Over 100,000 extra people grieving in isolation as the UK faces bereavement on a national scale | Cruse Bereavement Care

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A month on from the UK being placed on lockdown, the current official death toll from the coronavirus in hospitals sits at just over 18,000

  • For every person that dies, six people are suffering intense grief
  • This equates to at least 108,000 people who are currently grieving as a result of the coronavirus
  • On average 50 people attend a funeral, and with funerals currently unable to go ahead as planned, this means there are roughly 900,000 people who have been unable to attend funerals, or hold a funeral in the way they would have wanted
  • These numbers come on top of the average number of deaths on any given month, which stands at 50,000, equating to a total of nearly 3.5 million people affected by bereavement(2)
  • These numbers will continue to rise as the outbreak continues

The UK’s largest bereavement charity, Cruse Bereavement Care, is preparing for huge uptake in demand for its services, as the coronavirus continues to ravage through the UK leaving behind hundreds of thousands of bereaved people. This is on top of the thousands of people who die on average every month.

Current social distancing rules and restrictions around funerals means that many of those left behind are grieving in isolation, alone, unable to seek much needed comfort from friends and family. And on top of that many will have been unable to say goodbye or attend the funeral. Bereavement services across the country, including Cruse, are here to help.

Cruse Bereavement Care Clinical Director Andy Langford said:

“Grieving is a normal part of life, and even during periods of global stability can be massively distressing. Unfortunately, the death toll we are currently experiencing, whilst hugely tragic in itself, means that hundreds of thousands of people are going to be left grieving in isolation.

“Some of the things that would be considered ‘normal’ in terms of coping with grief, such as attending a funeral and spending time with friends and family has not been possible. This will only serve to compound grief.

"At times like this, and in the face of increased isolation, people across the country also have an opportunity to reach out to those who may be struggling, to make sure they don't feel alone. Cruse, and our network of 5000 volunteers, are experts in providing bereavement support. We are on hand to support anyone who needs us. We are here to listen.”

Cruse Bereavement Care has been providing life-changing support to people across the UK for over 60 years. Our free services are provided by our network of 5,000 trained volunteers up and down the UK. We are continuing to update our guidance to support bereaved people affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The guidance will cover many of the tragic scenarios people are already finding themselves in, as a result of this pandemic, such as:

  • Not being able to say goodbye due to isolation
  • Not being able to hold or attend a funeral
  • Dealing with bereavement while in isolation


Notes to editors

  1. The number of people who suffer intense grief as a result of what is considered a traumatic death such as suicide, is 6 (Helping people bereaved by suicide: Their needs may require special attention, Keith Hawton, Sue Simkin, BMJ. 2003 July 26; 327(7408): 177–178). Deaths from the coronavirus outbreak are being considered ‘traumatic’ given the situations in which people are dying, and the wider contextual situation in which people are grieving.
  2. The average number of deaths per month is 50,000,with 50 people attending each funeral. 2.5 million people on an average month, combined with the extra 900,000 who have been affected by deaths from the coronavirus.

For more information, please contact Ella Stanbrook, PR Manager at Cruse Bereavement Care E: ella.stanbrook@cruse.org.uk, M: 07904 662 001.

About Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Cruse offers support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies, and works to enhance societies care of bereaved people.

Cruse offers telephone and website support and, until Covid-19, had been providing face-to-face support for 60 years. It has a free National Helpline (0808 808 1677) local services and a website specifically for children and young people called Hope Again. Its services are provided by trained volunteers and are confidential and free. Cruse also provides training and consultancy for external organisations and for those who may encounter bereaved people in the course of their work.

Cruse is here to support anyone grieving at this time. Our new website resources are available: www.cruse.org.uk/coronavirus.