Bereavement is universal – it affects all of us. With around 600,000 deaths in the UK each year, millions of us are bereaved.
Bereavement has a huge emotional, financial and practical impact on those left behind, but is all too often ignored by policy makers. Bereavement is associated with an increased risk of mortality, physical and mental health problems (such as anxiety and depression), relationship difficulties and difficulties coping with everyday life.
At this election we call on all political parties to agree a manifesto for bereaved people. We want to see:
- A named Minister with responsibility for bereavement and a cross-departmental strategy
- A national review of the impact of financial, administrative and economic effects on bereaved people
- Local funding for high quality bereavement support
- Training in bereavement for all those coming into contact with bereaved people
- Better bereavement support at work
- More compassionate communities where everyone knows enough about grief to play their part in supporting people around a death
The full manifesto
Cruse Bereavement Care is calling for the following.
Responsibility for policy affecting people who have been bereaved is split across many government departments. This can result in a lack of joined-up thinking and a danger that bereaved people are always assumed to be another department’s responsibility. We need a named Minister with responsibility for bereavement, to make sure departments work together and that bereaved people’s needs are prioritised in the making and implementing of policy and practice.
A national review of the impact of financial, administrative and economic changes on bereaved people
We are calling for a cross-departmental review of the financial impact of current welfare, administrative and economic changes on those who have been bereaved. Many bereaved people have money worries including meeting the costs of the funeral and adjusting to a changed household income. Some groups, for example unmarried partners, are currently treated unfairly. We will see greater levels of poverty and distress, unless changes are given proper scrutiny, and planning takes the needs of bereaved people into account.
Too many people still lack support after a bereavement, and in too many areas there is no statutory funding for the agencies and charities helping bereaved people. We are calling on local NHS bodies and local authorities to ensure that there is funding available so all bereaved people in their area can receive a high-quality service.
People who come into contact with bereaved people through their work need to understand how grief affects people, know how to respond with empathy, and be aware of where they can refer people for more help. We are calling on both the public and private sector to make sure anyone who comes into contact with bereaved people is properly trained.
We are calling for a national review of employment practice relating to bereavement to improve the way that bereaved people are treated at work. We want to keep up pressure on all employers to consider the needs of their bereaved employees and subscribe to best practice. Every organisation should have a bereavement policy in place which clearly outlines what employees can expect when someone close to them dies.
More compassionate communities where everyone knows enough about grief to play their part in supporting people around a death
We want to open up the conversation about death, dying and bereavement so that people are comfortable talking about grief and are able to offer practical and emotional support within their communities. We want bereavement to be covered on the school curriculum so that bereaved children feel accepted and supported by their peers, and so that all young people grow up into adults able to play their part supporting others.