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Page written and resources collated by Emily Wheeler, Wellbeing Practitioner

Bereavement is the experience of losing someone important to us. It is characterised by grief, which is the process and the range of emotions we go through as we gradually adjust to the loss. Losing someone important to us can be emotionally devastating - whether that be a partner, family member, friend or pet. It is natural to go through a range of physical and emotional processes as we gradually come to terms with the loss. Bereavement affects everyone in different ways, and it's possible to experience any range of emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Feelings of grief can also happen because of other types of loss or changes in circumstances, for example:

  • the end of a relationship
  • the loss of a job
  • moving away to a new location
  • a decline in the physical or mental health of someone we care about

After any loss you may also feel what is known as 'secondary loss'. After the initial shock of losing a loved one you may struggle when thinking of future experiences that those people will not be there to share or see, such as watching your children grow up, meeting partners or attending key life events like weddings.

There is no time limit on grief and this varies hugely person to person. The time spent in a period of bereavement will be different for everybody and depends on factors such as the type of relationship, the strength of attachment or intimacy to the person who died, the situation surrounding their death, and the amount of time spent anticipating the death.


Self-help materials you can print, or download and save.

Resource Description
Bereavement (Royal Institute of Psychiatry) Information about:
  • how people normally grieve after a loss
  • unresolved grief
  • places to get help
  • other sources of information
  • how friends and relatives can help
Coping with Bereavement (NHS)
  • Common problems
  • What you can do now
  • Real stories
  • Mental Wellbeing audio guides

Places to get help

Local and national organisations, websites

Resource Description
Lets talk about loss Help for young people who are bereaved.
Peer-led meet up groups in cities across the UK for young people aged 18-35 who have been bereaved at any stage. Website including links to blog and support groups.
Cruse Bereavement Care Support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies. They offer:
  • Publications about grief
  • Helpline
  • Local Services including specialised counselling
  • Info for people affected by traumatic grief such as natural disasters and suicide
Hope Again Charity Cruse Bereavement care's website specifically for young people
  • Website
  • Blog
  • Video Stories
  • On-line community
Survivors of Bereavement through Suicide For people bereaved or affected by suicide offering:
  • Helpline
  • Email support
  • Retreats
  • Specialist publications
  • Links to relevant services

Other Ideas

You might also want to think about

Rev, Helena Roulston offers a confidential space where she will listen to you, without having to provide any religious/spiritual guidance. She has a great deal of experience of working with students who have been bereaved. See the Multi-faith Chaplaincy page for more information and contact details

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