’s aims to work with Government, health and social care professionals, the education sector, and anyone else involved in end-of-life care and bereavement support to bring about change.

The charity says everyone who needs bereavement support, in addition to the informal support provided by family and friends, should have access to it.

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“We need to create ‘compassionate communities’, empowering ordinary people to feel they can help, rather than assuming it is the preserve of health professionals,” says Sue Ryder chief executive Heidi Travis.

Editor Debbie Davies adds: “Encouraging people to talk about grief, and ensuring they have the means and support to do that is even more critical now due to some of the social restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many of those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic have reported feeling “forgotten about” and some believe death from Covid-19 has become a statistic on a graph rather than being recognised as a devastating, life-changing event for those who are grieving.

“Many health professionals fear there could be long-lasting mental health issues for some of those who have been unable to provide comfort to a loved one dying from Covid. With that in mind, we say, society needs to be equipped to support anyone who needs bereavement support now or at some point in the future.”

According to Sue Ryder, many people now feel that, as a nation, we have become desensitised to death due to the way the Covid-19 pandemic was documented.

The biggest challenges for those who experienced a bereavement during lockdown were feeling isolated and alone when grieving and feeling as though their grief had been forgotten amid the global crisis.

“As a nation, we are experiencing bereavement and grief on a greater and more profound scale than ever before,” explained Heidi.

“Integral and deeply personal elements of the bereavement journey have been disrupted for so many over the last few months due to social distancing measures. So many people have been unable to say goodbye to those who have died; they have then had to grieve in isolation, without the physical presence or touch of those close to them.”

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Sue Ryder has seen a significant spike in demand for its bereavement support services. This includes online video counselling delivered through trained bereavement counsellors; an online community forum offering 24-hour peer to peer support and a wide range of advice and resources for people who are grieving or supporting someone through bereavement.

Information about bereavement support offered by Sue Ryder is available at: www.sueryder.org.

Next week we talk to Sue Ryder about grief in lockdown. If you would like to share your experience of losing a loved one in lockdown, email: debbie.davies@archant.co.uk.

The Hunts Post team has also produced a We Need to Talk...Grief podcast which interviews with those who have experienced loss, as well as advice and support from health professionals and bereavement charities.

INFO: www.huntspost.co.uk

You can listen to the We Need to Talk podcast via our host Audioboom online at www.podfollow.com/need-to-talk or your podcast provider.