Essex charities partner to meet increased need for bereavement support

Categories: Care and Featured.

St Helena Hospice has partnered with Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex to expand its bereavement support service during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

St Helena Hospice provides its bereavement support to anybody who has been bereaved, regardless of how or where their loved one has died. When someone is referred to the service, they are triaged and appropriate support is given to them, tailored to their needs.  

Demand for this service has always been high, and this is expected to increase further in the coming weeks and months.  

Susie Burnby, St Helena Hospice’s joint bereavement team lead, counsellor and supervisor, explains: “During this global pandemic, we are facing a tragic loss of life, often under very difficult circumstances, and because of pressures on frontline services and restrictions on visiting, the death of loved ones may feel particularly traumatic.

“People are also facing grieving for their loved ones in isolation – without the comfort and face to face support of family members and friends.

“In April we decided to expand our service to ensure we could be there for those who need us, when they need us. Our waiting list for support in the past has been long, but we were able to second staff from other teams, over to our team, train them, and we have now reduced our waiting list significantly, so when people do refer themselves, we can provide the best support for them as quickly as possible.

“By partnering with Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex, we have been able to draw on their resource of bereavement befrienders, who can provide a listening ear and some support over the phone immediately until a St Helena counsellor is available. They can also continue to provide support after counselling sessions have finished, if the person feels that would be beneficial.”

Age Concern Colchester & North East Essex is also supporting the hospice by recruiting qualified counsellors to become St Helena bereavement volunteers, offering bereavement support over the telephone. 

St Helena Hospice has recently also secured funding to launch counsellor-led online Zoom groups for adults bereaved by suicide. Referrals are welcome for this service.

Susie added: “We provide bereavement support to anyone, no matter the cause of death and you do not need to have had support from St Helena prior to receiving bereavement support.

“We are able to provide bereavement support and counselling to children, young people, families and adults over the phone or video call. People can refer themselves on our website, as well as being referred by their GP or other health or social care worker.”

For more information visit St Helena Hospice

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