This article provides information about support available when you have experienced a loss or bereavement.

Experiencing the loss of someone important to us is a challenge that all of us will face at some time in our lives, whether through the death of a loved one, or through the ending of an important relationship. But knowing that others have experienced something similar doesn’t necessarily make the pain any easier to manage!

You may find that friends and others are uncomfortable and don’t know how best to support you, and you (or others) may impose unrealistic expectations about how quickly you should be ‘moving on’. There is no set timetable for how bereavement or loss affects someone, and no set formula for how to get through it, but it is a good idea to make sure you have some kind of support.

It is always advisable to let your personal tutor or course leader know if you are having difficulties affecting your studies - they are there to help, and can offer useful advice and support. It is also advisable to consult your GP if you are feeling persistently low, or if your difficulties are significantly affecting your daily functioning beyond the initial aftermath of the loss.

There are various other sources of support available:


Student Wellbeing Service

The Student Wellbeing Service offers confidential help with a wide range of personal and emotional concerns and is available to every student at the University, free of charge. All kinds of students find their way to us from all over the University and for all sorts of reasons. We are experienced in providing support to students for bereavement and many other kinds of loss.

The service has three strands: wellbeing advice, counselling, and mental health advice. They are all linked together so when you apply you only have to approach us once – we will sort out which one is most likely to meet your needs.

To contact us or register for support see our article on accessing support from the Student Wellbeing Service.


Library books

The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:

  • Morris, S - Overcoming Grief - 155.937/MOR
  • Tatelbaum, J - The Courage to Grieve - 155.937/TAT
  • Wertheimer, A - A Special Scar. The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide - 362.89/WER

You can search the Library Catalogue here.


Other resources

If you would like to research more around the topic of loss and bereavement, the Student Wellbeing Service can recommend the following self help resources:

A range of self-help booklets (available also as MP3 downloads), with one on Bereavement in particular.

This Royal College of Psychiatrists leaflet gives information about how people normally grieve after a loss, unresolved grief, places to get help, other sources of information and ways in which friends and relatives can help.

A national bereavement charity that supports bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents after the death of a child/ children within the family – of any age and through any cause. Includes a telephone helpline, forum, information leaflets, information on local support and specialist sibling support.

Local support for bereaved people, including free one-to-one counselling, support, friendship and social groups, and life coaching.

This self-help organisation supports those bereaved by the suicide of a close relative or friend. Includes a confidential helpline, information leaflets, support by e-mail, group meetings (including a Portsmouth branch), and events.

A comprehensive, free online resource which provides information about common emotional problems and practical help in treating them, with a range of strategies and exercises and an online workbook to track progress and record experiences. Includes specific programmes for loss and bereavement, as well as separation and divorce.

Large charity that promotes the wellbeing of bereaved people, helping people to understand their grief and cope with their loss. As well as providing free care to all bereaved people, it also offers information, support and training to those who are looking after them. Includes a wealth of online information.

An organisation that offers help to bereaved students.

For students bereaved by the suicide of family members.


University of Portsmouth Student Wellbeing Service Contact Details:

Phone: +44 (0)23 9284 3466


Location: Nuffield Centre, Second Floor, St Michael's Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2ED

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