Over 750,000 people suffering intense grief as a result of the pandemic | Cruse Bereavement Care

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As we approach a year from the start of the UK’s first national coronavirus lockdown, Cruse Bereavement Care has found that the number of young people visiting our website seeking grief support has increased by 200%. 

Over the past year we've also found:

  • Our Freephone National Helpline answered 68% more calls in 2020 than it did in 2019
  • Between June 2020 and January 2021 almost 60% of callers referenced the pandemic as being a factor in their grief 
  • Between June 2020 and January 2021, cancer and heart attacks were the top two reasons that people called the Helpline
  • We are predicting an increase in demand by 50% over the coming year.

We are also seeing a shift in how people are accessing bereavement support: 

  • Overall visits to our website increased by 24% between 2019 and 2020
  • Our webchat service, CruseChat, which was launched in June 2020 in response to the pandemic, has supported over 15,000 people virtually.

The effects of the pandemic will continue to have a serious effect for a long time to come:

  • For every person that dies, six people are suffering intense grief. With the current death toll of over 126,000, this equates to at least 756,000 people who are currently suffering intense grief due to the coronavirus  
  • On average 50 people attend a funeral, and with funerals still currently unable to go ahead as planned, this means there are roughly 36 million people who have been unable to attend funerals, or hold a funeral in the way they would have wanted since the start of the pandemic. This can cause complicate the grieving process.

The social distancing rules and restrictions that have been in place for a year now, means that many of those left behind have been left 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. Being bereaved at a young age is particularly devastating and can have a big impact on a young person’s life. So it is unsurprising that we have seen an increase in young people seeking bereavement support.

“It is difficult to predict how grief will affect people at different ages. Every bereavement is different and young people grieve in different ways. 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, for people of any age.

"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. Young people may need more space to grieve, but they should also be encouraged to talk about their thoughts and feelings. 

“Cruse, and our network of 4000 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. 

For more information contact press@cruse.org.uk