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Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service (IAPT) is a confidential NHS service providing easy access to psychological therapies for people experiencing depression and anxiety. To make a referral online, please use the link below:

  • Barnet Bereavement Services

Bereavement 

When someone you love dies…

We hope the information on this page provides a bit of comfort

It’s normal and you are normal

When somebody loses a loved one, it is usually very difficult and trying time. The emotions you are going through are probably quite normal. Often, people think they’re going mad or crazy because they either see things or can’t quite get their ‘head’ straight. One moment, you may be thinking that you’re fine and doing okay and then at another moment, unexpectedly, you might find yourself in floods of tears. All of this is quite normal. The important thing is not to question how you feel but to allow it simply to be.

At the bottom of this page, you will find a list of local organisations in Barnet that offer free Bereavement Support. Please don’t hesitate to call them. But before you do, please continue reading this page (in which we hope you find some comfort).

The Normal Grief Reaction

The following is a list of things commonly experienced by people who have lost a loved one. These are quite NORMAL and they will soon disappear.   None of them mean that you are going mad.  And many are often out of proportion (like guilt or anger).  Try not to be too preoccupied by them – don’t obstruct them, just let them happen.  There’s no right way of coping with a death – people respond to a loss in their own individual way.

  • Preoccupation with thoughts of the dead person leading to tearfulness and to insomnia.
  • Visual phenomena Illusions of seeing the dead person and pseudo hallucination visual, auditory and physical.
  • Yearning
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Poor concentration
  • Indecision and Restlessness.  There may be periods of being able to concentrate and perform quite well amongst periods of haziness and indecision.
  • Forgetfulness
  • Fatigue
  • Searching – knowing that the person is dead but going hopefully to places where the would have been.

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE GRIEF REACTION


People who experience bereavement often wonder whether they are depressed.  Most of the time, they are not – instead, what they are experiencing is a grief reaction – where one’s mood is expected to be low.   You may find comfort in knowing that most people manage to carry on with their lives a few months after a loved one has passed on.   Grief usually passes through three stages, but these stages are not separate, nor do they necessarily follow in sequence.

  1. An initial stage of shock or disbelief when it is difficult to believe that the death has occurred. This stage may last minutes or weeks.
  2. A stage of acute anguish or anger  that usually lasts from weeks to months when feelings of depression occur. Planning the future may be difficult.
  3. A phase of resolution after months, or even years.

It can take between 6 months to 1 year to go through these three stages.   The average is probably around 6 months.

The pain of grief is heavy, but over time the load gets lighter. Its with us still but we can learn to cope cope.

Everyone experiences grief in different ways, with painful emotions often returning at unexpected times.

How can I tell if I am depressed?

Although most bereaved people are not depressed, around one third (30%) can be.  Symptoms that suggest a bereaved person is also depressed include:

  • intense feelings of guilt not related to the bereavement
  • thoughts of suicide or a preoccupation with dying
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • markedly slow speech and movements, lying in bed doing nothing all day
  • prolonged or severe inability to function (not able to work, socialise or enjoy any leisure activity)
  • prolonged hallucinations of the deceased, or hallucinations unrelated to the bereavement.

Please see your GP as soon as possible if you feel this is you.

When should I go to see my GP?

It takes on average 6 months for a person to get through a bereavement.  In some circumstances, people get stuck in their bereavement journey, and it is in these cases where they may need a doctor to help them move on.

See your GP within a week if any of these apply…

You should go and see your doctor EARLY (i.e. within 2 weeks of the death) if

  • Your loved one died a sudden or unexpected death
  • Your loved one died a painful, stormy or horrible death
  • You have experienced multiple losses recently
  • You feel you cannot carry on living without your loved one.
  • There is no one else at home who lives with you.
  • You have other life crises – financial, job loss, house being repossessed etc
  • You have already been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, panic disorder or any other mental health illness.

The following worrying features of depression would further indicate that you need to see a GP.

  • intense feelings of guilt not related to the bereavement
  • thoughts of suicide or a preoccupation with dying
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • markedly slow speech and movements, lying in bed doing nothing all day
  • prolonged or severe inability to function (not able to work, socialise or enjoy any leisure activity)
  • prolonged hallucinations of the deceased, or hallucinations unrelated to the bereavement.

What can I do to help myself?

  • The support of family and friends is invaluable to anyone – especially at difficult times. So make sure you are surrounded by other loved ones.  Sadness after bereavement is natural: it’s normal to want to discuss the deceased and become upset while doing so. Expressing feeling does not make things worse. So, make sure you have pictures of your loved one around your house and pluck up the courage to discuss the good times.
  • Try not to dwell on the bad times.  All relationships have ups and downs and focussing on the downs does nothing but harm you.   Besides, your loved one probably wouldn’t have wanted you to focus on the bad times either.  Surely they’d want you to remember them in a positive light.
  • Sometimes, you may feel your brain is focused and your body quite productive.  At other times, you may feel quite hazy, indecisive and not be able to do much physically at all.  This is absolutely normal.  Try not to get frustrated – just let your body do its thing.  Go with the flow. 

Be in the moment

Instead of analysing or questioning the way you feel, accept those feelings and let them be.  Remember, one moment you may be okay and the next you may not.  All of this is okay.

Express feelings

Talk about your loved one to others.  There may be feelings around anger, guilt, anxiety, helplessness and sadness.   Talk them through.  And if it makes you cry or be angry, let it.

