Dr Sue Burke, Macmillan GP and clinical lead for cancer and end of life services at NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group.

THE loss of a loved one can be traumatic at any time but during the coronavirus pandemic it is particularly difficult.

Everyone experiences grief differently – there is no ‘normal’ or ‘right’ way to grieve. If you are grieving and struggling to cope, please don’t face it alone. There are a range of support services available which can help.

In response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, changes have had to be made to some services, including end of life and palliative care as well as funerals. This has made it harder for people to be with or say goodbye to a loved one in the way they may want to.

It is a strange and difficult time to cope with grief. The pandemic has meant we are apart from our usual support network so you may not be able to seek comfort from friends and family as you would normally. However it is more important than ever to reach out to family and friends and talk.

If you find it hard to speak to family or friends or feel you need more support, contacting a health professional, counsellor or bereavement organisation can help.

NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a new online directory at warrington.nhs.uk which features the range of national and local organisations that support adults and children struggling with bereavement. You can also find useful bereavement support on the Warrington Happy? Ok? Sad? website.

Advice on coping with bereavement –


  •  Try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor – you could also contact a support organisation. View warringtonccg.nhs.uk or happyoksad.warrington.gov.uk for organisations that can help.
  •  Visit nhs.uk for useful advice if you’re struggling to sleep.
  •  Consider peer support, where people use their experiences to help each other. Find out more about peer support on the Mind website.
  •  Listen to free mental wellbeing audio guides.
  •  Search and download relaxation and mindfulness apps or online community apps from the NHS Apps library.


  •  Do not try to do everything at once – set small targets.
  •  Do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better.
  •  Try not to tell yourself that you’re alone – most people feel grief after a loss and support is available.
  •  Try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve grief – the relief is only temporary and can contribute to poor health.

Give yourself time and permission to grieve. There are no rules, grief and loss is individual, please take care of ‘you’ and when you can’t, ask for help.