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Carers Helpline:

The Carers Help And Talk (CHAT) line is available 24 hours a day 365 days per year. The line is manned by Carers who have an understanding of caring for a person with a mental health condition.

CHAT Line number:
0333 103 9747


Serious loss is something we will all face at some time of our lives. Whether it be because of the death of someone close to us or other circumstances such as the loss of our health or our home. Many of us will not experience bereavement or loss until later in life and may have little opprtunity to learn about death and about how people are affected by grief.

Everyone's response to loss is a very individual experience. However there are some common experiences that many people will share. 

People often describe shock soon after the death of a close friend or relative, they may feel numb, panicky, very weepy or unable to cry at all. 

Some people may find it difficult to sleep, others may have physical symptoms such as heart palpitations. 

Some people find they calmly go through the practical tasks surrounding the death, and worry that they may be seen as uncaring. 

Some people find themselves unable to cope and need a lot of practical and emotional support from those around them at this point. 

When do people begin to recover from a bereavement?

Coming to terms with a death is a very gradual process which can take a considerable length of time. People usually find that they are able to get on with their lives and think a little less about the person they have lost. Most people begin to feel like this within one of two years of the death of a loved one. It may be difficult to accept the death of a loved one but possible to move on with life in spite of this. It is important not to feel guilty if you are beginning to build a life for yourself following a death

Bereavement is always a difficult time but there are things you can do to help yourself through it:

Prepare for the death of someone you are close to. It is important emotionally and practically to talk things over.

Carefully consider whether you want to see the body of the dead person. Some people may feel this is too distressing but can regret it later on if they have done this. Follow your own feelings; there is no right or wrong thing to do, but do think it out.

Funeral arrangements should be considered carefully. Try to have someone with you. Don't feel pressured into a funeral that is too expensive for your budget. Try and think about what you really want.

Don't make major changes in your life, such as selling your house, moving areas, jobs etc. until you have had time to adjust to the death. This is a time when people may make changes they can regret.

Do make sure you look after your own health. This is a time when you may become prone to illness. Eat well, rest properly and take extra care. Consult your doctor if your health is not good.

Talk to people about how you feel. Don't bottle things up. Go to your doctor if you feel you have no one you can talk to. They may suggest speaking to a counsellor.

Keep up contacts and relationships. Accept invitations, invite people to visit, keep in touch with family and friends.

Ask for help if you're not coping.

Do not turn to drinking to get you over this difficult time.

Royal College of Psychiatrists: Coping with Bereavement

Cruse Bereavement Care

BBC Coping with Bereavement