Welcome to the Families and Friends in Bereavement site

About this resource

Family means different things to different people and includes not only relatives but friends, neighbours and any others who are important to you. The Family and Friends in Bereavement resource is to help your ‘family’ face loss, talk and share grief together.

The resource offers a unique focus on the grief experience of the family rather than the individual. Facing loss and bereavement can be difficult, especially knowing what to do, and how to start and continue conversations, when you are all experiencing and reacting to loss differently.

  • We encourage users of this resource to concentrate on family strengths and offer suggestions for things to try that might help you talk together about the effect of the death, make sense of what has happened, and identify potential sources of support to manage bereavement.
  • If someone you know is dying some of the information may be helpful as you prepare for your loss, for example about grief and dealing with practicalities.
  • Relationships can be complex, not everyone can hold your emotions, so it is important to consider who to talk and share your grief with. If you feel isolated you might like to look at the further information and support page for suggestions of ways to contact others.

The resource is designed to complement, not replace, existing bereavement support services. It is unique in that it offers some things to try to prompt conversations and share experiences of grief, to make sense of loss. This is important because we know that:

  • Most people manage bereavement with the help of family, friends, and those in their social circle. However, during COVID-19 social restrictions prevented families and friends coming together to support each other and make sense of their bereavement. This resource was developed during, and in response to, these restrictions but the content is designed to continue to be relevant.

What this resource doesn’t offer

If you are looking for help with specific bereavement types such as; loss of a child, spouse or parent; talking to children about bereavement; complicated grief; or connecting with others through a chat room or peer support, please see websites listed in our further information and support page.


The initial work to develop this resource was supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaboration Wessex (NIHR ARC Wessex). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of this website.

Ongoing iteration of the resource has been funded by a University Hospital Southampton research and development grant.

How to Cite this Resource

Campling N, Lund S, Brooks C, Allam A, Myall M (2023) Supporting families and friends in bereavement. University of Southampton. Available at: www.familiesandfriendsinbereavement.org.uk