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Bereaved need ‘support bubbles’ says charity

The charity Sue Ryder has marked six months since the first recorded death from coronavirus in the UK by calling on government to allow ‘bereavement support bubbles’.

In a survey of those who had experienced a close death or bereavement since March 2020 55% said that they felt that their loved one’s death has become ‘just a statistic’.

Also 62% of those grieving believe, as a nation, we have become desensitised to death due to the way in which the Covid-19 pandemic was documented.   

The charity’s research also found that the biggest challenges for those who experienced a bereavement during lockdown was feeling isolated and alone when grieving (62%) and feeling as though their grief had been forgotten amidst the global crisis (59%). 

When questioned on what they felt would be helpful for other bereaved people during either a future local lockdown or another period of national lockdown, two thirds (66%) of people said being able to form a 'support bubble' with one other household would be a vital source of support.

Sue Ryder is calling on the government to extend the support bubble policy to include bereaved people with more than one adult in the household, for example housemates and older children. This would allow bereaved people to form a support bubble with another household without the need for social distancing, for any future local lockdowns or if the UK enters a second national lockdown.   

Sue Ryder Chief Executive Heidi Travis (pictured) said: “As a nation, we are experiencing bereavement and grief on a greater and more profound scale than ever before.  

“Integral and deeply personal elements of the bereavement journey have been disrupted for so many over the last few months due to social distancing measures. So many people have been unable to say goodbye to those who have died, they have then had to grieve in isolation, without the physical presence or touch of those close to them.

“Sue Ryder is calling on the government to provide better support for those who are grieving in the case of further lockdowns. By extending the existing support bubble regulations we can ensure that people who have experienced a bereavement will have a support network around them.”

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Sue Ryder has seen a significant spike in demand for its bereavement support services. This includes online video counselling delivered through trained bereavement counsellors; an online community forum offering 24-hour peer to peer support and a wide range of advice and resources for people who are grieving or supporting someone through bereavement. 

*Survey conducted by Censuswide with 503 UK respondents (aged 16+), who experienced a close death or bereavement since the end of March 2020.

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