Bereavement support


Bereavement is a really personal experience, and the intensity of the associated feelings and behaviours may fluctuate depending on a number of factors. Your closeness to the individual concerned; the amount of time passed since the event; your previous encounters with loss; your own personality and the way that the individual died may all have an impact on your experience of bereavement.

For instance, you may feel shock initially, and your feelings may cycle through many phases. You may feel that your grief has passed, only to find that it rears its head again when you least expect it. You may feel all or none of the following:

  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness
  • Self-reproach
  • Anxiety
  • Shock
  • Yearning
  • Relief

It can be hard to explain to others what you are experiencing, especially as your grief is so unique to you. It may be especially difficult if you are dealing with the death of a fellow student: you may find yourself in places every day that remind you of them.

Equally it may be very difficult for you to process your feelings if you are far away from your loved ones whilst dealing with a bereavement. But rest assured that it is normal to experience whatever you are going through.

What support can I access?

Cruse Bereavement Care is a charity that provides support in the form of helplines and access to counsellors, as well as useful guides and resources for those suffering with grief:

Get in touch with the Durham University Counselling Service to speak to a professional therapist about your feelings:

Or you can self-refer to NHS Talking Changes:

What if I’m struggling to focus on my work?

Please see our page on the processes you should follow to let the University know about your circumstances.

You can also contact the Advice Service if you need any further help or advice.

Page last reviewed: 06/09/2019