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Bereavement Support

Practical steps Practical steps


Experienced support workers at the Sussex Bereavement Helpline can talk to you about the tasks that need to be completed after a death, including registration of the death, arranging a funeral, or informing other people and organisations. Call 0300 111 2141 or take a look through their COVID-19 Bereavement Guide.




The GOV.UK website has practical, step-by-step guidance on what to do if you have lost someone during the pandemic, to COVID-19 itself or any other cause.




The West Sussex County Council Bereavement Guide covers what to do when someone dies - where to go, who to contact and what action needs to be taken. Advice includes deaths that happen at home vs at hospital, and how the Tell Us Once service works.



Bereavement Advice Centre supports and advises people on what they need to do following a death. Their website is organised into topics, including probate and legal procedures, personal representatives, and money and tax issues.


Citizens Advice logo

Citizens Advice services in West Sussex can offer practical advice and information to help you when someone dies, such as benefits and other financial support, funeral costs and more. Visit Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) or Citizens Advice Arun and Chichester.



In this video, Citizens Advice West Sussex talk about support with funeral costs and longer term financial support including benefits, pensions and insurance. West Sussex Library Service then give a tour of this web page and highlight some of the resources available.

Local support services Local support services

Carers Support West Sussex

Carers Support West Sussex is running free bereavement workshops via Zoom for carers, aged 60+, who have been bereaved in the past six months.



Cruse Bereavement Care


Cruse West Sussex services include a 24-hour answerphone and email address. You can message directly with a bereavement counsellor using CruseChat. There is also specific support for bereavement during the pandemic.



Healthwatch West Sussex bereavement support


Healthwatch West Sussex suggests organisations, social media accounts and online groups that can support you, especially when accessing traditional support may be more difficult due to COVID-19.



Jigsaw South East


Jigsaw South East provides information, advice and guidance to help support bereaved children and young people, and those facing the death of a loved one.




Switchboard (Brighton & Hove) recognises that many LGBTQ people face additional challenges when it comes to bereavement, in addition to the universal experiences of grief, pain and sadness. They run Grief Encountersa peer support group.




West Sussex Wellbeing's new web page, Community support through bereavement and loss, provides details of upcoming webinars and other resources that can help the wider community to support people who have been bereaved, particularly during the pandemic.

West Sussex Hospice and Palliative Care Support West Sussex Hospice and Palliative Care Support

Hospice UK logo


West Sussex hospices and palliative care services provide bereavement services to family and friends of people who were under the care of the hospice before they died. Some may also provide bereavement services to a wider group, including all local residents or people who have been bereaved through COVID-19. Most services are being provided over the phone or online. Have a look on their website for the latest information or give them a call.

St. Catherine's Hospice  - Crawley, Horsham and north Mid-Sussex -  01293 447333


St. Wilfrid's Hospice - Chichester, Bognor Regis, Arundel - 01243 775302


St. Barnabas House - Worthing, Arun, Adur, Henfield - 01903 706300


Chestnut Tree House Children's Hospice - East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and south-east Hampshire  - 01903 706342


Midhurst Macmillan Specialist Palliative Care Service - Midhurst and rural north Chichester - 01730 811121


St. Peter and St. James Hospice - Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Uckfield, Lewes - 01444 471598




Wellbeing resources Wellbeing resources

Library wellbeing logo with sea, sky and pebbles


For more general wellbeing support and information, browse our Wellbeing Resources.


Here you will find many sources of help and advice to support your emotional wellbeing and prevent feelings of anxiety and worry, which often come up as a natural part of the grieving process.

Podcasts Podcasts

Phone with earphones surrounded by autumn leaves


Dying Matters - for anyone who wants to know how to start conversations about death and dying. The featured guests demonstrate how important it is to talk about our wishes before it's too late.


Griefcast - "funny people talking about death" - a podcast which examines the human experiences of grief and death with comedians. 


Grief Encounters - a weekly podcast series which aims to open up the conversation around loss and everything that goes with it.

Current Offer › Bereavement Support

Bereavement Support Bereavement Support

If you, or someone you know, have lost someone close to you recently, we understand that this will be a very difficult time. When someone dies, there are a number of decisions and plans that need to be made, and this can feel overwhelming.


