Bereavement is the period of sadness that you feel when you lose someone.  It may come as surprise to you reading this article that just over 35% of all people accessing counselling through our services are seeking support and counselling for bereavement and loss.


“The hardest part of losing someone

Isn’t having to say goodbye,

but rather learning to

live without them.

Always trying to fill the void,

the emptiness that’s

left inside your heart when they go.”  Author unknown



It is a normal response for us to be sad or have difficulty adjusting when we lose someone. Bereavement is the period of sadness and loneliness that we experience from a loss. Typically this loss is the death of a loved one; however, the loss can be due to other factors.  The length of bereavement depends on numerous factors, including:

  • Age at the time of the loss
  • Reason for the loss
  • Closeness to those lost
  • Support systems in place
  • If there was anticipation for the loss

Grief and Mourning

Grief and mourning are both a part of the bereavement process. Grief refers to our emotional response to the loss. For example, your friend was angry, sad, and felt guilty as a response to her father’s death. Grief can also lead to physical problems. For example, your friend’s grief over her father’s death was causing her to lose sleep. People who are grieving may also experience loss of appetite, lose weight, or may become physically ill.

Mourning is an outward expression of grief. Many people mourn by having a funeral or wearing all black or partaking in many other traditions depending on their culture and religion.

Our model of care

Within the Hope centre our model of care is based on the approach suggested by the national framework for Adult Bereavement Care.  The framework was devised following a national collaborative project from 2018 to 2020.  Our General Manager was a member of the steering group that developed the model under the Irish Hospice Foundation.  This framework provides guidance on the levels of support that should be available in order to provide a comprehensive bereavement care service.  There are 4 levels of support suggested and they look like this;

All people who experience bereavement have some level of need, such as the need for compassion and acknowledgement of the death (LEVEL 1). Some need additional support which is outside their natural network, such as peer to peer support (LEVEL 2). Some require a more intensive support, such as counselling (LEVEL 3) and a few require support from a specialist therapeutic service (LEVEL 4) (Irish Hospice Foundation 2020).   Within the centre people can access services for level 1, 2 and 3 and we are in a position to assist in accessing services at level 4.