At The Lullaby Trust we offer a listening bereavement support service, which can be useful as a first point of contact after you lose a child or if you just need to talk to a sympathetic and understanding listener. Our support is free, is flexible and can be used at any time, and can also be used alongside a professional counsellor. There is no waiting list.
If you are finding things especially difficult or require more in-depth support, though, you may want to access bereavement counselling or therapeutic support.
Do I need counselling?
Losing a child is an extremely difficult event in anyone’s life. Grief following the unexpected death of your child is an intense and enduring experience and a very personal thing. The loss can bring up a wide range of emotions including guilt and anger.
Not everyone will need or want professional help. You may find that the support of family and friends or talking to other parents who have been through a similar loss is enough for you. It is important that you get the support that is right for you.
Some people benefit from speaking openly to a counsellor about their feelings to help ease the process and resolve any remaining issues they may have.
Counselling falls under the umbrella term ‘talking therapies’ and can offer you the opportunity to have a safe, confidential space to talk and explore your feelings with a neutral person outside your circle of family and friends. Some counsellors and therapists are also trained in specialist therapies to help cope with traumatic loss and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
You might want to consider seeing a professional counsellor or therapist if:
- You feel isolated socially
- You have a previous history of depression and anxiety
- You have additional life stresses going on: illness or relationship difficulties, for example
- It is difficult talking about your feelings with family members and friends
- You are experiencing continued intrusive thoughts or flashbacks related to the death
- You are experiencing lasting sleep problems
- You feel unable to talk about your experience, avoiding people and places that remind you of what’s happened
- You feel constantly very anxious
- You feel very irritable with others
- You are having thoughts that there is no point to life or you feel you may harm yourself
- You feel continually unable to function and carry out day to day activities.
If you feel some of the above are persisting or are troubling you, then a counsellor therapist may be able to help.
How to find bereavement counselling or therapeutic support
Counselling is available via the NHS, privately and through some charitable organisations. You may want to ask if the counsellor you see has experience in dealing with traumatic loss and bereavement.
Please note that therapeutic services tend to have long waiting lists and may be offered for a specific amount for sessions e.g. 6 x weekly sessions. There may also be a fee if you access support from a private therapist.
Everyone’s grief and needs are different; you may need to make other enquiries or ask your GP what they would recommend before you make a decision.
Below are some suggestions for who you might choose to contact when searching for the right support for you.
GPs will be able to refer you to your local NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) provider but these do not always accept bereavement referrals and waiting times may vary.
To find your nearest IAPT service, visit the NHS Choices website here or speak to your GP.
EAPs (Employee Assistance Programmes)
Many workplaces now have access to counselling through EAPS, which is usually a time-limited but often rapid response.
Many local Mind branches have low cost counselling but service provision varies and may involve trainee counsellors. For more information, contact Mind via their website or by calling 0300 123 3393.
Child Bereavement UK
Child Bereavement UK can provide a series of confidential booked telephone support sessions with a qualified counsellor for you as an individual, or with your partner. You can call them on 0800 02 888 40 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional bodies have registers of counsellors and therapists practicing privately. Many professionals will offer a ‘sliding scale’ or reduce their fee in cases of hardship.
- BACP (British Association for Counselling and Therapy) is a leading professional body for counsellors in the UK.
- UK Council for Psychotherapy is a leading professional body for psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Its website lists those who meet its exacting standards and training requirements, and you can search via post code and specialty.
- The British Psychological Society Chartered members registry lists chartered psychologists who have completed over six years of Society-recognised education and training. You can search via post code and specialty.
- Counselling directory is an online directory of counsellors who are insured and are a member of a professional body.
Information given on this page is for reference only. The Lullaby Trust is not responsible for the content of external sites or the experience you may have with external organisations.