MetLife’s new 'The Last Word' report has shown that 36% of UK adults have been bereaved in the past 2 years but as many as 23% have experienced no form of support.

The charity AtaLoss helps bereaved people to find support and wellbeing via its UK-wide signposting website

Explaining why the charity is making this call to Government and others, AtaLoss CEO, Yvonne Richmond Tulloch said:

Grief needs to be processed for healthy living. Unsupported grief can lead to many issues in society, such as behavioural and relationship problems, inability to function or cope, substance abuse and physical and mental ill-health. Vast amounts of taxpayers’ money is being spent on alleviating the symptoms of grief rather than dealing with the root cause.” 

There’s a lot of ignorance around grief,” Yvonne continued “and in how to support effectively. Counselling is what everyone tends to think of.  This is recommended after time has elapsed and is often oversubscribed.  However, most people need immediate practical help and information, and they will navigate their grief healthily without the need of therapists if they find peer support and community understanding.  If they had more access to this, counsellors could be reserved for the more complex needs.”

 Commenting on the increase of those accessing AtaLoss' website, Yvonne added:

What is particularly concerning is how many people are turning to mental health services when grief is the problem.  65% of referral visitors to our website are referred to us by the MIND helpline for grief support, either because they thought they had a mental health problem when it’s a grief response, or because grief is behind the mental ill-health that has emerged.  It’s frustrating because mental health services are generally well funded whilst we receive no funds.”

AtaLoss has been offering its signposting website to bereaved people across the UK since 2017.  This was relied upon by the government and public services in the pandemic and is  now being picked up by the new Integrated Care Boards.

The UK Commission on Bereavement’s report published in October 2022 identified the country’s need for bereavement signposting and highlighted the charity’s gold standard website as part of this. 

Since then, AtaLoss has won two 2023 national awards – for both the website and for bereavement information.

"Good signposting is vital", says Yvonne. “Signposting involves more than just listing a few well-known services. We research across the UK to find informal and lesser-known services deliberately as we know how important they are. The more services listed, both local and national, the more the individual can choose what is best for them, which is often various forms of complementary help. Good signposting also spreads the load. There are over 1,500 services to choose from on our website, all of which are invaluable, but many of them are struggling for income, just as more grief help is required.” 

UK Commission on Bereavement  identified bereavement as an escalating problem requiring investment and Dr Layla McCay of the NHS Confederation recently called for a greater focus on prevention to reduce the numbers living with ill health.

AtaLoss is calling upon the government and grant funders to prioritise grief support as prevention and to fund it properly before matters get worse.  This means understanding the value of peer and community support, of comprehensive information and signposting, and of the relationship of grief to mental ill-health and to many of the nation’s problems.

Believing intervention from Government and funders could save the public purse, Yvonne concluded:

If funding can’t be provided immediately, then it should be committed to in party manifestos for the next election. Investment in increased capacity for the various grief support services and in nationwide, systematic bereavement signposting would ultimately save the country millions.”


Download Press Release

Note to Editors

AtaLoss is a registered charity that provides a UK-wide bereavement signposting website - a resource that helps bereaved people and professionals supporting them, to find a range of bereavement services and information to support the individual, whatever the circumstances of the bereavement and wherever they live.

AtaLoss social media channels also help bereaved people find well-being and support- search @AtaLossCharity to join the online community.

AtaLoss also delivers bereavement support through its own support programme ‘The Bereavement Journey’ delivered by churches across the UK for their communities.

CEO Yvonne Richmond Tulloch and Ambassador Sandra Godley are available for interview.

Thank you Edward Adoo for interviewing our CEO Yvonne Richmond Tulloch for BBC Radio London. 

Listen HERE:

Further reading:

Met Life Research- The Last Word: What's stopping us from talking about our final wishes?

HR NewsGrieving alone: One in four bereaved adults didn’t turn to anyone for support

Dr Layla McCay - Surge in ill health will have major impact on NHS

To arrange an interview, for comments or to speak to AtaLoss about its work, please contact Adam May, PR Consultant for the charity: [email protected] or 07736 949 869