National Bereavement Service launches grief support and counselling service

The National Bereavement Service (NBS) has launched a grief support and counselling service to help its staff and customers.

As companies ease their teams back into the workplace, the not-for-profit’s counselling service will help employers to support their employees with a dedicated free-phone number.

It will allow HR to provide its team with the tools they need to cope with grief and take the practical steps following the loss of a loved one, during the pandemic and beyond.

Jean Watkins, director of the NBS, said the pandemic has made this kind of employee support more important than ever as the effects of losing a loved one are amplified by social distancing and an inability to say goodbye and grieve with friends and family.

“Death is a subject that affects us all, and yet we spend very little time talking about it or planning for it. As a result, people often have to make a number of difficult decisions at a time when they’re at their most vulnerable, which can be both stressful and distressing, she said.

“Our aim with the new support and counselling service is to work with employers to give people emotional and practical support through their employee and customer benefit scheme.”

The service can provide immediate help and support or can refer an employee for assessment if necessary.

Any extra support will be provided by trained specialist bereavement support volunteers, or where counselling is needed, a BACP-registered practitioner.

Watkins added: “The support and counselling service is something we have been working on for a while and our team has undertaken specialist training to ensure we can offer the right help to callers, no matter what they’re going through. We have developed the service as a support and counselling triage in partnership with St Giles Hospice.”

Last month, the CIPD called for the right to bereavement leave and pay to be extended to all employees experiencing the loss of a close family member.

It has also since published a Compassionate Bereavement Guide for employers.