How to support someone who is grieving during lockdown

The coronavirus lockdown has had a big impact on how we experience grief and bereavement. It can be distressing to see a loved one struggling with grief and not be able to offer comfort or practical support. You can still support the people you care about from afar and we spoke to Felicity, Sue Ryder Online Bereavement Counsellor, to find out how.

Two hands holding and showing support

The coronavirus lockdown measures mean that we can't support our loved ones in the ways we're used to - we can't pop round for a cup of tea, or offer a simple hug - but there are many things we can do, even from a distance. We have so many methods of communication at our finger tips that make it possible to let our loved ones know we're thinking of them. Whether that's by sending a quick text, a phone call, or a video chat. Here are some suggestions for supporting your loved one during lockdown:

  • Check in with them – people can find it difficult to reach out when grieving.
  • Don’t tell them it will all be okay – it isn’t and it may not be for some time.
  • Acknowledge that this is a difficult time and ask them how they’re genuinely feeling. Follow your friend or family member’s lead – sometimes they may want to talk, other times they may not.
  • Listen, listen and listen some more. Try to resist giving any advice unless specifically asked for it.
  • Make them laugh – talk about mundane, ‘normal’, everyday things.
  • Send a care package of their favourite things – perhaps a mix of healthy snacks for when they don’t feel up for cooking, some self-care bits such as a face mask or new nail polish, or a game that they could play such as a rubix cube.
  • Understand that you cannot make them feel better, but you can support them whilst they adjust and work their way through this painful experience. Let them know that you understand it’s ‘OK not to be OK’ at this time.

Read more about grief and the coronavirus lockdown.

Sue Ryder's Online Bereavement Support

Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support makes it easy to connect with the support that’s right for you, even during lockdown. This can be professional counsellors, a community of others who understand, or reliable information and resources. Find out more about our online bereavement support.

Picture of Felicity, Online Bereavement Counsellor

Online Bereavement Counsellor

Felicity Ward