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The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for people to get together with friends and family to mourn, which can be particularly distressing for the bereaved. However, some innovative ways to deal with grief and maintain a support network have become possible over the past year.

Video calls

Video conferencing services like Zoom and Facetime have implemented big updates since the beginning of the pandemic to be quicker, safer and better for the billions of people now relying on them for communication.

A Zoom call, for example, can host up to 100 connections at once, making virtual memorial services a viable way to remember loved ones with family and friends from across the world. Different Zoom plans can also be purchased to allow up to a staggering 1,000 connections simultaneously.

Virtual services are now offered by a number of crematoria and places of worship and are worth asking your local funeral director about. Read Live streaming a funeral service for more information.

Video calls can also facilitate regular activities with family and friends such as quizzes and movie nights. Some people are even leaving video calls on all day for quick access to their support network.

Online support

Whilst we’ve had to pause our group bereavement support during the pandemic, a number of mental health specialists have adapted their services to reach as many people as possible on a one-to-one basis during lockdown restrictions.

The National Bereavement Service, for instance, recently launched an online webchat, allowing people without a webcam, strong internet connection or much technical knowhow to communicate with experts simply by visiting the website.

Similarly, Cruse Bereavement Care has been publishing online resources about how to take care of your mental health during lockdown, including what to do when grieving in isolation.

Samaritans are also available to talk 24/7 on the free hotline 116 123, even if just to chat.

Support bubbles

The government introduced support bubbles in June to combat loneliness, and it’s worth taking advantage of this system to cope with grief.

Single-adult households, including ones with children under the age of 18, can currently form a support bubble with another household of any size.

This means you can mix with the other household as if you were part of it, which includes having close contact with its occupants.

Support bubbles can provide much-needed relief from the effects of loneliness and grief. However, remember, you can’t change who’s in your support bubble once it’s formed.

Make sure to keep checking the very latest government guidance surrounding this system on GOV.UK

By making the most of support bubbles, online resources and video calls, no one needs to feel quite as alone during lockdown restrictions.

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