Top five tips: how to support someone grieving

News and Blog


It’s Grief Awareness Week from 2-8 December, helping to raise awareness of all aspects of grief and loss.   

At St Catherine’s, our Wellbeing Team are experts in helping people to cope with grief. They also understand how hard it can be for family members and friends to know what to say or do to help a loved one who has lost someone close to them. 

To help, the Wellbeing Team are sharing their five top tips for the best practical ways we can all support someone who is dealing with grief. We hope it helps in some small way if you, or someone you know, are supporting someone through bereavement. 

1. Say their name – talk about the person who has died

Don’t be afraid to speak about the person who has died. It can be comforting for the person who is grieving to hear their loved one’s name or talk about memories you have of them. Say their name because through you, their memory lives on. 

2. Just do it – don’t wait to be asked

Don’t use the cliché “let me know if you need anything” – instead, just do it. Make that meal, buy those flowers, invite them in for that cuppa. Whatever your action, the thought will be appreciated. Sometimes people grieving don’t know what they need or what friends and family can do to help. Take the initiative and make it happen – and don’t worry about it being the wrong thing. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. 

3. Get your diary out – remember, remember, remember

Make sure you make a note of key dates of the person who has died, such as their birthday and the date they died, so that you can remember to mark them. Send a card for the significant date or pick up the phone to let your friend or family member know you are thinking of them. It shows that you understand that it’s likely to be an emotional time for them. 

4. No you can’t fix it – don’t try to find a solution

Grief can be immensely hard and there is no quick fix or grand solution. Rather than coming up with ideas to ‘cheer’ someone up – sometimes the best support you can give is to sit alongside that pers

on in their grief. Allow them to be sad, to cry, and to have days when they don’t want to leave the house. No grand gestures or bright ideas – just be by their side. 

5. Don’t be weird – keep being you

Dealing with grief can feel very unsettling and unreal – so try to remain constant in your behaviour around the bereaved person. Don’t change how you have always been with your friend or loved one. If you have always talked about current affairs, keep doing that. If you are the joker, don’t suddenly feel you can’t smile. Keep being you, whilst offering support. Be the familiar anchor for them in their new unknown territory of bereavement. 

For more information about bereavement support visit our bereavement pages or to get in touch with our Wellbeing Team contact