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Bereavement Support & Groups in Bristol

Grief is a powerful mix of emotions and thoughts that come about when we are faced with loss. The loss can occur from the death of someone we know, or it can occur when faced with our own ill health or terminal diagnosis or that of someone close to us. This means it sometimes can start before death has occurred (this is sometimes called pre-bereavement).  


On this page, you will find bereavement support and resources, along with some support for how to cope and understand the feelings we are experiencing.



Bereavement Groups & Resources in and around Bristol

There are plenty of resources to assist the bereaved, and we have compiled a list to help you or someone you love during this time. 


The Good Grief Trust

Useful information, helplines, advice and stories for the bereaved. Search engine for services near you. Website: 

For current Bristol listings Bereavement support (


The Compassionate Friends

An organisation that gives support and friendship to bereaved parents and their families. Email:  Helpline: 0345 123 2304 (daily 10 am to 4pm and 7pm to 10pm)  Website:


 Cruse Bereavement Care

Offers one-to-one bereavement counselling for any bereaved person, including children, who need support after a loss. Home visits can be arranged.

Cruse Bereavement Care Bristol, 23-25 St Augustine Parade, Bristol, BS1 3UL. 

Telephone: 0117 926 4045  Website: 


Grief Encounter (South West)

Offers support to bereaved children and young people.

Email:  Helpline: 0808 802 0111 (Weekdays 9am to 9pm)  



The Harbour

Counselling for people with life-threatening conditions, for their carers, loved ones and those who have been bereaved by illness.

30 Frogmore Street, Bristol, BS1 5NA.  Email:  Telephone: 0117 925 9348  Website: 


St Peters Hospice

St Peter's Hospice, Charlton Road, Brentry, Bristol, BS10 6NL  Telephone: 0117 915 9400  



SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society)

Support for parents and families whose baby is stillborn or dies soon after birth, and anyone affected by the death of a baby.

Email: Helpline: 0808 164 3332  Website: 


 Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

Providing supporting to people who have been affected by suicide.

Email:  Telephone: 07392 993945 Website: 


Winston’s Wish

Support for children and young people and their families after the death of a parent or sibling and schools or health professionals who work with bereaved children and young people.

Spa House, 17 Royal Cres, Cheltenham GL50 3DA

Email:  Helpline: 0808 802 002  Website: 


BREAD (Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs)

Provides information and support for anyone bereaved through drug or alcohol use.

Email:  Telephone 07442 137421   Website:

Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK provides support for anyone who has lost a child, and for children themselves who are bereaved.

Helpline: 0800 02 88840  Email:


There is also a “Live Chat” available via the website.


Widowed and Young

Offers support to people under 50 who have lost a partner.

Telephone: 0300 201 0051  Website: (online contact form available)


Sue Ryder

Offers bereavement support, as well as care for people with terminal illness and neurological conditions. This includes ways of finding bereavement support online, including an online community and text service.


Understanding the impact of grief: 

The Emotional impact of grief 

People may experience a range of strong emotions: Anxiety, fear, distress, anger, guilt, blaming, shock, numbness, disbelief, depression, loneliness, yearning, acceptance, and relief.


The Cognitive impact of grief.

People in grief may be preoccupied with the person who died, have difficulty making decisions, experience poor concentration, experience forgetfulness, hallucinations, and vivid dreams.


The Behavioural impact

Grief can affect our behaviour in a number of ways: Crying, fatigue, social withdrawal, increased smoking or alcohol consumption, increased/decreased sexuality, searching, agitation, aggression.

The Physical impact

Grief can be felt right into our bodies with real physical pain or complaints and ailments.  Chest tightness, shortness of breath, sleep disturbance, poor appetite, weight loss/gain, aches and pains, can all happen as an impact from our loss.

The Spiritual impact

Grief can challenge our religious belief with questions such as: God, why? It  can create philosophical challenges: What’s the meaning of life? What’s the meaning of my life?

How To Cope

To allow yourself to heal, you need to allow yourself to feel the pain of grief. This can be very difficult as it brings up powerful emotions (sadness, anger…). At the same time we need to allow ourselves some restoration, pause, relief from grief. This involves focusing on activities of daily life, activities that can distract us. This is called the dual process model of grief. In order to cope with grief it is helpful to move back and forth between experiences and activities that are focused on loss and activities and experiences of restoration.


