New research we, Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), have conducted shows that Ireland has struggled over the last year with bereavement and how our grieving rituals have been changed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought huge changes to how we mourn, how we offer support to one another and highlighted the need for increased supports for bereaved families and individuals across the country.
The research carried out between February 18th and March 1st sampling over 1,000 adults nationwide gives us an insight into how our country is dealing with death and dying during lockdown.
The majority surveyed feel that the grief impact on the nation will be long lasting. However, with respect to bereavement supports less than one in five people believe bereavement care is sufficient in Ireland and a large proportion, 43%, say it is not sufficient. We are determined to change this and offer support to anybody who may need it through our Bereavement Support Line. (Freephone 1800 80 70 77 – Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm).
The research shows that the vast majority of the population have had to deal with bereavement in some form over the past year and that those experiences have been drastically changed by the pandemic.
Speaking about the research, our CEO Sharon Foley said:
“This week marks the one year anniversary of the first lockdown. It seems so long ago in some ways and has affected our lives in so many ways. But few experiences have been changed more profoundly than how we as Irish people deal with bereavement. It is often a community wide effort to support people who have lost a loved one and social distance and lockdowns have utterly changed that.”
Orla Keegan, Head of Bereavement & Education at IHF reiterates:
“There is support available. I want people to know that we are here to help. Pick up the phone to us, or encourage someone who may be struggling to give us a call. There are much brighter days ahead for us all but in the meantime I would encourage people to make that call to someone who is grieving. If you don’t know what to say, have a look at the bereavement support hub on our website. But human contact is central to how the Irish deal with grief and we can help you.”
Other findings of Irish Hospice Foundation research show:
- Nearly 3/4 of population (73%) struggled to know how to support family, friends who have been bereaved
- 77% feel that as a nation the grief we’ve felt during this pandemic will be long lasting and impactful.
- 87% feel being together is a key part of grieving process which has not been possible during the pandemic.
- 62% found it difficult to show respect in the absence of attending a funeral.
- Over half the population feel they know what to say but younger people need more support and information on how to do this.
- 80% of the population feel there needs to be more support and advice on bereavement for families and friends of loved ones who have passed away.
- 85% of the adult population have offered some level of support to family, friends, colleagues, or neighbors who have been bereaved.
IHF has also developed a free bereavement resource pack, Support for Grieving in Exceptional Times.