When grief becomes your emergency
Witnessing death can make it hard to switch off, even when the shift is over. Emergency services staff are likely to be confronted with loss more regularly than many other professions and it’s not uncommon for these experiences to take a toll on mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s why ‘You Behind the Uniform’ is offering self-care and confidential support designed around your needs. We also help families of blue light personnel and can help you to assist your colleagues. ‘You Behind the Uniform’ provides the tools and resources you need to manage during this painful and challenging time because we know bereavement is an emergency - no matter how strong you are, what you do, or how well trained you are.
You can attend our bespoke information days/workshops, visit our web pages to discover lots of helpful resources or contact our helpline for more direct support. If you are Behind the uniform, we are here for you.
Looking out for teammates and supporting grieving families
Many of us come into contact with bereaved colleagues during the course of our working lives and even the most confident person can find it hard to know what to say. Your colleague may want to talk about what happened and one of the most helpful things you can do is simply listen and give them the time and setting to express their grief as they choose.
You may want to pass on the contact details below, so your colleague can access confidential and independent support. Behind the uniform, we are here for you and for them.
For information contact us at YouBeU@cruse.org.uk.
Call the National Helpline: 0808 808 1677.
Here are some suggestions which may help you and them:
- Offer your condolences
- Be there for your colleague who is grieving – ask how they are doing and what support they need
- Offer practical help
- Recognise that everyone grieves in their own way; there is no ‘normal’ way
- Be aware that grief can take a long time
- When appropriate, create an environment in which the bereaved person can be themselves and express their feelings, rather than having to put up a front
- Tell them to get in touch with Cruse
- Don’t avoid someone who is grieving or ignore the situation
- Don’t use clichés: ‘I know just how you feel’ or ‘You’ll get over it’
- Don’t tell them it’s time to move on, or that they should be over it by now
- Don’t assume you know how the person is feeling – every bereavement is unique
- Don’t say anything that may minimise or undermine the loss, such as ‘it’s just part of the job’ or ‘we all have bad days’
- Don’t say anything to make light of bereavement, such as ‘time will heal’ or ‘pull yourself together’