Building Resilience | Cruse Bereavement Care

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Guidelines for management – When your employee is grieving

Cruse’s primary long-term aim on this project is to assist the emergency services in developing an internal culture of resilience and self-care that enables employees to seek bereavement support when needed. This leads to a more sustainable workforce, and better personal and professional lives.

Emergency services personnel are more likely to experience injury or death in their roles. A combination of interventions including early assessment and intervention, focused time-limited support, peer support and management training all contribute to better outcomes for bereaved people – particularly those who have experienced a traumatic and sudden bereavement. There is strong evidence that workplace trauma (including grief) is a major contributor to a decline in mental health, as well as long-term sickness absence in the workforce. By addressing workplace trauma our service will also directly benefit sickness absence.


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’


Benefits to your organisation

Free services
We are delighted to be able to offer our support services for free to Emergency Services. Self care sessions are offered on first come first served basis

Your employees and grieving families will receive information which will help them understand how they might be feeling and what they can do to cope.  

Independent support
Our self-care sessions and direct support are not replacements to any existing service you might have, but they will work in addition to it.

Specialist help
You will benefit from our 60 years’ experience in bereavement and our long history of partnership-working and advanced best practice development in the bereavement field. Our expertise has led us to working on the response team for the Grenfell fire and Westminster Bridge attack, supporting first-responders and the general public first-hand.

For further details and to book an information and self-care session for your staff contact us on