Bereavement is a distressing but common experience. Sooner or later we will all suffer the death of someone we love. For most of us, these losses usually happen later in life so we do not have much of a chance to learn about grieving, what the right things to do are and how to come to terms with the loss.
There are various stages of mourning after a bereavement; it is not just one feeling, but a whole succession of feelings, which take a while to get through and which cannot be hurried. They show themselves in different ways in different people.
Most recover from a major bereavement within one or two years. However some may start to grieve but get stuck – sleepless nights may go on for so long as to become a serious problem and depression may continue to deepen, affecting appetite, energy and sleep. If you are unable to resolve your grief it may be time to ask for treatment to help with your bereavement.
Nightingale Hospital treatment approach for bereavement
Our approach to helping the grieving process combines an individualised programme with treatments based on current clinical evidence. Talking therapies and medication can help you through your bereavement.
Counselling gives you the opportunity to talk to someone, family therapy can help you and your family cope better and sleep therapy can aid sleepless nights. For some, meeting and talking with others who have been through the same experience helps.
Medication can help with lengthy periods of sleeplessness and deepening depression.
Bereavement treatment tailored to you
Bereavement treatments here in London can be as an outpatient, day patient or inpatient. We have the expertise to approach the support and treatment we offer you in a personal and flexible way to benefit you the most in your recovery.
Through therapy and alternative approaches such as meditation, relaxation, sleep therapy and physical therapies we aim to give you knowledge and coping skills for dealing with your bereavement effectively.
How can you help a bereaved friend or relative?
- You can help by spending time with the person who has been bereaved. More than words comfort, they need to know that you will be with them during this time of pain and distress. A sympathetic arm around the shoulders will express care and support when words are not enough.
- It is important that, if they want to, bereaved people can cry with somebody and talk about their feelings of pain and distress without being told to pull themselves together. In time, they will come to terms with it, but first they need to talk and to cry.
- Others may find it hard to understand why the bereaved person has to keep talking about the same things again and again, but this is part of the process of resolving grief and should be encouraged. If you don’t know what to say, or don’t even know whether to talk about it or not, be honest and say so. This gives the bereaved person a chance to tell you what he or she wants.
- People often avoid mentioning the name of the person who has died for fear that it will be upsetting. However, to the bereaved person it may seem as though others have forgotten their loss, adding a sense of isolation to their painful feelings of grief.
- Remember that festive occasions and anniversaries (not only of the death, but also birthdays and weddings) are particularly painful times. Friends and relatives can make a special effort to be around.
- Practical help with cleaning, shopping or looking after children can ease the burden of being alone. Elderly bereaved partners may need help with the chores that the deceased partner used to handle – coping with bills, cooking, housework, getting the car serviced.
- It is important to allow people enough time to grieve. Some can seem to get over the loss quickly, but others take longer. So don’t expect too much too soon from a bereaved relative or friend – they need the time to grieve properly, and this will help to avoid problems in the future.
- Dr Deba Choudhury-Peters View profile
- Justin Stephenson View profile
- Dr Maja Turcan View profile
- Valerie Wendorff View profile