Bereavement counsellor fears losing loved ones in lockdown will exacerbate grief

Volunteers for Cruse Bereavement Care in Suffolk are now consoling grieving people over the phone. P

Volunteers for Cruse Bereavement Care in Suffolk are now consoling grieving people over the phone. Picture: CRUSE BEREAVEMENT - Credit: Archant

Bereavement counsellors in Suffolk are concerned for people’s mental health as visiting restrictions mean if your loved one dies in hospital, you might not get the chance to say goodbye.

Jane O'Riordan is a Cruse Bereavement Care volunteer for Suffolk and helps people through their time

Jane O'Riordan is a Cruse Bereavement Care volunteer for Suffolk and helps people through their time of grief. Picture: JAMIE DAVID - Credit: Archant

Jane O’Riordan volunteers for Cruse Bereavement Care in Suffolk and is worried that people are not able to process their grief properly as calls to the service have dropped drastically during lockdown.

The Ipswich service had a very long waiting list prior to the pandemic and Mrs O'Riordan said: “I am really worried that when the lockdown is lifted the phone lines will go mad.

“People won’t have had what we call their ‘good ending’ which is where they get to say their goodbyes, hold the funeral and let go of their grief.

“This will create a lot of unresolved emotion for them and for their mental health this is shocking.”

MORE: All the latest news on coronavirus About 60% of referrals to the service come from GPs and Cruse volunteers would usually meet people face to face. However, support work is currently provided over the telephone. Mrs O'Riordan admits many people are finding it difficult to speak over the telephone but says many have the added support of family or housemates who, due to working from home schemes and lockdown measures, are nearer to hand. However, more than 400 people have now died in Suffolk and north Essex hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19 in addition to patients who are losing their lives to other medical conditions. Mrs O'Riordan said the current situation was making people more aware of death, whereas normally many weren’t comfortable talking about it, often preferring to avoid the topic. JOIN the Suffolk Coronavirus Updates group on Facebook She added: “What we are seeing now is anticipatory grief where all the ‘what ifs’ are mounting up on people. “People are being overwhelmed by the thought of if they lose a parent, sibling or child and can’t see them to say goodbye.” “But, we often don’t make wills or talk about what we want when we’re gone and this makes it much more difficult when someone is gone to go through what they wanted.” Cruse Bereavement Care is fundraising so it can provide its vital, volunteer-led service for free, To donate, visit its Just Giving page.


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