We’ve welcomed a new report that identifies urgent need for action to improve the experience of bereaved people across the four nations of the UK.
The United Kingdom Commission on Bereavement, which was established in June 2021, received evidence from surveys, interviews and consultations and has made recommendations in its report Bereavement is everyone’s business.
The report reflects the full range of bereavement experience that include support from immediate family and community, schools colleges and workplaces, the burden and costs of administration of death that falls on bereaved people, and access to bereavement support.
Three out of five people (60%) interviewed by the commission reported they felt they needed specialist bereavement support, but only 39% said it had been made available.
The commission calls on the UK governments to invest into system-wide responses to bereavement and its findings include the regularity of significant inequalities in the experiences of people from marginalised and racialised community backgrounds.
It calls for action from professional and public bodies, as well as third sector community support organisations, to ensure they have bereavement training that is culturally-informed, and contextually tailored.
All such training should include focus on complex and traumatic grief, at an appropriate level and bereavement support services are called upon to sign up to an agreed set of standards, ensuring they meet the diverse needs of the communities they serve.
Culturally sensitive support
Jeremy Bacon, our Third Sector Lead, said: “Bereavement affects everyone at different times of our lives and this report highlights the need to address inequalities in the support that people receive.
“Its focus on community responses to bereavement highlights the particular role of third sector organisations in improving access to timely and culturally sensitive support to the communities they serve.”
The commission’s recommendations set out eight principles for change and include amplifying the voices of bereaved people through further research.
The report includes a quote from an interviewee describing the value to her of counselling following the death of her father.
“My counsellor also allowed me time to explore my grief and all of the stresses and new responsibilities within my life,” they said. “They were a constant presence when everything else was all in turmoil and I was unable to see my family as they lived too far away, and I was living with my brain-damaged mother who was also grieving.”
Chaired by Dame Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of London, and working in partnership with a number of third sector organisations and university researchers the independent commission is made up of sixteen bereavement experts, including our Vice President Julia Samuel author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass.
Publication of the report is a significant step in the commission’s aim to transform support for bereaved people and it calls on organisations and individuals with interest in its work to support the implementation of its recommendations.
Read the United Kingdom Commission on Bereavement's report Bereavement is everyone’s business.
How do you cope with the death of a loved one? How can you deal with the overwhelming feelings of loss and grief? BACP member Sara Mathews explains how counselling can help.
How counselling can help a child cope with grief
BACP member Willis Atherley-Bourne explains how grief counselling can help children explore and understand their feelings about a bereavement.
What does a bereavement counsellor do?
Watch our member Paula Fowle explain how bereavement counsellors support people who are struggling with grief