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Bereavement Research in the UK - latest updates during 2023

Bereavement During the COVID-19 Pandemic: New National Survey of Bereavement Services


Dr Eileen Sutton Senior Research Associate - COVID Bereavement Study


In the last year we have witnessed an unprecedented loss of life in the UK, with millions of people bereaved in exceptionally difficult circumstances. Researchers at the University of Bristol and Cardiff University are working on an important national study to find out more about people’s experiences of bereavement and the impact on bereavement support services at this time. The study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the findings will directly influence policy and practice in the future.


It is vitally important that the views and experiences of those providing bereavement support are represented, so the team has conducted a survey to document how bereavement service providers in the voluntary/community sector have been affected over the course of the pandemic. Bereavement services have faced many challenges and have had to adapt rapidly to meet the needs of the people they support and the rising demand for their help. The survey findings will document these challenges and the innovations of bereavement services, providing an opportunity for staff and volunteers to have their voices heard and influence policy and future service provision.


The research also includes a survey of people bereaved since 16 March 2020. Preliminary results reveal the exceptionally difficult experiences associated with bereavement during the pandemic. People completing the survey described a high level of disruption to end of life, death and mourning practices, as well as to their social support networks. They will be followed up over the coming months and a number of people will be invited to take part in an interview so that they can talk in more depth about their experiences.


Please visit covidbereavement.com for more information.

The team appreciate that this is a busy time for all those working in bereavement support and are really grateful for all those who took time to share their experiences and help with this important work. Thank you.


For further information on the research study and survey of bereavement support services go to www.covidbereavement.com or contact: Eileen Sutton (email: e.sutton@bristol.ac.uk Tel: 07977021723)


Other key bereavement research that has reported during 2020 and 2021

A silent epidemic of grief’: a survey of bereavement care provision in the UK and Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic - Research by Dr Caroline Pearce et al, Cambridge University, 2021

Approaches to commissioning bereavement services: A freedom of information request with Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities - Research by Independent Age 2021

From Grief to Hope: The Collective Voice of those Bereaved or Affected by Suicide in the UK - Research by Dr Sharon McDonnell et al with Support After Suicide Partnership, 2020

A Nation in Mourning: Co-op Funeralcare Media Report July 2020 - Research undertaken for Coop Funeralcare by YouGov

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