Coronavirus: Marie Curie launches bereavement support line in response to BAME people dying at higher rates

A new nationwide bereavement support service has been launched by Marie Curie, the UK’s leading end of life charity. The service launches alongside the recent news from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are significantly more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people.

The new service launched earlier this month and the charity is sharing the message that its new bereavement service, and its emotional and spiritual support, is available to all, and is urging anyone who needs it to access the free telephone helpline at this time.

The charity says that while the reasons why BAME people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 are not yet fully understood, it is clear there is an immediate need to support the people who have been bereaved during this crisis.

Lockdown measures and isolation will make grief harder and likely lead to complex grief for many. Even as deaths from the virus fall, many people will still face an ongoing crisis of grief and bereavement.

Marie Curie Bereavement Services Coordinator, Angharad Burden, said: 

“The figures from the ONS are shocking and confirm the devastating impact that coronavirus is having on BAME people and communities. While we may not fully know yet why BAME people are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, Marie Curie wants people to know that we are here at this difficult time for anyone who needs someone to talk to about their grief.

“Our bereavement support is provided by trained volunteers. People can also access support on the phone from Marie Curie Nurses who can provide practical information for people caring for a loved one with a terminal illness or COVID-19and a translation service is available for people whose first language is not English.

“We have heard from a number of people who are grieving in isolation. They’ve told us that they wouldn’t normally feel the need to access support but being in lockdown means they have been unable to lean on their usual support networks for help. Lockdown measures have impacted people’s ability to visit their loved ones who are dying, and there has been so much disruption to funerals which is making things so much harder for people during this crisis. If people are out there struggling, then we are here to help.”

Marie Curie’s national bereavement service is available to anyone affected by the death of a loved one from a terminal illness and COVID-19. The service enables people to access free bereavement support from a dedicated volunteer, over the phone, for up to six weeks.

The bereavement service is in addition to the charity’s telephone support line which is already available for anyone, including health and social care professionals to call for practical information and emotional support as well as clinical guidance on care for the dying.

To access Marie Curie’s new bereavement service, call its support line on 0800 090 2309.

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