We hope this page will provide the practical information you may need in the initial days and weeks following a bereavement. You will also find sources of help and support for you, your family and friends as you grieve - now and in the future.

Dying Matters Awareness Week: 2 - 6 May 2022 Dying Matters Awareness Week: 2 - 6 May 2022

Older lady with young boy sitting on sofa smiling together


Dying Matters Awareness Week, which runsfrom 2 - 6 May, is a campaign that aims to open up the conversation around dying, death and bereavement. This year is again focusing on the importance of being in a good place to die. There is no right or wrong place to die; it will be different for everyone, but the pandemic has proven that it is more important than ever for people to think about it, talk about it and plan for it.


Ask at your local library if you would like to view/reserve a selection of books on the subjects of bereavement, loss and grief. Our library booklists for adults, teens and children can be downloaded from the links on this web page, or if you would like a physical copy, library staff can print these for you on request.


Similarly, ask at your local library if you would like a printed copy of any of the Dying Matters information leaflets:


  1. Things to do before you die
  2. Supporting bereavement
  3. Let's talk about dying
  4. Talking about dying with people affected by dementia
  5. Talking about dying with children


National Grief Awareness Week 2 -8 December 2021 National Grief Awareness Week 2 -8 December 2021


During National Grief Awareness Week, the Good Grief Trust runs an annual campaign to raise awareness of the impact of grief. Last year's aimed to "raise awareness of the breadth of support we have in the UK" and "to normalise grief and get the public talking" The Trust is run by bereaved people for bereaved people and their website has stories from others who have had a similar loss, practical and emotional support and signposting to a choice of immediate tailored local and national support.

National support services National support services

For support in Sussex, including Carers Support, Cruse, Healthwatch, Jigsaw and LGBTQ Switchboard, see our Local Support Services section on the left. 



Age UK


Age UK has produced some detailed information guides on a number of areas relating to bereavement, with the help of experts, older people and carers:




At a Loss website

At a Loss provides advice for if you have been bereaved through COVID-19, as well as how to help someone you know who has been bereaved, and supporting children through the pandemic.



Carers UK website

Carers UK recognises that, as well as coping with the loss of the person you looked after, you may also be coping with the loss of your caring role. Their guidance helps carers deal with the emotional and practical impact.



Childhood Bereavement Network


The Childhood Bereavement Network signposts families, professionals and the public to sources of bereavement support for children. Find out more about how children grieve, how to talk to children about major incidents they may have experienced or seen on the news, and download suggestion cards designed by other young people who have been bereaved.



Child Bereavement UK website


Child Bereavement UK helps children and young people (up to age 25), parents and families to rebuild their lives when a child grieves or when a child dies. There is some specific support for families affected by illness and bereavement during the pandemic.




General supThe Compassionate Friends logoport for bereaved parents and families, as well as grieving the death of a child during the pandemicSpeak to a trained bereaved parent volunteer on The Compassionate Friends' helpline or, for online support, join their community chat forum and private Facebook groups.



Death Cafes are discussion groups (rather than grief support or counselling) where people, often strangers, gather to drink tea, eat cake and talk about death. Find your nearest Death Cafe - both in-person and virtual gatherings available.



Family Lives website


Family Lives provides advice and links for how to cope when a child or baby dies; loss in pregnancy; supporting bereaved children and young people.




The Good Grief Trust website

The Good Grief Trust offers particular support in the early days and weeks for those who have suddenly or unexpectedly lost a loved one. The website also has a section dedicated to support during the pandemic and there is a Queer Funeral Guide available to support the LGBTQ+ community.




Grief Encounter website

Grief Encounter provides free, one-to-one support to children and young people who have suffered a bereavement. As well as immediate help following a death, they have answered families' most asked questions and have developed grief guides on a range of topics.




Hope Again website

Hope Again is the youth website of Cruse Bereavement Care. It is a safe place where young people can learn from other young people about how to cope with grief and feel less alone.




Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service

The Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service supports Jewish individuals experiencing loss and bereavement, including advice on grief during the pandemic. Trained counsellors are available via WhatsApp, Zoom and telephone.




Just B service logo

The Just 'B' Counselling and Trauma Helpline offers bereavement support to NHS, care sector and emergency service workers.





Let's Talk About Loss is an online "grief club" for young people aged 18-35. The team run many campaigns, including a Bereavement Book Club, to encourage people to talk through the taboos of death and address the realities of losing someone close to you.




