People mourning in lockdown should not be afraid to seek help, say experts

Picture: Pixabay

Picture: Pixabay - Credit: Pixabay

People mourning in lockdown should be encouraged to talk about their feelings, say mental health experts.

With social distancing still in place, many Britons are dealing with the loss of loved ones for the first time alone, including those with relatives and friends among more than 40,000 people who have died from coronavirus.

Psychologists Dr Evgenia Stefanopoulou and Grace Bamber, from health and wellbeing specialists Rightsteps, are offering support on coping with grief in these difficult times.

This includes how to come to terms with being unable to say goodbye because of coronavirus-related restrictions such as visiting people in hospital, attending funerals and even holding the hands of those who are unwell during their final days.

As well as letting go of regret about what could have been done differently, not hurrying the grieving process and seeking support if feelings of distress intensify over time.

Dr Evgenia Stefanopoulou, clinical psychologist at Rightsteps, said: “Losing someone under the additional challenging circumstances of Covid-19 can leave people feeling overwhelmed and unsure how to cope.

“Many are unable to grieve in the way they would expect during previous times. Sadly, people may not have the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one before they die. They may not be able to attend the funeral and others might be on their own, unable to have a hug from a friend.

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“During the grieving process, there are many things we can do to look after our own and other people’s wellbeing. That includes speaking to a GP or mental health professional.”

Julie Bass, chief executive from health and social care organisation, Turning Point, added: “Many of us have been cut off from family and friends during the lockdown.

“Losing loved ones will add even more emotional trauma to an already distressing situation.

“We need to find successful ways to cope, make sure we take care of ourselves and deal with grief in the healthiest way.”

The Dr Stefanopoulou and Bambet have created a series of blog posts on the topic of Keeping Well at the Rightsteps website, which features discussions on different topics, as well as ideas to help everyone through the pandemic, keep well and look after their health and wellbeing.