A brief guide to bereavement and grief

It’s likely that we will know of someone who is experiencing a bereavement, or we might also have our own personal experiences. Being ‘deprived through death’ can be a sensitive subject to talk about, even for the person who is bereaved. However, a few pointers here can help us to know how to support someone who is experiencing a bereavement or is grieving.

What is bereavement or grief?

Being bereaved or in grief has often been described as a club that no one wants the invite to or be in. Bereavement is the period following a loss where a person experiences grief. Grief is the emotional response to loss, involving a succession of different emotions over a period of time. Each person’s experience with grief will be unique, as it affects people in different ways. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor can it be hurried. The outward expression of grief is often referred to as mourning.

Ways to give support to someone who is experiencing a bereavement or is grieving:

  • Emotional support – giving the person the opportunity to talk. Adopting an empathetic approach, allow plenty of time so that person can express what they are thinking or feeling. Listen tentatively with warmth and compassion, showing that you care about what they are saying can be a great source of comfort to them.

  • Practical support – the level of help you can offer will depend on your circumstances and your relationship to the bereaved. You might be assisting with the funeral arrangements or able to help the bereaved person with domestic tasks such as cooking or shopping.

  • Informational support – you might be able to help by either finding out or supplying the information that may be required for certain procedures. Death registration, how to claim bereavement benefits or finding out further sources of support can be useful.

The Good Grief Trust brings all the UK bereavement services together under one umbrella. Reassure the person who is grieving that they are not alone. Ensuring that someone is supported in their grief is so important, in order to help them to come to terms with their loss. Where someone does not experience a healthy recovery from grief, this can adversely affect their wellbeing over the longer term. Mental health conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder can manifest from grief being ‘stuck’ or when someone has endured a series of unresolved bereavements.

Ling Salter of Compassionate Cuppa offers mentoring to individuals to optimise their emotional wellbeing. Feel better and live life well. Find out more or to book your first FREE session on

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Image Description: Seated Teddy Bear in grief, with two limbs over it’s eyes.

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