How can we better understand bereavement?

Understanding bereavement involves recognizing and acknowledging the complex and individual nature of the grieving process. Here are some ways to enhance your understanding of bereavement as you go through the process:


You can educate yourself by reading books that focus on grief and bereavement. These provide much needed support in learning about what you are experiencing and lead to understanding that you are not alone.

Talk to professionals

You can speak with counsellors, therapists, or mental health professionals who specialise in bereavement. They can provide guidance, coping strategies, and support tailored to your needs.

Talk to others who have been in the same situation

Listening to stories of others who have been in a similar situation can offer valuable perspectives on the varied ways people process with death. There are forums, in person groups, online chats and local groups which you can make use of. There is never one way; it is not a linear process but often a combination of different approaches which helps move you forwards.

Recognise your grief and tailor what works for you

Be kind to yourself and accept that people grieve in different ways. Some openly express their emotions and others prefer a more private approach. Be ready to acknowledge that it will take time and don’t be afraid to call on people when you need them.

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Stages of Grief

The concept of the stages of grief is often associated with the work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who introduced the idea in her 1969 book ‘On death and dying’. It is important to note that these stages are not necessarily experienced in a linear fashion.

The stages of grief are:


In this stage, individuals have difficulty accepting the reality of the death. There might be a sense of shock, numbness, and a belief that the situation is not happening.


As the reality of the death sets in, people may experience anger. This can be directed towards themselves or the person who has died, or even unrelated targets. It is a natural part of the grieving process.


In this stage, individuals may try to make deal or bargains in an attempt to reverse or mitigate the death.


During the depression stage, the full weight of what you have been experiencing becomes apparent. This is a normal part of the grieving process.


Acceptance does not mean that the pain has gone, but rather that the individual has come to terms with the reality of the situation. It involves finding a way to live with the new situation and move forward with life.

Resources for help

For more information on our list of articles on grief, and for helplines, support groups, UK charities and other resources for help relating to bereavement, see our Bereavement Support guide.

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