Don’t dwell on the bad times

All relationships have their ups and downs.   Try to focus on the good times.

Bereavement Counselling

Please consider getting in touch with a Bereavement Support Service, even if you think you are doing okay.   Just give them a go.

Bereavement Support Services

Grief or Bereavement counselling helps mourning by allowing someone to work through the stages of grief in a supported relationship.  So, look up some of the the organisations we have listed below – even if you think you are doing okay.   The goals of grief counselling include:

  • accepting the loss and talking about it
  • identifying and expressing feelings related to the loss (anger, guilt, anxiety, helplessness, sadness)
  • living without the deceased and making decisions alone
  • separating emotionally and forming new relationships
  • the provision of support
  • identifying ways of coping that suit the bereaved. Explaining the grieving process.

In the unfortunate event that a person has passed away, there are three things that must be done in the first few days;

  • Get a medical certificate from your GP or hospital doctor (this is necessary to register the death)
  • Register the death within 5 days. You will then receive the necessary documents for the funeral.
  • Make the necessary funeral arrangements.

Register their death

If the death has been reported to the coroner, they must give permission before registering the death.

You can register the death if you are a relative, a witness to the death, a hospital administrator or the person making the arrangements with the funeral directors.

You can use the ‘Register a Death’ page on the gov.uk website that will guide you through the process.

Arrange the funeral

The funeral can usually only take place after the death is registered. Most people use a funeral director, though you can arrange a funeral yourself.

Funeral directors

Choose a funeral director who is a member of one of the following:

These organisations have codes of practice – they must give you a price list when asked.

Some local councils run their own funeral services, for example for non-religious burials. The British Humanist Association can also help with non-religious funerals.

Arranging the funeral yourself

Contact the Cemeteries and Crematorium Department of your local council to arrange a funeral yourself.

Funeral costs

Funeral costs can include:

  • funeral director fees
  • things the funeral director pays for on your behalf (called ‘disbursements’ or ‘third-party costs’), for example, crematorium or cemetery fees, or a newspaper announcement about the death
  • local authority burial or cremation fees

Funeral directors may list all these costs in their quotes.

Please see our web link for help and advice regarding bereavement if you would like further advice on this.

Barnet Bereavement Service 

020 3759 4347

barnetbereavement@tiscali.co.uk

Barnet Bereavement Service

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/directories/support-organisations/barnet-bereavement-service

0203 759 4347

Covid-19 Bereavement

https://www.barnet.gov.uk/news/new-barnet-covid-19-bereavement-support-and-counselling-service

North London Hospice

0208 343 6819

Marie Curie Bereavement Support Centre

https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/bereavement

0800 0902 309

Sudden Infant Death Support

https://www.teddyswish.org/who-we-are

Bereaved by Suicide

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/bereavement/bereavement-by-suicide

Support After Suicide Partnership 

Bereavement by Traumatic Events

Anyone can contact CRUSE if they want to talk about themselves. 

Day by Day helpline 0870 167 1677

Young person’s helpline Freephone 0808 808 1677

https://www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/traumatic-bereavement/death-from-violence-and-crimeAbundant

London Bereavement Network
020 7700 8134
356 Holloway Road, London N7 6P

Cruse Bereavement Care
Helpline: 0844 477 9400 Mon-Fri 9.30am-5pm
Email: helpline@cruse.org.uk
Young Person’s helpline: 0808 808 1677
www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk

The Loss Foundation

Tel: 0300 200 4112

http://thelossfoundation.org/support-groups/

SupportLine

Telephone Helpline:

01708 765200

email: info@supportline.org.uk

The Bereavement Register

020 7089 6403 or 0800 082 1230 (24 hour automated registration service)

www.the-bereavement-register.org.uk

Bereavement Trust Helpline:

0800 435 455 6pm-10pm every evening

www.bereavement-trust.org.uk

Support for anyone who has been bereaved.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

Phone: 07934 976 253

Email: northlondon.sobs@gmail.com

Depression, Anxiety and Stress


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Healthy Living

Eating Well & Exercise

You don’t have to spend lots of money to eat well. Watch this video to see dietitian Azmina Govindji explain how you can eat healthily for less.

Useful LinksNHS – Good Food Guide 
Information on a healthy diet and ways to make it work for you.

BBC Healthy Living – Nutrition 
A good diet is central to overall good health, but which are the best foods to include in your meals, and which ones are best avoided? This section looks at the facts, to help you make realistic, informed choices.


Community Groups


Stop Smoking

Want to Quit?

Talk to your GP,

contact your local NHS stop-smoking services,

or call the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0800 328 8534

GPs are delighted to help people who have decided to quit smoking. About 40% of smokers will die from a smoking-related condition, so they know that stopping is one change that will make a big difference to your life.

Patients will see health benefits within days, such as improved taste and smell, while important benefits, such as lower risks of heart attack, stroke, lung cancer and improvements in breathing will happen in the first year or two.

Your GP will probably have been chasing you to stop smoking if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, circulation problems or history of stroke, heart attack, angina, asthma or chronic lung disorders.

There are excellent local NHS stop-smoking services. These NHS services are very good at tailoring treatment to your lifestyle habits. With medication and the support of these services, you’re four times more likely to give up successfully.

Read more at Smokefree

Read more at NHS Choices