When a colleague at work dies, as well as affecting their family and friends, there will also be an impact on the team they worked with. A co-worker’s death can be difficult to cope with. A range of emotions, from sadness, anger and guilt to loss of concentration or motivation, can all be part of the mourning process. Emotions can be strong and changeable, and they don’t always come straight away – sometimes they can occur at a later stage. People grieve in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to react to the death of a colleague. Many people find it helpful to reach out and talk to someone about their feelings, other may wish to deal with the loss in private.
In the first instance of a bereavement, speak to your line manager or a trusted colleague. Let them know what has happened and if you feel comfortable, tell them how you feel. All NHS organisations have access to Occupational Health services and an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), your line manager will be able to support you to access these. You can also speak to your trade union or staffside reps, who can direct you to local support offers and help you talk to colleagues about what has happened.
Bereavement support line
Bereavement support line: 0300 303 4434
We also have a confidential bereavement support line, operated by Hospice UK and free to access from 8:00am – 8:00pm, seven days a week.
A team of fully qualified and trained bereavement specialists are available to support you with bereavement and wellbeing issues relating to loss experienced through your work.
Self help and support apps
We recognise that some staff, including those with existing mental health concerns, may be particularly struggling during lockdown given the changes to every day routine, and we are therefore offering free access to a suicide prevention and support app for all NHS and social care staff.
Grassroots is a charity who aim to prevent suicide through open and direct conversations. Their free app is an easily accessible suicide prevention resource, packed full of useful information to help colleagues stay safe. Colleagues can use it if they are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.
Support Now also has other general mental health and wellbeing self-help apps available