Thank you for wanting to support someone who is bereaved. At the end of this section is a short film that we have produced about supporting a bereaved person. This was produced to support people bereaved and isolated during the Coronavirus pandemic but the principles are exactly the same. Please do have a look.
It may feel quite natural to support a family when a loved one is ill or just after they have died, but it is less common to offer support which lasts for the longer haul. After the funeral, visits often die down, and the bereaved person can begin to feel less numb as the reality of what has happened sinks in. Eventually outsiders can feel that those who experienced the bereavement should be ‘over it’. However providing longer term support can make a lasting impact on the family and help them process their grief in a healthier way.
So make sure you can provide the on-going support a person may need for weeks and months following the death. Share the responsibility with another good friend of the bereaved person if you a busy person with a family but always be proactive in offering help rather than saying "You know where I am. Let me know if you need anything". If you and the bereaved person go to a place of worship and there are people involved in pastoral support, it might be helpful to provide a volunteer to support the family on a longer term basis. If this is the case, get them involved in helping with the funeral and also in pre and post funeral visits. If they can be present at the service, they will have a stronger relationship with the family which will help in providing on-going support.
If you can, always pay a visit to the bereaved family the day after the funeral. This will give the family a chance to discuss the funeral and how they are feeling following it.
For more information about supporting bereaved young people, please see the drop down menu of the Recently Bereaved section of the website where you will find a section full of information and a film to show a young person about funerals.
We are gathering here resources specifically for helping others who are grieving.
A very useful little guide on how to support bereaved people has been produced by Care for the Family. You can download 'Top Tips for Bereavement' leaflet here.
The Path Not Chosen, booklet published by CWR
Living with Loss, booklet published by Lifewords.
If the bereaved person is living with dementia:
The Alzheimer's Society has produced this helpful factsheet on supporting someone who has Alzheimer's. Click
Basic guides in helping the bereaved are:
Insight into Bereavement, book published by CWR
First Steps Through Bereavement by Sue Mayfield.
What to say to a bereaved person in a sympathy card
Help with sympathy messages can be found at: http://www.sympathymessageideas.com
Available through at Ataloss.org:
TOUGHstuff - material for teenage support (see ListeningPeople).
TOUGHstuff journal for young people suffering the loss of parental separation
TOUGHstuff journal for bereaved young people is now available
The Bereavement Journey Course Website
Faith Questions in Bereavement booklet is available from The Bereavement Journey website
Training to support the bereaved
AtaLoss.org offers ListeningPeople to professionals - youth leaders, teachers, school chaplains - who deal with young people day to day, training them to listen to teenagers affected by loss in their communities and/or local schools.
We can provide bereavement support training for the workplace, tailoring it to suit your employee needs. Contact us at [email protected]
Because churches lie at the heart of every community, there is increasing recognition of the potential for churches to be at the heart of bereavement support in the community, providing bereavement support for people of faith and none. To that end, we developed an accredited Bereavement Ministry Certificate course run annually in conjunction with Cliff College in Derbyshire. The week long course is for church leaders - lay and ministers- to support the bereaved in their communities.
Information about training, resources and opportunities for churches can be found on the Loss and HOPE website
Please also see the Resources page on this website for publications and online resources for the bereaved which you may find useful. If you have found particular resources - books, articles, websites, videos, films etc - and can recommend them to others, please tell us about them. Complete the form here and we will add it to the resources list.