The service will provide a space for people needing help and support through the various stages of grief with one-to-one video chat sessions with a trained bereavement counsellor. The counsellors will be able to help users cope emotionally and help to work through the practical issues that arise when someone dies. Members can book the sessions at different times to suit their schedules.
The pilot has been developed by the Sue Ryder Online Community, which was launched in 2015 primarily to give support and advice to people facing the end of life and their families. It is now also a significant support to hundreds and thousands of people dealing with bereavement.
The charity developed the service by inviting current online community members and cold users to discuss the possibility and usefulness of an integrated, 1-2-1 video chat support service.
Lizzie Procter, Hospice Director of Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice said:
“We do not talk enough about dying and death in our culture; it is something we tend to ignore. So it is no wonder that when the inevitable happens and someone we care for dies, many of us struggle and feel entirely alone.
“As our online community has grown, it has become clear there is a real need for people to have a space to share experiences and feelings, to vent, to support each other and to call for help.
“This next stage in the development of the Sue Ryder Online Community is very significant. It allows us to use new technology so we can reach more people and give them a place where they can speak face to face with someone with expertise in bereavement support or counselling in a space where they feel safe and comfortable, in their own home.”
A Sue Ryder community member recently tried the new service and they commented:
“All of the hour I had was positive, very kind, comforting and considerate to the way I feel. I was left with a nice feeling for the rest of my day – thanks for listening.”
The new service is accessible via the Sue Ryder Online Community website and launches initially as a six month trial.