While the death of those we love and with whom our lives are entwined is often associated with a period of suffering, each loss is unique and the need for support varies.

Many people find that their inner resources, combined with the support available from family and close friends, are sufficient to help them manage their distress and all the life changes triggered by their loss.

When they seek help it is usually to check that their reactions are ‘normal’, rather than to seek counselling, and they are unlikely to need professional help. However, some people are more vulnerable, and a substantial minority of bereaved people find it more difficult to adjust to life without the person who has died and are at increased risk of experiencing persisting physical and mental health problems. The intensity of their grief may continue unabated, they may have disturbing memories of the events leading up to the death, they may blame others for the death, or feel guilt or shame at their own behaviour.

Therefore, ‘risk factors’ are the characteristics of bereaved people and the features of their situation that may increase the probability of vulnerability. These factors have been measured by Psychologists and are used to inform decision making about who may benefit from bereavement services. I think it is helpful to know these factors as they can help to make sense of why we may be feeling the way that we do after a significant loss.

Reviews of the factors that influence grief differences in health outcome are influenced by the: ​​​​​​​

  • events and circumstances leading up to the death
  • meaning of the relationship with the deceased
  • personal vulnerability of the bereaved person
  • availability of social support and economic resources

 These factors all impact how we grieve and are important to hold in mind and reflect on personally. They are also the reason to consider a referral into Princess Alice Hospice Supportive Care services such as the Community Engagement, Bereavement and Spiritual Care Services.

If you are worried about yourself or someone you care about then please contact the Bereavement Team:

If your loved one was cared for by the Hospice, you can get in touch via bereavementsupport@pah.org.uk or leave a message on 01372 461 842 and we’ll get back to you.

If your loved one was not cared for by the Hospice, you can contact us via helpline@pah.org.uk, or you may like to contact the Cruse Bereavement Care helpline on 0808 808 1677.