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UK Commission on Bereavement launches to explore impact of pandemic grief

Working in partnership with a number of UK charities, and with researchers leading an academic study on the issue, a UK Commission on Bereavement through and beyond Covid-19 has been established to explore the impact of mass bereavement suffered during the pandemic and make recommendations to better support bereaved people.

The UK Bereavement Commission will explore several priority areas, which may include:

  • Key challenges affecting bereaved people during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Understanding what new challenges emerged as a result of the pandemic, and how Covid-19 exacerbated existing problems
  • Issues that have been especially challenging to people having the best possible experience of bereavement. Examples include social isolation and loneliness, access to services, mental health provision and financial support
  • Any models of good practice that emerged during the pandemic which should be retained and further developed in the future
  • The impact of new approaches to technology use in supporting people affected by bereavement through the pandemic
  • Understanding how different social groups – including BAME communities, and those living in poverty - have been affected differently through the course of the pandemic
  • Lessons that have been learned about the experience of bereavement during a mass bereavement event like Covid-19
  • What recommendations should be made to different decision makers about how support for bereaved people could be improved, both now and in the long term

The Commission will work closely with a national research project funded by UKRI/ESRC.
The project is titled Supporting people bereaved during Covid-19: a mixed methods study of bereaved people's experiences and the bereavement services supporting them. It's an 18-month project that began in August 2020 and provides foundational evidence and areas for further exploration for the Commission.
Key activities
There are vital activities to undertake that will cover all four UK nations. There will be particular focus on the experiences of communities disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Key activities include:

  • Consultation with people bereaved during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Consultation with experts and service providers (including on their own experiences of bereavement in undertaking their work)
  • Review existing and emerging literature about bereavement experience during Covid-19
  • An open consultation for organisations and individuals to submit experiences of bereavement support during Covid-19 and to make recommendations for change
  • Launch event to open the Commission and share the final report

The Commission launched in June 2021 with a final report published from the Commission in 2022.

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