Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a provider of mental health and disability services, is signposting advice and support to those who have been bereaved.
Christmas can be a difficult time of year for anyone who has lost a loved one. This year Christmas may be particularly hard, a year we have suffered collective loss.
Bereavement can have a significant impact on our wellbeing, especially when our normal reactions and behaviours have been restricted. Many families have not been able to attend funerals, visit loved ones in hospital or grieve in the way they have wanted.
Karen O’Rourke, Patient Information Centre Manager at CNTW, said: “Death is a situation none of us can properly prepare for. When we are faced with loss, we are faced with many questions. Some of these questions may not have an answer but it’s still important to talk through our thoughts and feelings – whatever they may be.
“We want people to know that help is there and to make it as easy as possible for people to find the support they need.”
Here are some tips we hope you might find useful:
- Be with the people you love, even if you want to hide under the covers
- Make it okay not to be okay. Have some time on your own if you feel you need to
- Be aware of short-term relievers, such as alcohol and junk food
- Don’t feel guilty for having happy moments; this is normal and healthy
- Take some time to yourself. Light a candle or cook your loved one’s favourite dish
- Hang a special memento, photo or message
- Buy yourself a special gift from your loved one to cherish
- Share your favourite memories with family and friends
- Self-care is important. Do things that make you feel relaxed – a nice bath, reading, going for a walk or a hobby
The Trust also has a number of self-help guides, including one on bereavement which is for anyone who has experienced a bereavement either recently or in the past. The self-help guides are available in a range of formats, including audio and British Sign Language, and can be found online at: www.cntw.nhs.uk/selfhelp
Here are other services that you may find helpful:
- Cruse Bereavement Care https://www.cruse.org.uk/
- Childhood Bereavement Network http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/
- NHS England have a confidential bereavement support line, operated by Hospice UK, which is free to access from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. A team of fully qualified and trained bereavement specialists are available to support you with bereavement and wellbeing issues relating to loss experienced through your work. You will be offered up to 3 sessions with the same counsellor and onward support to staff mental health services if you need. Call 0300 303 4434