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Sue Ryder braces for unprecedented demand for services this January

07 Jan 2024

Sue Ryder is preparing for an unprecedented surge in demand for its online bereavement support services this January, as it encourages others to be Grief Kind for the year ahead.

Between January 2022 and January 2023, we saw a 146% increase in the number of visits to Sue Ryder’s online bereavement services (reference 3). This is why we are expecting over 273,000 visits to these services this month (reference 1).

This includes those signing up to Sue Ryder’s online bereavement community and bereavement counselling support or accessing resources and information on our website.

This forecast aligns with a year-on-year trend observed, during which January has consistently been the month with the highest demand for Sue Ryder's online bereavement support services

New research highlights the growing need for vital grief support

Additional research commissioned by Sue Ryder also reveals that two-thirds (61%) of individuals who have experienced a close bereavement agree that January is one of the most challenging months to grieve (reference 2), a figure that rises to 71% among those aged 16-24. 

We are sharing this data to raise awareness of our Grief Kind campaign and our free online bereavement support services - not just in the New Year, but all year round.

What does the research say?

Our research revealed that two-thirds (61%) of individuals who have experienced a close bereavement agree that January is one of the most challenging months to grieve, a figure that rises to 71% among those aged 16-24. 

When asked why:

  • over half (52%) attribute this difficulty to the sadness of beginning another year without their family member who died
  • two fifths (42%) feel lonelier and more isolated compared to other months
  • over a third (31%) say the challenge lies in the pressure to have a 'fresh start' or move on
  • a third (33%) find it particularly hard to plan and focus on goals when they are missing someone 

But we also see a positive proactivity in those seeking support:

  • two thirds (65%) of people feel they are ready to seek support in 2024
  • of those planning to set New Year's resolutions almost three quarters (71%) say they are doing so to help them process their grief
Visit our Online Bereavement Support

Our free online bereavement support services are for anyone who is grieving – not just in the New Year, but all year round.

Bianca Neumann, Head of Bereavement at Sue Ryder, said: 

“These statistics show the escalating demand for our bereavement support services and the vital role we play in providing accessible bereavement services to ensure people can access the right support for them, at the right time. 

“January can be an extremely difficult time of year for those who have been bereaved and in fact, our research revealed that half of respondents (49%) stress the need for greater awareness around checking in with friends and family during this month. The societal pressure of New Year’s resolutions, the financial strain following Christmas, the darker nights and people socialising less, can be attributed to people feeling lonelier and more isolated in their grief. 

“This is a time when people may need additional support more than ever, or simply for a friend or family member to check in on how they are feeling. If you or someone you know is struggling to cope with their grief, then try to be Grief Kind and have an open conversation. If further help is needed, Sue Ryder’s online bereavement services can help you or the person you are supporting live alongside grief.”  

Tracy Capewell, who strongly supports Sue Ryder’s Grief Kind campaign after her dad died suddenly 10 years ago, just as she had started a new job, said: 

“When my dad passed away it was very hard for me to try and resume normal life. I had only been in my job for six months and nobody wants to be the person sitting at work crying. Often you don’t know how you are going to feel day-to-day. There is an assumption that everyone has their family around them to help but some people are quite isolated. 

“When I saw Sue Ryder’s Grief Kind campaign, it just spoke to me, particularly the fact that there is a lot of support and content for people supporting somebody who has been bereaved, helping them to get that deeper understanding. There are lots of little things we can do to help. Just listening is so important and checking in regularly. You can listen to people without feeling like you need to have the solution.”

Encouraging the nation to be Grief Kind this January

With the right help, we can learn to live with grief. Find out how Sue Ryder can help you to become Grief Kind and support people you care about who are coping with grief.

  1. Our prediction of 273,00 visits to our online bereavement support services is reflective of the percentage increase in previous years in January but is dependent on the mortality rate since the last ONS statistics were released in July 2023.
  2. Research refers to a survey of 1,000 respondents (16+) in the UK who have grieved/are grieving the loss of a close relative undertaken by Censuswide in between 12.12.23 – 14.12.23.
  3. Internal data has been collated by Sue Ryder between 29.11.2023 – 06.12.2023 based on users of their online bereavement services between 01.12.2021 – 30.11.2023.

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