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How to access support for a bereavement

What is bereavement?

Bereavement is a term used to describe the experience of losing someone important to us. Grief is how we respond to loss and will be unique to each person, as it affects people in different ways. When we’re grieving, our feelings and behaviour is largely dependent on the nature of our relationship with the person who passed away and the circumstances surrounding their passing.

Coping with loss can be extremely hard and is one of life's biggest challenges that none of us are ever truly prepared for.


What are the signs of grief?

Grief comes in many forms that can vary in intensity. Some people describe feeling overwhelmed by emotional strain or experiencing physical pain. Others say they feel numb, empty, or have mixed emotions – there's no right or wrong way to feel. 

If you’re going through a bereavement, you may find that your feelings change from day to day and some days can seem more difficult than others. Your grief response is personal to you, so don’t feel ashamed or worry if you’re experiencing any emotional, physical or behavioural changes – whether common or seemingly unusual. 

There are many signs of grief but the most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Intense feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • A sense of numbness or detachment
  • Changes in appetite or drinking habits
  • Problems with sleep or concentration
  • Inability to carry out everyday tasks
  • Unexplained aches and pains

For more information on the signs and symptoms of grief, please visit Cruse Bereavement Care’s website.

It can feel as though you’re dealing with things on your own but there’s no need to feel isolated or as though nobody understands – there are people who can support you in dealing with your emotions.

It’s important to acknowledge how you're feeling and to remember that help is available for all stages of the grieving process.

Where can I get support?

Here are some contact details of organisations you can turn to for bereavement support:
  • Bereavement support for adults

    Cruse Bereavement Care – for information, advice and guidance in dealing with the loss of a loved one. You can call them on: 0808 8081 677 

    Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity (SANDS) – for support with a bereavement involving the loss of a baby. You can call them on: 0808 1643 332

    Widowed and Young – for help and support in dealing with the loss of a partner under the age of 50.

    Sudden – for help and support in coping with sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one, visit or call their free Helpline on 0800 2600 400

    BEAD (Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs) – for support with a bereavement associated with drug or alcohol use.

    Macmillan Cancer Support – for help and support following the loss of a loved one to cancer. You can call them on: 0808 8080 000

    Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide – for support with a bereavement involving suicide. You can call them on: 0300 1115 065

  • Bereavement support for children and young people

    Child Bereavement UK – if you or someone you know is under the age of 18 and would like help in dealing with the loss of a loved one. You can call them on: 0800 0288 840

    Winston’s Wish – for emotional and practical support in dealing with the loss of a parent or sibling. You can call them on: 0808 8020 021

    The Grief Network – if you or someone you know is aged 20-30 and would like access to a community of young people who have also experienced a loss of someone close.

If you're experiencing persistent changes in your thoughts, feelings or behaviour that is interfering with your daily life, get in touch with your GP as soon as possible. Your GP can assess your symptoms and advise on any treatment, counselling or support you may need to help you through this difficult time. 

Find out how we can help

If you work, or have worked, for a bank in the UK and would like to speak to someone for support with a bereavement for yourself, your partner or any dependent children, call our free and confidential Helpline on 0800 0234 834. We're open 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday (except bank holidays).

More support

  • Our support services

    The Bank Workers Charity exists to support current and former bank employees. Find out more about the services and support we provide.
  • My Possible Self

    My Possible Self is a research-led app which offers a holistic approach to mental health. It can help you to manage anxiety, tackle depression, ease stress and improve sleep.
  • Bereavement

    We all experience bereavement in our own way, but understanding a little about grief may help reduce its impact. Use this guide on bereavement to learn about the grieving process.

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