Tracy Tuffs

Bereavement hotline launched in Lincolnshire for those grieving while self-isolating

A Lincolnshire charity has opened a special helpline for those isolating and dealing with the death of a loved one.

St Barnabas Hospice which hosts day therapy sessions and has a shop and cafe in the town centre has launched the service in responce to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesman for the hospice said: “Being isolated, dealing with the death of a loved one alone can affect the way we normally grieve.

“St Barnabas will offer a listening ear and basic advice to anyone who feels unable to cope or who needs to seek support.”

This new bereavement helpline will be open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm, as well as Monday and Wednesday evenings until 8pm.

Counsellors will provide a listening ear as well as hints and tips on how to stay calm or manage anxiety, and how to pay respects to a loved one when a funeral cannot take place in the usual way.

The helpline will support people who are grieving from a death of any cause, not just the coronavirus.

Tracy Tuffs, counselling service team lead at St Barnabas Hospice, said: “These are uncertain times and we understand that people will be feeling more emotional and alone than normal.

“Our aim with this service is to use our expertise to support people when they need it the most but also understanding that they may be grieving in a different way because of the current situation.

“The calls will be taken by over 25 volunteers, most are trained counsellors or bereavement volunteers who would usually be working in the community holding group sessions.

“As these have stopped, we were keen to use their expertise to continue being able to support our community. Although this helpline will offer that initial response, if someone needs additional, more regular care, we will be able to refer them to the relevant service.”

The hospice was overwhelmed by a recent appeal for volunteers to help man the phoneline .

Tracy said: “I took an incredible amount of phone calls from trained counsellors and other people wanting to support this helpline, including a lady in Wales and one from Yorkshire!

“It is fantastic that so many people want to support the Lincolnshire community in the best way they can, and we are very grateful to each and every one of the volunteers who have come forward to help.”

This helpline is accessible only to the people of Lincolnshire due to capacity, and support can be accessed by dialling 0300 303 1897.

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