Wellness Wednesday: 02-07 December is National Grief Awareness Week in the UK

University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon

At A Loss

02-07 December is National Grief Awareness Week in the UK. Grieving, bereavement and loss may not be topics you automatically associate with the run up to Christmas. However, this is a time of year when people often reflect on the absence of those friends or family who are not with them to join in the celebrations. It is invariably a time of poignancy; for many it triggers stronger emotions of loss and grief, no matter how long ago the person died.

If you have ever been bereaved of someone close to you, you know the pain and sadness that comes with the event. The sense of loss experienced can be aching, to the extent that it becomes a physical sensation. The depth of desolation can lead to an intense and overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Grief can be very raw when it is close to the time of the bereavement; sometimes, though, people feel numb initially.

Another challenge that comes as time passes is that people round you, perhaps those unaffected or less affected by the bereavement, stop wanting to talk about the person who has died. This can mean the person grieving feels that their emotions have to be suppressed. It can also lead them to feeling that they are not dealing with their grief properly or quickly enough.

There is no ‘correct way’ to grieve or process death. Different people progress through their journeys of coming to terms with the loss of a loved one in different ways. There are many different psychological theories or models associated with grieving: the 5 Stages of Loss (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross); grief and attachment theory, (John Bowlby); wound model of grief (Lois Tonkin); 4 Tasks of Grieving ( J.William Worden); the 6 R’s of Mourning (Therese Rando); the dual process model of grief (Stroebe and Schut); reconstruction of meaning model (Robert Neimeyer et al). If you access the links below you will be able to learn more about some of them. The information on funeralguide.co.uk is particularly good.

The Good Grief Trust promote National Grief Awareness Week. The theme for this year is to raise awareness of the impact of grief and encourage us to keep communicating and reaching out to those in our close circle and wider community who may be struggling with bereavement and grief. Their wider aim is to provide a one-stop resource for those who contact them with bereavement needs. Following this link with take you to their website with details of many separate organisations which offer support to the bereaved and grieving.


‘The Grieving process: Top theories about understanding grief’ on funeralguide.co.uk

‘Understanding Grief and Bereavement’ by Ian J Hamilton from the British Journal of General Practice

Theories of Loss and Grief’ on the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors website

Cruse Bereavement Support


Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

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