Our Online Bereavement Support - a lifeline during lockdown

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have transformed daily life for everyone, with the impact on many bereaved people being even more severe due to their isolation in lockdown and a sudden loss of face-to-face support from family, friends or counselling services. In such unprecedented times, Sue Ryder's Online Bereavement Support services have provided a vital lifeline where people can share their stories, talk to counsellors and access resources.

An online bereavement support user in their living room on a tablet

“Lockdown has been a new challenge but I have been keeping busy. I think I have done 10 years’ worth of decorating and I’m trying to learn Spanish. I try to think on the positive side. There isn’t a kit for grief. Everybody is different but I think the Sue Ryder site helps a little bit.”

John, an Online Community member

The Covid 19 pandemic has turned many aspects of life upside down for all of us, but the impact for many bereaved people has been even more intense. The sense of isolation, along with the loss of access to face-to-face support from counsellors, support groups, or family and friends has left many people struggling to cope.

Some of those bereaved during the pandemic are also dealing with the additional impact of not getting to say goodbye to loved ones, or to hold the funeral they would have wanted. Those dealing with grief longer-term may feel they have been ‘set back’ by the lockdown, or by hearing about the pandemic on the news.

“Sometimes it is just being able to read everybody’s stories. The site makes you feel less alone”

Heather, who is an Online Community member, said: “I think I was just starting to find the confidence to go out for dinner with friends and then lockdown started which has set me back a bit The online community really helps. Sometimes it is just being able to read everybody’s stories. The site makes you feel less alone.”

An online community user on a laptop in their living room

At this time, so many people have found that online connections are a lifeline – whether that’s replacing social events with video calls, texting a friend, or seeking online bereavement support.

Maria, an Online Community user, said: “With the Covid 19 outbreak everybody is thinking about family but my son and I don’t have any other family. Not everybody has a mum, dad, cousin, aunty. Some people are just on their own and I want them to know that they can get through it and that it’s ok to ask for help if you need it.”

“Not everybody has a mum, dad, cousin. Some people are on their own and I want them to know that it’s ok to ask for help”

Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support is no exception to this, with increasing demand for our services since lockdown started back in March. The Online Community, where bereaved people can exchange messages and support each other, saw its highest ever number of posts back in April, at the height of lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Online Bereavement Counselling service, where people can talk to a trained counsellor via video chat, has seen an increasing waiting list, and has had to recruit new counsellors to meet demand.

“It really helped me to have a place to open up about my emotions which at times were all over the place. It was especially valuable in lockdown when there was little support possible even from friends and family.”

A counselling service user

If you’re struggling to cope with grief, you’re not alone. Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support can be a lifeline at this uncertain time and help you connect with the support that’s right for you. This might be professional counsellors, a community of others who understand or reliable information and resources.

Priscilla McClay

Online Community Manager

Priscilla McClay