First national guidelines for delivering bereavement support groups published

The first national guidelines for delivering bereavement support groups have been published. The guidelines are informed by the national Bereavement Care Service Standards (BSA & Cruse Bereavement Care 2014) for individuals or organisations wishing to set up and deliver a bereavement support group for adults. They are designed as a non-prescriptive guide, to raise awareness, facilitate reflection on the potential challenges of running a support group, and to encourage careful planning. Together, this guide can help to avoid pitfalls and ensure the sustainability and quality of a support group for any kind of bereavement.

The guidelines are suitable for voluntary groups or statutory agencies who would like to deliver a support group for those facing any type of bereavement whether facilitated by volunteers, people with “lived experience” of grief and loss, or professionals, such as counsellors or nurses.  They cover what should be in place to deliver a safe and effective group, different types of groups and other key points to consider, including sections for specific recommendations for different types of bereavement, such as suicide.  There is also a section which addresses legal requirements which apply to all service providers, whether voluntary or statutory, in the UK.

The guidelines were co-edited by Alison Penny of the National Bereavement Alliance, and Anne Embury of the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP) and Outlook South West’s Suicide Liaison Lead for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly. They include a foreword written by Julia Samuel, MBE, Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK and Patron of the SASP until her retirement in 2019. Supported by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the project was managed by the SASP with input from a number of bereavement organisations who contributed their expertise and experience.

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