To help with the grief experiences, feelings of loss, it is useful to talk about how we feel. This can be done with a supportive friend or a professional (GP, nurse, or counsellor). It can also help to use a journal to write all the feelings and thoughts, this can help us process and cope with our emotions and let them out of our head and our hearts. Expressing how we feel can also be done by creative means, through painting, artwork, pottery, carpentry. Whatever it is for you, it is important to find a way to express your grief.


Restoration activities can include working, going out in nature, walking, exercising, watching TV, cleaning/clearing, socialising, attending to life changes, volunteering. Even if for a few minutes, these activities will all you a small break from focusing on your pain. They are very important for the healing process.


Give yourself compassion. Be kind to yourself. Ask for help from those around you. Reach out for support.


‘In the chaos of grief we can feel as if our world has tilted off its axis’ (Julia Samuel, Grief Works). Structuring our day (with some flexibility) can help us with this feeling. Develop a structure of good habits (Julia Samuel’s Pillars of Strength) :

•Exercise first thing

•Do some work or some chores.

•Take time to remember the person who has died

•Actively choose to do soothing, calming things: being in nature, watching TV, cooking, listening to music…

•Have regular times for sleep

The importance of validating feelings

We sometimes invalidate our feelings by thinking or saying “I should have moved on by now, I should be ok, I should be getting on with life”. We are also faced by others who sometimes invalidate our feelings further by saying things like “are you still feeling like that? you should have moved on by now”. This invalidation of our feelings by ourselves and others causes a great deal of additional pain. It can stop us working through the emotions. It is a judgement that we don’t need. People in grief need to let those emotions flow, this is what helps the healing process. Whatever you’re feeling, it’s ok, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there is no timespan, take the time you need.

How to manage anger

Anger is one of the well-recognised responses to death. It can be helped with the following set of techniques if practised regularly ( from Julia Samuel’s book: Grief Works):

•Ten minutes writing in a journal about everything that is swirling inside you

•Twenty minutes running (or similar exercise)

•Ten minutes meditating

•Twenty minutes watching or reading something funny

How to manage anxiety

We feel fear when our brain switches on our “fight or flight” response.  This is a normal and healthy way for our brain to try and keep us safe.  But we can switch on that fear response ourselves through our thoughts, ie through worrying.  This is anxiety.  Anxious worrying is a way of trying to protect ourselves from the uncertainties of the future; we try to resolve those uncertainties in our head, but this rarely succeeds, and just makes us feel worse.   Finding ways of reducing the amount of worrying you do will help with your anxiety, for example:

•Distraction – break up patterns of worry by listening to music, podcasts or audio books, watching TV or movies, talking to a friend, knitting or doing a puzzle

•Meditation. Guided meditation or just focusing on breathing or on nature.

•Use a “Worry window” – set aside a half hour of the day when you will allow yourself to worry (a “worry window”), and then if you find yourself worrying at any other time of the day, tell yourself that you’re going to postpone that worry into the “worry window” and worry about it only at that time.   

•Keep a worry diary – write down your worry predictions (e.g. “I’ll be unable to cope when I go out tomorrow”), and then re-visit them a while later and check whether your predictions were accurate.  See how often you’re right - you’ll usually find you’re not!  


Other helpful measures

Breathing – when we breathe out, we reduce the body’s “fight or flight” response.  Practice spending 15 minutes or more slowly breathing in and out to the count of ten, making the outbreaths last longer than the inbreaths, (e.g. count of 3 for inbreath, count of 7 for outbreath).  

“Progressive Muscle Relaxation” – a simple technique with demonstration videos on YouTube can also help.  

Setting an appointment with grief

It is normal to feel overwhelmed by grief, like a sense of going mad. If it becomes prolonged, unmanageable and impossibly disruptive to life for long periods, you may want to try “setting an appointment with grief”: Pick a time of day when you know you will either be on your own or with someone who can support you (depending on what you would prefer). It needs to be the same time every day so your mind can become aware that it is “grief time”. It needs to have an end time (try not to let it run for more than an hour). You need to plan a distraction or a well-being activity, walk, at the end to help you move through the feelings. During Grief time, you can cry, scream, and outpour your feelings to enable them to flow. If grief comes up at any other point, you just let it know that this is not the time and you will meet it at your specified time. It will be difficult to keep to the boundaries at first but it will improve with practice. 

Memorial Woodlands Bereavement Support

Grief, a deep and intricate blend of emotions and thoughts, emerges in the face of loss. Beyond the valuable tools and resources provided here, we invite you to participate in one of our events or trainings for additional support. 

Bereavement Resources
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Get in Touch

Anyone wishing to take part should contact CRUSE with details on this webform to be contacted about their nearest walk.

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