Death affects everyone.
At some point we will all know someone whose loved one has died. How we choose to act towards them will make a difference.
This toolkit will give you confidence to help someone who is grieving, whether they are a friend, family member, colleague, neighbour, or even someone you don’t know well.
Everyone’s grief is unique. The tips below come from local people who have been bereaved.
Acknowledge the death. It doesn’t matter how you say you are sorry for the bereavement, as long as you do. In person, by phone, sending a message or email – use any way to make contact. If you know it, use the name of the person who died.
Be curious. If the bereaved person wants to talk, ask what happened. If you didn’t know the person who died, sensitively ask what they were like. Show interest.
Listen again and again. If the bereaved person wants to talk about the death, or their memories of their loved one, give them the opportunity to do this.
Be generous by sharing. Share anything you can about the person who died – your memories of them, or funny times. Sometimes old photographs can be helpful.
Grief is exhausting. Offer to do things like cooking, shopping, or taking things to the charity shop.
Rather than ask, for example, if the bereaved person would like you to do their shopping, make it real by saying ‘I’m going shopping now. What can I get for you?’
Grief is isolating. Give the bereaved person opportunities to experience normality. Include them in invites for coffee, a walk, or other social events.
Make contact more than once – stay in touch. Remember to speak to them on anniversary days that may be difficult for them. Grief may last for years, or even for a lifetime.
For more advice and information on bereavement support, go to