London, UK, March 1, 2021 -- A national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland had a 68% increase in calls last year to its bereavement helpline.
In 2020, the Cruse Bereavement Care helpline received 25,207 calls, in comparison to 15,041 in 2019.
The charity offers support, advice and information to children, young people and adults dealing with grief and bereavement.
Cruse Bereavement volunteer Yolanda said: "Many charities and small organisations are seeing an increase in people accessing their services.
"Grieving at any time is difficult, but it is particularly difficult to be bereaved at the moment during a global pandemic.
"Families have been separated, jobs have been lost and people have lost their support systems.
"There would normally be a support network following a death and rituals to carry out.
"There are no hugs or comforting arms to help ease the pain. Many of those bereaved during COVID-19 were not able to see their loved ones before they died."
The UK has recorded 122,415 deaths from COVID-19 within 28 days of a positive test.
But the volunteer also acknowledged the importance of remembering those who have died from non-Covid related causes.
According to ONS data, more than 608,000 deaths were recorded in the 2020 calendar year.
This made 2020 the deadliest year in a century in England and Wales.
Yolanda’s own experience of grief and loss, after losing her parents and brother, propelled her to join Cruse in order to help others.
She explained how she could not sleep, dealt with nightmares and a loss of purpose after she lost loved ones.
Yolanda said: "When I was grieving, I felt like someone had ripped my heart out.
"It was the most painful experience I have ever endured and I never realised that I could feel so sad.
"Even though it is emotional pain, it hurts physically. I tried to carry on as normal, but the grief literally wrestled me to the ground and floored me.
"The death of a loved one will change you. You will never be the same, but that death can inspire you to change your life for the better.
"My personal experiences have helped me to understand the grieving process and taught me compassion, empathy and resilience.
"Grieving is a slow process and there are no short cuts or quick fixes, so it is important for people to be patient and gentle with themselves.
"One minute they will be getting on with life and the next moment they will feel down, but this is the pattern of a "normal" grieving process."
The bereavement volunteer sought help from Cruse and her GP in order to work through the grief.
She suggests those who may be feeling isolated to join support groups.
Yolanda also advises bereaved people to begin a grief journal to "express their feelings or communicate with their loved one or friend."
She added: "Cruse is here to support anyone grieving at this time."
Cruse can be accessed here or via its free National Helpline 0808 808 1677.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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