Bereavement, loneliness and support

The death of a loved one can be overwhelming and you may feel very alone.

Bereavement, grief and loss can cause many different symptoms that affect people in different ways. There’s no right or wrong way to feel – your experience will be as individual as you are.

Experts generally accept that we go through four stages of bereavement or grief:

  • Accepting that your loss is real
  • Experiencing the pain of grief
  • Adjusting to life without the person
  • Putting less emotional energy into grieving and putting it into something new

Although most people go through all these stages, you may not necessarily move smoothly from one to the next.

Your grief might feel chaotic and out of control, but these feelings will eventually become less intense over time.

Dr Abhijit Bagade, who practiced as a consultant in public health medicine for many years in Suffolk, explains his belief that no one should feel that they have to deal with bereavement on their own:

“You might feel alone and isolated and think that no one understands, but people do understand. When you lose someone, be kind to yourself and take the time and steps you need to come to terms with your loss in the best way you can. 

If you reach out and talk about it, you will find there is help available at every step. Your family and friends, people at work or a group you belong to can be supportive and listen to you. Or, perhaps a local bereavement group can provide you with both support and an opportunity to meet new people.

By following the links below, you can find out what support is available, both online and in your local community, including bereavement groups and organisations who have qualified counsellors, then choose what is best for you.”

Watch this short video to learn more about bereavement support.

Please note, this video was created for people in north east Essex and refers to services available in north east Essex. For services available in your local area, please read more below.

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Local support

The NHS website provides advice and links to support:

East Suffolk and North East Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) provides bereavement services at both the Ipswich and Colchester hospitals:

St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich provides emotional support and advice, useful leaflets and booklets, the 565 Service which provides emotional support for children, young people and families living with a family member with progressive illness, and a link to GriefChat – a third party service where you can talk directly with a specially trained bereavement counsellor:

St Nicholas Hospice Care provides emotional support and advice through services and information on its website. Learn more about a range of services to supports needs concerning loneliness and bereavement. – emotional and wellbeing support – psychological services – preparing for end of life

St Nicholas Hospice Care offers a 24-hour advice line for all patients and family members as well as healthcare professionals including general practitioners, district nurses and carers.

  • Tel: 01284 766133

St Helena provides bereavement support to adults and children in north east Essex for free, regardless of cause or place of death.

Read more about their bereavement support service and refer yourself or a loved one to this service at their website:

Age Well East provide in-person support groups to anyone aged over the age of 18 who have been bereaved in Colchester and Tendring.

The regular groups will be led by trained and compassionate staff and will take place in a safe and accessible environment, aiming to stop people from experiencing grief and bereavement alone:

Marie Curie provides a range of services to support people affected by the death of a loved one. Whether the bereavement is expected, has happened recently or was some time ago. You can also speak to them before a loved one has died:

NHS 111 option 2 is a helpline for people of all ages who need urgent mental health support. The helpline is available all day, every day. If you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed or worried about your mental health, dial 111 and select the mental health option (option 2).

Suffolk County Council provides information to help you stay social, active and independent by finding groups, clubs, activities and services in your local community:

Suffolk InfoLink is an online directory of community information created by Suffolk County Council. It provides a platform for local clubs, societies, community and voluntary organisations, and public service providers to inform local communities about the support they offer.

You can share contact details of any of the directory entries with someone else by entering their mobile phone number and clicking ‘Send SMS’. The Short Message Service will send the contact details to their phone immediately.

We have listed links below to some of the bereavement support available on the directory, but encourage you to explore it further to find additional support that may help you to adjust to life after your loss:

The Faith and Spirituality Network (Suffolk) is a small unincorporated charity set up to bridge the gap between those who describe themselves as religious and may belong to a faith community, and those who see themselves as having a spiritual dimension to their lives, whether or not they adhere to a particular religious tradition. Their website has information about support systems for bereavements and funerals within faith communities in Suffolk:

Further information and additional resources

Age Space – an online community for the caring generation. Free expert advice and guide to bereavement support.

Asian Family Counselling Service – a registered national charity providing low-cost, confidential and culturally sensitive mental health and relationship counselling services in five languages to South Asian communities in Britain:

Bereavement UK – a website offering free online support for the bereaved and those facing death of a close loved one:

Brake – a road safety charity offering emotional and practical support for road crash victims:

Carers UK – offer expert information, advice and practical support coping with bereavement.

Child Bereavement UK can provide video and telephone support to families in Suffolk and Essex.

Co-op funeral directors provides plenty of useful bereavement resources on their website and some of their funeral homes run bereavement groups:

Cruse Bereavement Care offer advice and support on many aspects of bereavement on their national website including:

Grief Encounter – a website offering guidance on what to expect in bereavement during childhood:

The Good Grief Trust
Run by the bereaved, for the bereaved, this charity provides stories from others who have had a similar loss, practical and emotional support and signposting to a choice of immediate tailored local and national support:

Hope Again – the youth website of Cruse Bereavement Care supporting bereaved children and their families:

Mind – offer information on bereavement, where to got for support, and suggestions for helping yourself and others through grief.

Muslim Community Helpline – a national organisation for women, men, youth and children offering a confidential, non-judgemental listening and emotional support service:

Sue Ryder provides an online bereavement service with free and professional counselling to anyone living in the UK and 18+:

The Suffolk and North East Essex Suicide Bereavement Service provides free support for those of all ages affected by bereavement, including first responders, family, friends, workplaces, schools and other settings. Two suicide liaison workers can provide help with all emotional and practical needs for recent as well as historical incidents (there is no time limit).

Referrals can be made by the bereaved individual or by a third party on their behalf by filling in the forms below and emailing them to: [email protected]

Get more information about this service:

Suffolk Learning Disability Partnership provides a leaflet and easy read booklets on their website that can be downloaded/printed to support people with learning disabilities through a bereavement:

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS) – a charity providing support to meet the needs and overcome the isolation experienced by people over 18 who have been bereaved by suicide:

The Child Death Helpline is a freephone service for all those affected by the death of a child:

The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause:

  • TCF National UK Helpline Tel: 0345 123 2304

The Lullaby Trust –a charity offering confidential bereavement support to anyone affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or young child:

The Mix – a charity offering support and advice across the UK for those aged 25 or under:

The Silver Line – a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year:

The Samaritans provide support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you:

WAY – a charity offering a peer-to-peer support network for anyone who’s lost a partner before their 51st birthday – married or not, with or without children, whatever their sexual orientation:

Winston’s Wish – a charity that supports bereaved children, young people, their families, and the professionals who support them across the UK. They provide in-depth therapeutic support in individual, group and residential settings, as well as a Freephone National Helpline, training for professionals and specialist publications: