Resources to help with bereavement
This Friday, 18th March, is set aside as a day of remembrance for those that died over the past 2 years and in recognition of the contribution made by frontline workers. Holiday weekends and occasions often bring grief into sharp focus as friends and families gather to spend time together. At RHEA we’ve compiled some resources about bereavement which may be useful for you or someone you love over the coming days or if conversation turns to remembrance and grief. This list is not comprehensive but may offer some signposts towards the right supports for you or someone you care about.
Sensitivity note: In sharing information about support services and communities, this blog makes reference to the following topics: pregnancy loss, infant loss, loss of a child at any age, fatal foetal abnormality in pregnancy and death by suicide. Helpline numbers are shared throughout.
Books are a good option through which to explore aspects of grief from the psychology of grief to practical guides on specific topics.
Our friends at www.whiteballoon.co.uk, have compiled a lovely selection of book titles covering various aspects of death and bereavement. Featuring key works from well known expert writers on the topic of grief and bereavement such as Kathryn Mannix, Julia Samuel, Michael Rosen and more the list includes books on grief theory, journals, practical guides, personal stories and books for children and is an excellent reading list to dip into.
▪️Resilient Grieving, Dr Lucy Hone
▪️This Too Shall Pass, Julia Samuel
▪️The Baby Loss Guide, Zoë Clark-Coates
▪️On Grief and Grieving, Elizabeth Kübler Ross & David Kessler
▪️It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine
▪️Carrying The Elephant, A memoir of love and loss, Michael Rosen
You might find some comfort in listening to podcasts which offer relatable insights on some of the universal and unique experiences people have.
▪️Shapes of Grief is presented by Irish grief therapist Liz Gleeson. Liz hosts conversations with people about their experience of loss and grief in their lives. Everyone has a story of loss and everyone’s story offers hope and inspiration to other grievers, normalising this human experience in the process.
▪️Conversations in Grief is a podcast series from Anam Cara where parents share their own unique stories of their children and their journey through grief.
▪️Griefcast: In this podcast Cariad Lloyd interviews fellow comedians in a sincere and light way. She gently navigates the topic with her guest uncovering insights about the common experience of grief.
▪️Death Becomes Him. When Brian Dowling lost his mum Rosie, it changed his outlook on life. On this podcast he explores the complicated journey of grief through open conversation, humour and honesty with the help of his friends and family.
There are many more podcasts available on various platforms. A search for grief or bereavement will offer many options.
“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure”
There are thousands of people across the country, driven by compassion, with a wide range of expertise and experience, that are co-ordinating and delivering services that support people in a variety of ways. There are several niche organisations as well as broader service providers, all with the aim to give people a place to be bereaved, talk, share, connect with others and find the information they need through:
- Online resources
- Support Groups
▪️The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) is the national charity that addresses dying, death and bereavement in Ireland and offers a wealth of information, support, research and events to the public.
- Bereavement Support Line: a freephone phone service (1800 80 7077 Mon. – Fri. 10am – 1pm) offering a kind, confidential listening ear.
- Bereavement & Loss Hub is a comprehensive online resource for people who are bereaved as well for those supporting bereaved people. Click here
- Events and training: IHF offer regular events to inform and equip people with techniques and tools to support grieving.
▪️Widow.ie: Widow.ie is an Irish online community and self-help resource for, and by widows, widowers and bereaved life partners and invite anyone who has lost a spouse or life partner to join in the conversation – whether your loss is recent or of many years. Visit www.widow.ie
For bereaved parents and families
▪️Anam Cara supports parents after bereavement. Their services range from support groups to a comprehensive website directory of services for the wider family, an information line (085 2888 888 Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm), online remembrance books, in-person events and more. Visit anamcara.ie
▪️Pregnancy and Infant Loss Ireland provides information for bereaved parents and healthcare staff about pregnancy and infant loss. The site has two focuses; Support Zone and Knowledge Centre managed by a team of leading experts from a variety of specialisations. The site covers a myriad of topics for parents, families and people affected by pregnancy and infant loss with up-to-date research on developments and a well-resourced support section which is easy to navigate. Visit pregnancyandinfantloss.ie
▪️Féileacáin offer support to anyone affected by the death of a baby around the time of birth. Féileacáin are well known for their beautiful Memory Boxes which offer information as well as artifacts that support parents in creating precious memories in the short time they have with their baby. Visit feileacain.ie
▪️FirstLight offers free professional support and provides information to families in Ireland that have experienced the sudden, unexpected death of a child aged from 0 to 18 years. Their 24 hour helpline is available on 1800 391 391. Their therapeutic services are provided nationwide by a team of professionally accredited, fully insured and Garda vetted psychotherapists and counsellors. Visit firstlight.ie
▪️A Little Lifetime Foundation provide supports and services to parents whose baby has died around the time of birth or shortly afterwards and for parents who receive a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality in pregnancy. Services include support meetings, one-to-one counselling, online groups, workshops and events. Visit alittlelifetime.ie
▪️What Matters Most is a social enterprise specialising in bereavement care, Marte Meo therapy, family mentoring and Anam Cara companionship – providing personal access to compassionate, professional and creative supports for children and families. Visit whatmattersmost.ie
“It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember”
Organisations for bereaved children
If you are helping children through bereavement the following offer a range of support and resources:
▪️Barnardos: Barnardos Children’s Bereavement Service work with families to help them support their child through the grieving process. They offer free e-books, advice, a helpline and further information on their website. Visit Barnardos.ie
▪️The Irish Childhood Bereavement Network is a hub for those working with bereaved children and young people, and their families with a focus supporting on families, professionals and teachers. Their dedicated Families section offers guidance on how to talk to children about a range of topics relating to death, funerals and grief as well as a booklist on childhood bereavement.
▪️Rainbows is a free, voluntary service for children and young people experiencing loss following bereavement and parental separation. Programmes and workshops are run through schools, family resource centres, youth projects and parish centres. Visit Rainbowsireland.ie
Supports for people bereaved by suicide
▪️HSE National Suicide Bereavement Support Guide covering five key topics – Taking care of the practical matters , What you may be feeling, Your connection with the person who has died, Getting through and creating a new future, Help and support – this guide was developed by individuals bereaved by suicide and HSE Resource Officers for Suicide Prevention, the guide aims to be the cornerstone of Level 1 bereavement support.
Read: National Suicide Bereavement Support Guide
▪️HUGG. HUGG (Healing Untold Grief Groups) offer hope and healing by providing information, telephone support and local peer support groups led by volunteers with lived experience of loving a loved one by suicide. Visit hugg.ie
▪️The Suicide Bereavement Liaison Service is a free, confidential service that provides assistance and support after the loss of a loved one to suicide. A liaison officer can meet with a bereaved family as a group or individually. They can answer questions about some of the difficult practical issues following a death by suicide. For more click here
▪️Pieta. Free individual counselling, therapy and support for people who have been bereaved by suicide and for people who are thinking about suicide. Visit pieta.ie
HSE Online Resources
The HSE have a wealth of online information and resources to support people who are bereaved and their website are a good starting point for information and further support.
Some of the information provided in this blog has been sourced from this HSE site.
“Death ends a life – not a relationship” Mitch Albom
For someone in distress, the following organisations are available at anytime to help.
▪️Samaritans: Emotional support for anyone who is struggling to cope or needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Freephone 116 123 anytime Text 50808. Visit samaritans.org
▪️Pieta: Free individual counselling, therapy and support for people who have been bereaved by suicide and for people who are thinking about suicide. Freephone 1800 247 247 anytime Text HELP to 51444 – standard message rates apply. Visit pieta.ie