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Saturday, 16 October 2021

Celebrities back Sue Ryder Grief Kind campaign

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Famous faces are supporting Sue Ryder’s Grief Kind campaign to help the nation better support loved ones through a bereavement

A survey commissioned by bereavement charity, Sue Ryder, found that 86% of people who have experienced a bereavement in the UK felt alone in their grief. The primary reason was that those around them didn’t know what to say or do to help them (81%).

Grief is something we will all have to go through. Yet 44% of the British public admit that they have felt unsure of what to say when someone tells them a close relative or friend has died.

Recognising that it can be difficult to know how to support a loved one, Sue Ryder has launched Grief Kind. This new campaign aims to equip people with the know-how and confidence to support friends and family through a bereavement, so that no one has to go through grief alone.

The famous faces supporting the campaign include motivational speaker and Bedfordshire resident Malin Andersson, digital creator Lottie Tomlinson, TV presenter Richard Arnold and actress Davinia Taylor, all of whom have first-hand experience of grief.

Speaking openly about death is something that Malin Andersson (28) believes would have helped her more through her own grief. Malin tragically lost her baby daughter, Consy, in 2019 just four weeks after giving birth.

Her mother, also named Consy, died of stomach cancer two years prior and was cared for by Sue Ryder Nurses from Bedfordshire-based Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice Palliative Care Hub.

After they died, Malin reveals that people were scared to talk about it with her, which made it difficult to share her feelings.

Malin Andersson said:

“Grief is a very isolating and lonely experience, even if you have a strong support network around you. I know how it feels to go through a painful bereavement. Although the ache never really goes away, the initial period after the death of a loved one is particularly tough and talking about it can make a big difference.

“If you want to support a friend or family member through grief, do not avoid the subject. Ask how they are truly feeling. I still find it incredibly helpful to speak about my mum and daughter with friends and family. I hope that by sharing my experience, I can help others to have these tough conversations, so that no one has to feel alone in their grief.”

 

The celebrities have helped to create an emotive photo and video series to shine a light on what helped, or would have helped, them through their grief.

In sharing their personal experience, the celebrities hope to enable others to better support grieving friends and relatives.

TV presenter Richard Arnold (51), whose beloved dad Dave died in 2016, aged 81, discovered how comforting it can be when grieving for a loved one to be remembered by name. He said:

“After the death of someone close to you, it can seem like people feel awkward or uncomfortable when it comes to saying their name in your presence. They become simply ‘he’ or ‘she’ or worse yet, are not mentioned at all.

“This is perhaps because friends or family worry that it might upset you or serve as a painful reminder of their death, but in my experience, it is so important for those around you to continue to say their name.

“No one wants to feel like their loved one has been forgotten, or as though they are the elephant in the room. After my dad died, the normality of other people talking about him and referring to him by name brought me a real sense of comfort.

“Even now, it is almost like hearing people say my dad’s name out loud makes him in some way immortal.”

Heidi Travis, chief executive officer of Sue Ryder, said:

“We want our Grief Kind campaign to provide people with advice, knowledge and confidence to help those close to them to navigate the toughest moments of their lives.”

Sue Ryder research shows the following are the most useful things that people can do to help someone who is grieving include:

  • Just being there without trying to ‘fix’ anything
  • Talking about memories of the person who died
  • Keeping in touch but not expecting a response
  • Offering to spend time with doing things they enjoy

In addition, when it comes to words of comfort, the survey shone a light on the most helpful things people can say to a loved one to help them through a bereavement:

  • Thinking of you
  • I am here for you
  • My favourite memory of them is…
  • I am just a phone call away

Sue Ryder provides a range of online bereavement support, including free video counselling delivered through trained bereavement counsellors; an online community forum offering 24-hour peer to peer support and a wide range of advice and resources for people who are grieving or supporting someone through bereavement.

For more information and expert advice from Sue Ryder’s trained bereavement counsellors, visit Sue Ryder Grief Kind.

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John Guinn
I am the editor of The Flitwick Chronicle. This is an independent, local news service based in Bedfordshire. The Chronicle provides local news that is investigative, inclusive and relevant to the residents of Flitwick.

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