Following a bereavement, it is crucial that you take care of yourself. This section contains information to help you take care of your health and wellbeing, including how and where to get support if you need it.
Grief is the way we respond when we lose someone we love. It can have a huge impact on our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. There is no ‘one size fits all’ to grief: how you feel, react and cope will be unique for everyone. You may find it hard to concentrate, feel confused and forgetful. Your thoughts may constantly return to the person who died, with painful questions and fears running through your mind. You may be going through a range of different and intense emotions.
It is important to take care of yourself after a bereavement. It will probably be helpful to talk to someone about the person who has died, your memories of them and relationship with them. Who you decide to talk to is up to you. You may want to talk to friends, family, a spiritual or faith advisor, your GP or a professional organisation specialising in bereavement. It can be difficult to talk to friends and family, especially if you don’t feel they understand what it is you’re going through, but they can be a crucial source of support and you should talk to them if you feel able.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to carry on as normal. You may need to take a break from your usual responsibilities. Take small steps and don’t expect too much of yourself. It is also important to not blame yourself. Often it is too easy to think – if only I did this? Don’t be harsh on yourself.
You may find that family and friends can offer you all the support you need but that is not always the case. If you are feeling isolated and lonely, there are other organisations and sources of support that we would encourage you to get in touch with. The most important thing is not to suffer alone – support is out there for you. Experiences of support from family and friends vary greatly. For many people who have been bereaved through a loved one’s drug or alcohol use, you may well find that friends and family offer you the best source of support, both practical and emotional.
How can I support someone who has been bereaved through drugs or alcohol? The single most important thing you can do is to listen to your friend or family member with sensitivity and compassion. Many people who have been bereaved in this way feel judged and stigmatised and that their loss is somehow not valued.
What is peer support? “…where an individual(s) who identifies themselves as having a specific problem/need and have received support to address the problem/need delivers services for the primary purpose of helping others with similar problems or needs. “ Peer support offers social, practical and emotional support. By definition, it must be voluntary, run and directed by consumers (peer supporters) in an informal setting, and offering flexibility and a non-medical approach. Beliefs, styles and values include: