There is a lot of good intention around when it comes to bereavement support in terms of providing it but not a great deal of understanding of all the options available and the benefits of informal support.

In many cases, the lack of understanding means that 'bereavement support' has become synonymous with counselling. This is often the only option offered to bereaved people who seek help from their GP. Whilst very helpful for complex grief, for many, this isn't what they want or need. For those that agree to a referral, it means a wait. Counselling is rightly recommended some weeks or months after the death, and often means sitting on a waiting list with grief remaining unsupported, and with the individual at risk of their mental health deteriorating or other negative consequences.

Most bereaved people can avoid negative outcomes and help themselves 

We want everyone to be better informed - professionals as well as bereaved people - so that anyone who is bereaved can help themselves to find the support they need when they need it. This requires three things.

  1. Everyone to know that they will probably need some sort of support when they are bereaved, and that unresolved grief from years ago may be affecting them today.

  2. That there is a wealth of support out there waiting to be found. 

  3. How to find bereavement support when it is needed.

What does effective bereavement support look like?

Effective bereavement support is early, timely support in a range of ways. Bereavement affects every aspect of life; practically, emotionally, physically, mentally, relationally and spiritually, so help is needed in every area.  Most bereaved people will navigate their bereavement healthily if they find timely:

  • information about grief to understand their own responses. Some grief responses can lead people to think they are mentally ill. Bereavement is not a mental health issue unless support is delayed or the need for it is ignored.

  • information about the processes and requirements for registering the death, arranging the funeral, dealing with coroners, closing accounts and other legal and financial matters

  • community support/understanding from those around them

  • practical support to ease the pressure

  • peer support for hope, understanding and advice for dealing with issues specific to their loss

  • the opportunity to talk and to process the loss.

Supporting bereaved people with learning disabilities

Since bereavement affects every area of life, every individual is different, their circumstances are different and bereavement circumstances vary, each individual needs to be able to easily access a range of help to assist them with every area of life affected, and according to their preferences, needs and availability.  Also, wherever they are on their grief journey, as they may be affected many years after the death.  Such choice enables complementary forms of help and holistic wellbeing. Early intervention in this range of ways can prevent matters from getting worse, often meaning counselling or other specialists are not required, or can be used more effectively for complex needs.  Where a range of timely support is absent or delayed, bereaved people are at risk of mental ill-health and other negative outcomes over time. 

Why is AtaLoss so helpful?

We want people to know that is an amazing resource for anyone to find help with a bereavement. 

The website is designed to ensure every bereaved person, wherever they are, whatever their bereavement and however long ago it was, can find all the support available to help them deal with their circumstances, soon after the death and further down the line. The website is a 'one stop shop', enabling them to select what they need, when they need it and according to their preferences and situation, enabling them to find information, specialists and the important local, informal support they need, to navigate their issues and move forward positively.

Signposting involves more than just listing a few well-known services. We research right across the UK and collaborate widely with other organisations to find the formal and informal services - the lesser-known services deliberately since 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. The wider the range and the sooner it is available the greater the bereavement help.

You may not know where to start, or you may live somewhere different to where your loved one died and not get any relevant information from the hospital, care home or funeral director. has made it easy. You don't need to have any advanced knowledge to find what you need on our website. We've done the work for you. 

That's why having a central, national resource like is so important.

Go to the 'Find Bereavement Support' pages to begin a filtered search.