Loneliness is one of the challenges of bereavement that many people face, particularly if the person they are grieving was their partner or had a significant role in their life.
There are various peer-led support groups that can provide relief from the sense of isolation. Talking with other bereaved people is mutually strengthening. Whether it is a matter of being in a place where we are comfortable talking about our loved ones, sharing stories about them and our lives together; talking about their illness or particular condition; talking about our own lives in the present – all of that can be very helpful.
If you’re a bereaved parent, then The Compassionate Friends offers great support with local groups and weekend gatherings.
If you’ve been bereaved by suicide, then SOBS (Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide) also organises peer-led groups.
Many churches and religious organisations host bereavement social groups.
For many people attending the retreats I lead, the opportunity to talk with other people who are struggling with their grief is one of the highlights.
I am sure there are many other possibilities once you start looking around. In fact I just came upon this project organised by CRUSE Bereavement Care and supported by the British Red Cross and Co-op. I won’t explain it further but I’ll copy in their own explanation. Maybe it’s something you’d like to explore. Their project is called “More than Words”
More than Words: Bereavement Social Groups
Have you been bereaved? Would you like to meet and help others in a similar situation for friendship and mutual support?
Following a bereavement, many people can feel lonely or isolated. Even with a network of friends, colleagues and relatives, individuals can still feel they have no one to turn to. We’re here to help.
Working with the British Red Cross, Cruse Bereavement Care has established More than Words. We’re providing new opportunities for hundreds of bereaved individuals to meet with others in supportive environments and feel better connected in their local areas.
More Than Words is part of the British Red Cross’ Connecting Communities programme, supported by its partnership with the Co-op to highlight and tackle loneliness and social isolation in the UK.
How we can help
Feelings of loneliness and isolation do not always follow bereavement(s) – there is no right or wrong way to feel. However, for many, the death of another, especially if the person was very close, can create or augment feelings of being alone.
If you ever feel alone following a bereavement, More than Words can help you connect to other people nearby and enjoy the benefits of feeling more involved in your local area.
Our wide-range of peer-led (member-led) activities are designed to promote inclusion and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. We do this by:
- Supporting you to understand that you’re not alone in feeling alone. Bereavement can often increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. We’ll help you meet other people with similar experiences who might be feeling the same way.
- Providing opportunities for you to take part in a variety of local activities matched to your interests. These could include (but are not limited to) coffee & cake meet-ups, walking groups and reading clubs.
- Encouraging self-help and peer support – a service that you can turn to instead of, or as well as, other support services.
How you can get involved
More Than Words is available in twelve locations across all four nations of the UK: Bedfordshire, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Whether you live in one of these areas or nearby, you can get involved by:
- Becoming a More than Words Champion – are you passionate about helping others and want to engage in a range of fun social activities? With our support, help co-run a support group in your area
- Joining a group – meet up and take part in activities with other people with similar interests and experiences
- Volunteering in other ways such as providing admin support to a local Cruse branch or participating in fundraising activities
For more information, please send us an email: More than Words (firstname.lastname@example.org). Alternatively, feel free to call, or leave us an answerphone message on: 02089399534
If there is not a More Than Words service near you, other support could be available. Visit the British Red Cross website to find out about other Connecting Communities programmes, or call the freephone Cruse Bereavement Care helpline on 0808 808 1677.