Macmillan Cancer Support website

Macmillan Cancer Support has a Coping with Bereavement section on its website. This information is designed to support anyone whose partner, relative or friend has died.




Marie Curie website

Marie Curie provides information and emotional support for people living with a terminal illness and those caring for somebody with one. Information is available on caring for someone dying at home and end of life care during the pandemic.




Mind website

On Mind's website you can find suggestions for helping yourself and others through grief. There is also information about the different feelings people can experience following a loss, and a section specifically about losing someone to suicide.




Logo for Muslim Bereavement Support Service


The Muslim Bereavement Support Service serves the Muslim community by supporting bereaved women who have lost a loved one.



NHS grief and bereavement support


There is a whole section dedicated to grief after bereavement or loss on the NHS website. It lists the common symptoms of grief and things that might help someone experiencing these feelings, plus how to get NHS help for stress, anxiety or depression. 




Quaker Social Action website


Struggling to pay for a funeral can impact everything, from mental health to debt management. Quaker Social Action's Down to Earth project gives practical support, including a free helpline and a range of guides and factsheets.




Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death) supports anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth.



Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide logo


Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide exists to meet the needs and overcome the isolation of people aged 18+ who have been bereaved by suicide. Download their very thorough Support After Suicide leaflet.



Widowed and Young logo


WAY (Widowed & Young) offers a peer-to-peer support network for anyone who has lost a partner before their 51st birthday - married or not, with or without children, whatever your sexual orientation. 




Winston's Wish logo

Support following the death of a parent or sibling for children, young people and those who care for them. Winston's Wish offers one-off and ongoing bereavement support, as well as online resources and specialist publications. 




Young Minds logo

The Young Minds website has a section on Grief & Loss, which includes information for young people and signposts where to go for further support.

Silhouette of grass in golden sunset

Booklists Booklists

Our librarians have put together a series of booklists on death and bereavement for different age groups.


Each title can be reserved for free from the library service - just click on the book image to be taken through to our online catalogue. Some of the titles in the list for adults are even available to download from our eLibrary.


Booklists for adults - all


Booklist for teens


Booklist for children



West Sussex Schools Library Service recently reviewed eight children's picture books which explore the subject of death. Read their blog post, The Circle of Life: Picture Books about Deathpublished in February 2021.

Selecting books to support you Selecting books to support you

If you can't look through our bereavement booklists right now, or don't know exactly what you're looking for and would like a more general selection, we're here to help. Our expert librarians can put together a bespoke collection of books to suit your individual situation.   


Simply complete our Staff Select form, giving as much information as you wish to. Let us know if there are particular titles or themes you're interested in, and whether your request is for adults, children or teens (or a combination).


Select your local library from the list on the form and we'll let you know when your books are ready to collect. If you feel safer staying at home or are unable to get to the library, we may even be able to deliver items to you.

Books Beyond Words Books Beyond Words

Books Beyond Words example cover


Beyond Words is a charity which produces books and other resources for people with a learning disability or communication difficulty, who may find pictures easier to understand than words.


Titles relating to grief and bereavement include:


  • When Somebody Dies
  • When Mum Died
  • When Dad Died
  • Am I Going to Die?
  • When someone dies from coronavirus: a guide for families and carers
Short films for children Short films for children

The Invisible Suitcase is a short animation by Child Bereavement UK, designed to help children, young adults and families understand feelings associated with grief and how to manage them.




Archie is a short animation by CBeebies, suitable for children, which explores the death of a loved one.

Game for children Game for children

Apart of Me is a game, designed by grief experts and young bereaved people, to help children who have experienced loss.



It can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store or Google Play.

Digital support Digital support


If you're struggling with the online world, our free Remote Digital Support service can provide basic, one-off, digital help. Our brilliant volunteers can help you with:


  • using email
  • online shopping
  • connecting with friends and family e.g. video calls
  • staying safe online
  • managing your bills online

...and much more.


The Library Digital Support Team is available Monday-Friday between 10.00am and 4.00pm to take enquiries and arrange for a volunteer to help. They can be contacted by phone on 0330 222 3455 or by email.

Staying Safe Online Staying Safe Online

Don't forget to stay safe online. For the latest advice, guidance and information:

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