Speaking today at the Cremation & Burial Conference & Exhibition 2013 Cruse Chief Executive Debbie Kerslake asked 'Is this the worst time to be bereaved?'
Debbie addressed key issues affecting bereaved people and the potential impact on their grieving. These include political changes such as recent and proposed changes to bereavement benefits and the introduction of the medical examiner system. She also brought up current areas of concern and controversy including the debate about bereavement and mental health and the issues around statutory bereavement leave.
Addressing the conference in Stratford upon Avon, Debbie said:
"Bereavement is a terrible experience whenever someone is facing it. There is no best time or worst time to be bereaved.
"But as a society, no matter what the challenges we are facing, we have to do all we can to ensure that bereaved people do not lose out in the fight for resources and remain committed to continually developing and expanding to provide the highest quality of care to any bereaved child young person or adult who needs it. Bereaved people are amongst the most vulnerable in society. It is not that we can’t afford to support bereaved people – we can’t afford not to. The risks to mental and physical health of not doing so could be catastrophic."
She went on to outline the causes for optimism, and explained how the current situation has informed Cruse's new strategic priorities:
"Cruse is very aware of the difficulties accessing services. With our new strategy we have a major development programme starting which will see us developing a whole range of services including self-help, peer and community support services.
"Whether campaigning and lobbying or delivering services, working collaboratively we can address the many issues that bereaved people face."