Bereavement is an experience that can happen to any of us and if you are visiting this section of the website because someone close to you has died recently, we would like to offer you our condolences.
If you would like support at this difficult time, please see the resources below which we hope will provide you with information, help and guidance.
Telephone helpline support is available through the Cruse bereavement helpline (0808 808 1677) or Lifeline (0808 808 8000).
Leona Laverty, bereavement coordinator remains available to staff for advice or support relating to themselves or people in their care. She can be contacted on 028 9442 4992. If Leona is not available, callers are requested to leave a message and their call will be returned. Alternatively you can email: Bereavement.Support@northerntrust.hscni.net
The Health and Social Care (HSC) ‘When someone dies’ booklet contains information on the practical matters which may be useful in the days following your loved one’s death. Helpful information on living with grief and bereavement is included along with details of organisations offering support. The booklet has been translated into a number of languages.
Things you can do which may help
Many of the supports that we would normally draw upon when we experience grief may not be possible due to social distancing. Despite this, there are other things that you can do which may be of help.
- Allow yourself to feel and react in a way that is natural to you. Grief is an individual experience and each of us will respond to it in our own particular way.
- Try not to become emotionally isolated. Even if people cannot visit you in person they will be able to offer their condolences and support in different ways. You may receive condolence cards, phone-calls, text messages, emails and messages through social media.
- Keep conversations going with people who are closest to you. While you may not be able to have these conversations in person, you will be able to keep in contact in other ways. It may be helpful to talk to someone by telephone each day.
- Having’ conversations’ through WhatsApp or through Facebook can mean there is a regular flow of communication throughout the day. These interactions can remind you that people are thinking about you.
- Try to limit how much news and social media you consume. When you are feeling very sad, regular news can be distressing.
- Try to stick to your normal routine as much as is currently possible. As well as bedtime and getting up time, mealtimes play an important part in this.
- It is important to remember to eat and to keep hydrated. Your body has needs and grief can be hard work.
- If you can, try to get out into the garden or open the windows to let in some fresh air.
- If there are children in your household, check-in with them often. Answer their questions honestly. Section 5 of our bereavement booklet provides useful information regarding supporting children.
Make use of reputable sources of online bereavement support such as:
Cruse Bereavement Care National Free Phone Helpline 0808 808 1677
Monday – Friday 9:30pm – 5:00pm (excluding bank holidays)
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday extended hours on evenings, until 8:00pm
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 9:00pm (UK time)
A safe online space for grieving or bereaved people to be able to share their story, explore their feelings or be supported by a qualified bereavement counsellor. It’s free of charge.
Resources you may find useful during this difficult time
- Regional When Someone Dies Booklet
- Supporting you and your family when your child has died (Grief and Bereavement)
- Supporting you and your family when your child has died (Practical Information)
- Grieving in exceptional times
- Planning a funeral in exceptional times
- Public Health Agency resources
- Cruse Bereavement Care
- Cruse Bereavement leaflets
- Helping you respond to living and dying issues during COVID-19 (NISCC Publication)
- Bereavement Comfort Call Volunteer Service
- Support Following Meningitis
- WAY (Widowed and Young)
- AtaLoss.org is the UK’s signposting and information website for bereaved people
- Video Support Resources for bereaved young people.
- Schools Bereavement Programme (mariecurie.org.uk) advice from Marie Curie, recognising that teachers have a crucial role to play in supporting children and young people affected by grief.
- Supporting someone | Macmillan Cancer Support advice from MacMillan for talking to Children and Young People (CYP) on death/dying/EOL of a parent/close family member.
- The Public Health Agency has produced Grief and Bereavement resources to help you deal with those aspects of a death that may be different during the pandemic period including advice on how to help children to cope.
The Northern Trust welcomes service user feedback to enhance care provided. If you have a compliment, suggestion or complaint about your experience, please telephone 028 9442 4655, or email email@example.com
Care Opinion is the online patient feedback platform for health and social care services across Northern Ireland. It offers you the opportunity to share your experience of Health and Social Care services and to feedback on what went well or when things could have gone better. You can share your story by:
- Visiting careopinion.org.uk
- Scan the QR Code:
- Calling the Care Opinion Freephone number on 0800 122 3135
- Completing a feedback form, which can be requested by calling 028 27661377
- Child Bereavement UK
- Irish Childhood Bereavement Network
- Saying Goodbye video
- Saying Goodbye booklet
- Barnardo’s NI leaflet
“When Someone Dies” is a booklet produced by the HSC Bereavement Network to provide information to you about grief and bereavement and practical support. The practice advice in our booklet may not always apply at this time. Changes may include how funerals and burials/cremations are conducted and/or the process to register a death. Your funeral director will be able to advise you on the most current guidance. Also included are some links to various organisations which provide support or information relating to different circumstances of bereavement.
There is an annual ‘Snowdrop walk’ on the third Sunday in February each year, which gives families the opportunity to plant snowdrop bulbs in memory of their baby or child. The Trust also holds remembrance services annually for the parents and families of children and babies who have died in the Trust. The service in the Antrim locality is held on the third Sunday in May, the service in the Causeway locality is held in November. The books of remembrance are re-dedicated at this service each year. The dates for this service will be posted on this website and in the local press. Many parents and family members choose to write some words in memory of their child which is then included in the book and there is no time limit for the inclusion of information.
The Trust’s Bereavement Coordinator works with staff throughout the Trust to promote quality end of life and bereavement care. If you would like to share information that would help with this please contact: Leona Laverty 028 9442 4992