Sue Ryder encourages those grieving to ‘reach out’ amidst huge increase in demand for bereavement services

In the year since the first coronavirus death in the UK, Sue Ryder has seen a significant spike in the need for its bereavement support. The leading bereavement charity is encouraging the 500,000 people who have lost loved ones to ‘reach out’ and seek support to help them deal with their grief, as the number of people who have died with the virus is now over 100,000.

A Sue Ryder Online Community user at home with an ipad

As the UK marks a year since the first coronavirus death, and the amount of people who have died with the virus is now over 100,000, we must not forget the estimated 500,000 people in the UK who are currently grieving as a result of those deaths (1).

Over the past year, Sue Ryder has seen a significant rise in the need for its bereavement support, including the charity’s free Online Bereavement Counselling and Online Bereavement Community.

Sue Ryder’s free video counselling with specialist, trained counsellors saw an increase of 119% in 2020 compared to 2019 and the charity’s online bereavement community, which offers peer-to-peer support for those who are grieving, saw an increase of 47% in visitors year on year.

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

“The coronavirus pandemic has meant that for many people, they have been unable to spend time with someone who is dying and may have experienced a more unexpected or distressing bereavement. 

“The combination of economic pressures and social distancing restrictions may mean that people who have been bereaved feel stuck, unable to engage in activities that may have helped with their feelings of grief. 

“In every crisis, people have figured out ways to support each other and the pandemic is no exception. It's important to reach out to others in your community, check in with family and friends or make the first step by contacting an organisation like Sue Ryder. You don't have to be alone, you are not a burden and your support network will want to be there for you. 

“Marking the anniversary of someone’s death is personal to you, yet it is very easy to get caught up in the expectations and pressure of how the day should be. Everyone deals with bereavement differently and there are no right or wrong ways to grieve.  However, if you feel you need more support – speak to your doctor or visit for our online bereavement resources.”

Online Bereavement Support

Our Online Bereavement Support provides information, resources, qualified counsellors and a community of others with similar experiences to help you through your grief.


  1. Research from Columbia University found that for every one person that dies, on average, five people grieve their death.