Recent Cruse projects are looking at how we can help communities in places like schools, prisons or retirement villages. We also want to help communities of people affected in ways which bring their own unique challenges, such as those bereaved by or with dementia, and those serving in the military and their families.
Grief is an individual thing, but recent research is showing just how important communities are. They are important as a way to reach people who might not know how to get help, and can also be a valuable source of support to those who are grieving. Read about two of our projects below.
Grieving in prison can be extremely difficult. Prisoners are separated from the support of friends and family. Many prisoners have suffered multiple and traumatic bereavements. Cruse runs projects in England and Northern Ireland to deliver support to people grieving while in prison.
The Grief Inside prison project has begun running an innovative pilot, training up small groups of prisoners to become Cruse Bereavement Peer Supporters. We want to find out about the different benefits this type of service can offer. The training complements support provided by chaplaincies, and ongoing support from Cruse volunteers.
The pilot is running at one Category B prison and two Category C prisons. The Peer Supporters can make themselves available to speak to other prisoners on the wings. They might be called on when a prisoner has just entered prison and they are struggling because of a bereavement, or received bad news while they are in prison that a significant person has died. They might not be able to attend a funeral (for a variety of reasons) and be struggling with thoughts of self-harming or acting on suicidal thoughts. Some comments from prisoners who have been through the training are given below.
Bereavement peer support can be a life changer, I’m sure of this. It’s my personal opinion of three years experience of prison life. Just having someone to talk to.
I found the training hard at times and educational. However, I gained life skills and more understanding in grief and coping strategies.
The training was very useful as I have gained certain skills to give my support to other men. Wearing my Cruse t shirt helps massively so it helps the men identify who I am and what I do. Staff see me as being a responsible person.