Grief is universal – we will all encounter it at some point in our lives – but our experience of this, and the impact that it has on us, is as unique as we are. Findings from the landmark UK Commission on Bereavement indicates that more needs to be done to raise awareness, help individuals, and lessen the challenges faced following the death of someone we know.
On 17 January, more than 80 health and care staff and volunteers came together to reflect on the learning from the Let’s Talk Bereavement project, to share their work and personal experiences, and to explore how bereavement support can be increased within our local communities. Those in attendance heard from a range of speakers and organisations, all highlighting the significant impact that grief can have on peoples’ health and wellbeing.
The take-home messages from the conference were clear – we as a society are still uncomfortable talking about death and dying, and those who are grieving suffer as a result – we need to change the narrative, making bereavement everybody’s business…
Initially focusing on north Cumbria, the Let’s Talk Bereavement project has been made possible with funding received through NHS Charities Together, from Newcastle Hospital Charities and County Durham Community Foundation.
Launched in May 2022, the project aimed to increase individuals’ confidence in having conversations about death and bereavement, thereby promoting access to support in an area where formal services are overwhelmed by demand – particularly in more disadvantaged communities.
The reach and impact of the project has been far greater than was ever anticipated:
A delegate who attended a free Let’s Talk Bereavement session said:
“I now understand that humans are all unique – so is our grief . . . POWERFUL . . . so no-one can tell me how I should be feeling, it’s not their grief.”
Another delegate said:
“[The training was] really good. I could identify with lots of things including worrying about saying/do the ‘right thing'”.
There are a limited number of places remaining in February and March 2024 – please visit our training and events page to find out more and book.
The conference on 17 January provided a fantastic opportunity to consolidate, share, and celebrate the learning from the Let’s Talk Bereavement Project.
Presentations were heard from:
Lively discussion and feedback was had amongst the attendees, which culminated in the completion of ‘action cards’ – written commitments on how individuals, teams and organisations will take action to improve access to low level bereavement support locally. A number of these hope to set up grief cafes/bereavement hubs in their area or workplace.
Although the day was emotive and moving in many ways, the passion and enthusiasm in the room was palpable.
Download a copy of the PowerPoint presentation below:
Watch this space for more conference outputs coming soon!
Whilst the Let’s Talk Bereavement project will come to a close in March 2024, work is ongoing to ensure that support continues via:
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the Let’s Talk Bereavement project to date. If we achieve our ambition of making bereavement everybody’s business, we anticipate a much more compassionate future for all.
If you would like to find out more about the Let’s Talk Bereavement project, or get involved with future plans, please contact: [email protected]