New counselling for grieving Sheffield families who lost relatives during Covid lockdown restrictions

Families who have been unable to grieve in the normal way because of Covid restrictions will be able to access counselling through a new service.

Friday, 18th March 2022, 1:29 pm
Updated Friday, 18th March 2022, 4:19 pm

Sheffield public health officers say the pandemic has seriously impacted on the way people mourn, not helped by a lack of bereavement care in the city.

A new service is now being set up so people can freely access specialist bereavement counselling service across the city.

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Families who have been unable to grieve in the normal way because of Covid restrictions will be able to access counselling through a new service

It will offer six sessions of counselling for people experiencing complex bereavement reactions and signpost less severe cases into alternative, voluntary sector services.

Public health consultant Eleanor Rutter said: “Bereavement during the Covid pandemic is associated with negative impacts on the physical and mental health of relatives and loved ones.

“It is predicted that the incidence of prolonged grief disorder will rise. Reasons for this include limited contact with and opportunities to say goodbye to loved ones, sudden or traumatic deaths, limited end of life discussions with healthcare professionals, social isolation and loss of usual social support networks, financial insecurity and job losses.

“In Sheffield, providers of care have informally reported seeing bereaved people moving up the ladder of need as their usual coping mechanisms are not available to them.”

In addition to this, bereavement care is not consistently available or accessible across Sheffield.

Ms Rutter adds: “St Luke’s Hospice is the only provider of a specialist bereavement counselling service but this has only been available to relatives of patients who have been under their care.

“Much of the provision of bereavement care comes from the voluntary and charitable sector, with many smaller community organisations doing invaluable, unseen work.”