Today we have published new research which provides a unique insight into the UK’s experiences of bereavement and demonstrates that people may be suffering longer than they need to.
Our ground-breaking research reveals that it takes an average of two years, one month and four days to feel better following the death of a loved one and proves that sharing experiences of bereavement has a positive impact on how long it takes people to feel better.
Those surveyed who had people around them to talk to during bereavement felt better earlier following a loss, whereas those who didn't have any support grieved, on average, for an additional eight months, three weeks and five days.
Negative effect on wellbeing
More than a third (36.5%) of Brits surveyed also said bereavement had a considerably negative effect on their wellbeing, with some even considering suicide. Despite individuals choosing to deal with their grief in different ways, the research shows a quarter (23.3%) of us suffer in silence, bottling up our emotions which eventually catches up with us at a later date.
People aged 45-54 years old took more than twice as long to feel better than 16-24 year olds and female recovery seems to take exceptionally longer than that of males. It takes nearly two years and four months for women to start feeling better compared to men, who said it took them on average just over one year and nine months.
Difficult to talk about it
Men are, perhaps unsurprisingly, less comfortable than women discussing bereavement, with one in four (24%) saying they did not talk about bereavement with anyone compared to one in seven (14%) women. Most of those who have been through bereavement revealed they found it difficult to talk about it and some were too embarrassed to admit they were scared or upset.
This research further demonstrates the need for our new online community and support, funded by the charity's national partnership with supermarket chain Morrisons, which aims to provide advice and support for those dealing with death, dying and bereavement.
From expert Sue Ryder nurses on hand for advice, to support on how to deal with diagnosis and treatment, the online community and support connects together those who are experiencing bereavement and provides support and advice to help them to better prepare for and deal with loss.
An insight into how we cope
Our CEO, Heidi Travis, says: “This ground-breaking research gives us a provocative insight into how we deal with grief as a nation. It is unsurprising that so many people try to deal with their loss on their own but that it catches up with them at a later date.
“Bereavement can be a long and difficult process and we’ve launched our new online community and support to help people who are struggling to come to terms with a friend or loved one’s death and would benefit from receiving expert advice and tips as well as peer to peer support.
Helping people to be better prepared
“The service also seeks to better prepare people before a loved one dies and provides advice with everything from how to cope with their terminal diagnosis through to place of care decisions and how to plan before and after their death.
“Death affects everyone connected to that person and we hope our new online community and support will better support people during the most difficult time of their lives.”
To share your experiences and get support from other people who have been through similar situations, visit our online community today
Notes on our research
• Our survey has been conducted with Census Wide with 2053 respondents participating.
• Nearly a fifth (18.8%) of those who have been through bereavement revealed they found it difficult to talk about it.
• 16-24year olds took just over one year, one month and 25 days to feel better following a bereavement.
• One in 10 (9.5%) were too embarrassed to admit they were scared or upset.
• One in 14 women (7.1%) even considered suicide following a bereavement.
• Females take on average two years, three months and 28 days to start feeling better after a bereavement.
• Males take on average one year, nine months and 16 days to start feeling better after a bereavement
• A quarter of men (25%) take less than three months to feel better after a bereavement, while it takes a quarter of women (24%) between six months to a year to feel better.