“Forcing grieving people to isolate is cruel” says Sue Ryder CEO

Sue Ryder is calling on government to permit ‘bereavement support bubbles’ as more areas of the country enter tier 3 and tier 2 lockdowns.

Sue Ryder research* has found that the biggest challenges for those who experienced a bereavement during the UK lockdown earlier this year was feeling isolated and alone when grieving (62%) and feeling as though their grief had been forgotten amidst the global crisis (59%). 

When questioned on what they felt would be helpful for other bereaved people during either a future local lockdown or another period of national lockdown, two thirds (66%) of people said being able to form a 'support bubble' with one other household would be a vital source of support.

The charity is calling on the government to extend the support bubble policy to include bereaved people with more than one adult in the household for example housemates and older children. This would allow bereaved people to form a support bubble with another household without the need for social distancing, for any future lockdowns.

As a leading bereavement support provider in the UK, Sue Ryder believes that allowing people to access their support network whilst they come to terms with their grief is imperative.

Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, said:

“As a nation, we are experiencing bereavement and grief on a greater and more profound scale than ever before.  

“Integral and deeply personal elements of the bereavement journey have been disrupted for so many over the last few months due to social distancing measures. People have not been at their loved one’s bedside when they died, unable to hold their hand or say goodbye and some people have been prevented from attending funerals.

“In addition to that, current tier 2 and tier 3 restrictions mean that we will once again be forcing these very same people to grieve in isolation, without the physical presence or touch of those close to them. It is simply cruel.

“Sue Ryder is calling on the government to immediately extend existing support bubble regulations to ensure that people who have experienced a bereavement can have a support network around them.”

Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, said:  

“Grief is extremely complex – even without the added anxieties of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

“For many people who have been bereaved, this has been an incredibly isolating time. The ability to form a bereavement support bubble without the need for social distancing, as single adult households are currently able to do, could make a huge impact for someone who is grieving.

"It is important that the government does all it can to support people who are bereaved, and bereavement support bubbles would be a significant help to people in tier 2 and 3 areas or in the event of a future national UK lockdown.”

Sue Ryder provides online video counselling delivered by trained bereavement counsellors; an online community forum offering 24-hour peer to peer support and a wide range of advice and resources for people who are grieving or supporting someone through bereavement. 

To find out more, visit www.sueryder.org/griefandlockdown

*Survey conducted by Censuswide with 503 UK respondents (aged 16+), who experienced a close death or bereavement since the end of March 2020.