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Professional help

Death affects everyone differently. Some people find it very useful to speak to a professional bereavement counsellor, especially if their grief is so severe they are experiencing practical problems such as difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite or depression. Professional bereavement counsellors are trained to help someone who is struggling to come to terms with their loss feel better, and guide them towards taking a more positive attitude to life again.

Bereavement counselling can be very useful, but it is not a “miracle cure”. It doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, and requires a considerable investment of time, emotion and patience on behalf of both the counsellor and the bereaved to be successful. Perhaps the most important point is that it requires openness, which can be painful in itself, especially if the individual’s sense of grief is coloured by any complications in their relationship with the person who has died.

Where to get professional help

If you decide that you would like to get in touch with a bereavement counsellor, you can see your GP, who will refer you on the NHS. Alternatively, bereavement counseling is also provided by charities, who you can get in touch with yourself.

Cruse Bereavement Care is the largest charitable grief counselling organization in the UK, run by a broad network of highly-trained volunteers. They assist over 100,000 people each year, including 32,000 in face-to-face counseling sessions. To find your nearest Cruse Bereavement Centre, have a look at their website:

BACP, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, runs an online service through which people can get in touch with BACP-certified counsellors on a private basis, although this means the counsellors will usually charge the patient for their sessions. Usefully, the website allows you to specify counsellors not only by where they operated (i.e. within a certain radius of your postcode), but also by the therapeutic approaches they employ and the types of counselling they specialize in.

Child Bereavement Charity is a branch of Cruse Bereavement Care which is aimed specifically at helping young people deal with death, and families soping with the death of a child: Another charity that specialises in providing support to bereaved children is Winston's Wish:

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