BEAD project: Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs

Bereavement through a loved one's drug or alcohol use is a devastating, challenging and often isolating experience. That’s why Cruse in partnership with Adfam has set up the BEAD project (Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs) with a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to offer peer support and targeted information for people bereaved in this way.  You can find further information on the BEAD website

I’ve been bereaved through a loved one’s drug or alcohol use


Group support

A third peer support group started in London in February. It is facilitated by two volunteers who have themselves been bereaved through drugs or alcohol and have been trained to offer support to others going through similar experiences.

We hope to run a fourth peer support group in London later this year; if you are interested please do register your interest by emailing us at and we will get back to you when the date is confirmed.

All support groups are free to attend and open to any adult who’s lost someone in this way. The groups are closed – attendees are expected to attend all sessions, and once the group starts it won’t accept new members. There are eight group sessions. All groups are fairly small to promote an intimate and effective setting.


Other support

Our small but growing team of BEAD peer support volunteers have all had personal experience of being bereaved through a loved one’s drug and alcohol use and are trained to offer support to others going through a similar experience. We offer two kinds of telephone support:

  • Befriending: This is informal social support over the telephone where our volunteers are available once a week to chat with you and listen to your experiences.

  • Telephone bereavement support: Our volunteers offer six weekly or fortnightly sessions of more in-depth structured emotional support, helping you to share your experiences, explore your feelings and find ways of coping with your loss.

If you feel you would like to receive support from the BEAD project, please email letting us know your name and telephone number and someone will call you during the next week for an in-depth conversation about your experience and needs and to talk you through the support we offer.

Please note that the BEAD project team will endeavour to arrange support for anyone who requires it as soon as possible, but there is a high level of need, and consequently there is a waiting list. Whenever possible we’ll link clients with the type of support they wish for but due to the availability of volunteers this may not always be possible.

Neither BEAD project managers work full time on this project – the BEAD email box is regularly monitored and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

What if I need support for my own bereavement immediately?

If you need immediate support now for your bereavement, please call the Cruse National Helpline on 0808 808 1677. The helpline is available Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5pm with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until 8pm.

Outside these hours you can call the Samaritans helpline 24 hours a day for free on 116 123.

DrugFam also has some useful information and links on its website about drug and alcohol related bereavement. Read the leaflet Bereaved by Addiction.

For those based in Bristol and the South West, Bereavement through Addiction has useful information on its website

What research have you carried out?

Read our literature review.

Read our consultation findings.

A fantastic new resource from the Universities of Bath and Stirling for professionals working with people bereaved through drug or alcohol use - Bereaved through Substance Use - is now available.

How can I contact the project team?

You can email Jane Shackman at Cruse: or Rob Stebbings at Adfam: