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Bereavement: comments from Dr Alastair Bailey

11 December 2017

Comments on bereavement from Dr Alastair Bailey:

Grief is a natural process following the death of a loved one – key principles:

  • Psychological therapy would not usually be offered soon after the death. Instead, individuals would be encouraged to seek support via their usual networks and from specialist bereavement support services such as CRUSE. However, those with an urgent mental health need have been referred to treatment services directly and appropriate interventions have been offered (for example; Trauma focussed therapy if PTSD and bereavement)
  • Where feelings of grief are not subsiding after about six months, then specialist help might be needed – this might take the form of Counselling or other psychological therapies. This might take place in individual sessions or with groups / families
  • The Grenfell Fire is an unusual event in that it has taken a long time to identify victims and funerals have not always taken place in accordance with tradition. These factors alone may prolong the duration of acute distress
  • The Grenfell Fire has affected a diverse community with different ways of responding to loss. Services supporting the bereaved have needed to be sensitive to cultural and religious beliefs and practices
  • Family and friends of the bereaved have been offered support and advice through the Friends and Family Assistance Centre – following guidance from the NHS, Family Liaison Officers liaising with CRUSE, British Red Cross, and others. NHS support was available where required in the first few months
  • As the guidance says, “It is important to remember that an individual may not access support in a chronological manner and this will not prevent them from accessing further support - care will be proportional to their presenting level of need.”

Dr Alastair Bailey

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Clinical Lead

Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service and Primary Care Mental Health Service