The Co-op has released a report revealing the devastating impact lockdown has had on Preston’s ability to grieve and warns the city could face a grief pandemic.Advertisement
An online YouGov survey, commissioned by Co-op Funeralcare shows that in the weeks following the start of the UK’s lockdown on Monday 23 March, 47 per cent of bereaved adults in Preston have been denied their final farewell.
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Although necessary to protect the nation during the coronavirus pandemic, the restrictions on the number of funeral attendees means that many have been unable to attend their loved one’s funeral.
When asked about the most important way to say goodbye, 33 per cent of UK adults chose attending a funeral or memorial service, but in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, this has not been an option for bereaved families.
The inability to grieve at present means the nation could experience a prolonged period of mourning for months, or even years, to come.
David Collingwood, Director of Funerals at Co-op Funeralcare said: “A funeral provides a sense of closure for bereaved families and is very often the start of the grieving process.
“Sadly, the recent restrictions mean tens of thousands of families across Preston have been denied the right to say goodbye to loved ones in the way they would have wished.
“Tragically, we don’t yet know what the long-term psychological effects will be for families denied the last opportunity to say goodbye, so it is vital that we do everything possible to allow families and individuals to attend funerals, whilst always prioritising the health and safety of our communities.”
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The Co-op Foundation has partnered with Co-op Funeralcare to deliver grants of up to £10,000 for projects that help young people to support each other through bereavement.
Organisations can express their interest in the Co-op Foundation #iwill Fund until Friday 31 July. The funding will help build confidence, skills and a sense of belonging among young bereaved people, while helping them to make a long-term impact on their peers who have gone through similar experiences.
The Co-op Hardship Fund is also providing grants of £250 to anyone who is in financial hardship and arranging a funeral for a loved one who has died of coronavirus, or a coronavirus related illness.
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Andy Langford, Cruse Bereavement Care Clinical Director said: “Many people have been grieving in isolation, unable to attend funerals, say goodbye, and be close to those they love.
“When you feel you have no control over how you can experience those last moments with someone, this can have a profound impact on the grieving process.”
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Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at Mind said: “The loss of a loved one during the pandemic is leaving many people struggling with grief. In most cases, grief is not a diagnosable mental health problem.
“It is absolutely normal that grief places strain on our everyday lives and it can take a long time to adapt to life after a loss.
“If you feel that your mental health is suffering following a bereavement beyond the stages of grief or if you have an existing mental health problem that is being worsened following a bereavement and you’re struggling to cope, it’s important to seek help, speak to a loved one, GP or contact a bereavement charity.”
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Have you been unable to say goodbye to your loved ones? Share your story in the comments below.