Bereavement and support

We understand that the death of a loved one can be a sad and distressing time. You or your family and friends may need extra help. There are a number of free and confidential self-referral services in Camden. They can support you with bereavement during this period of uncertainty.

Helpline Support

This is quick to access though you may have to wait on the line or be phoned back.

  • Samaritans offer round the clock support for anyone who is experiencing stress, despair or is in crisis. You can call them free on 116123 or if that is not possible call 0330 094 5717. You may be charged for this 0330 number, depending on your phone package. 
  • Cruse Bereavement Care host a number of wellbeing support resources specific to coronavirus on their website, cruse.org.uk/get-help/coronavirus-dealing-bereavement-and-grief. You can also call them on 0808 808 1677, Monday to Friday.
  • The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people. They are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can call them on 0800 470 80 90

Counselling support by phone 

This is more intensive support and may take a little longer to arrange. 

  • Camden, City, Islington & Westminster Bereavement Service (CCIWBS) offer counselling to anyone aged 18 or over with a GP in Camden or Islington. You can contact them via 0207 284 0090 or visit their website at bereavement-counselling.org
  • iCope is a free and confidential service that provides support for stress, depression and anxiety which can sometimes accompany a sudden bereavement. Please note, iCope is not a crisis or emergency service. You can contact them by calling 020 3317 6670 or visit their website at icope.nhs.uk/camden-islington
  • The Brandon Centre provides confidential help and advice for young people aged 12 to 24 and their parents and carers.  This covers a range of issues including counselling and is open on weekdays. Please see brandon-centre.org.uk/ or email counselling@brandoncentre.org.uk.
  • Age UK Camden offer counselling sessions to people aged 55 and over who are registered with a GP in Camden. You can call them 020 7239 0400, email counselling@ageukcamden.org.uk or visit ageuk.org.uk/camden/
  • Marie Curie Telephone Bereavement Support provide support to anyone affected by a terminal illness or concerns about coronavirus, whether directly affected or a family member. You can call them on 0800 090 2309 seven days a week or visit mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/coronavirus.

We want to help you however we can. If you have a question or concern or need signposting to a more specialist bereavement service, please fill in our and someone will come back to you.

If you are finding it difficult to cope with bereavement in self-isolation, please see our advice on how to keep positive and improve your wellbeing.

Reporting a death

Our wonderful NHS are doing all they can to treat people affected by coronavirus – but we know that very sadly some residents in the borough will lose loved ones over the coming months. If you experience the death of a loved one at home then you should report it by calling 111 or 999.  

Register a death

Immediately following the death of a loved one there are a number of arrangements that need to be made. This can be especially difficult in the case of a sudden or unexpected death. Our registrars are available to guide you through the process and can signpost you to any extra bereavement support you might need.

For the duration of the pandemic period, death registrations will be completed by telephone appointment. You can book an appointment online at camden.gov.uk/births-deaths-marriages-citizenship or call 020 7974 4444. The Hospital or GP practice should send the relevant documents to us. Once that has been done, the registrars will call you to book an appointment. At the appointment you will need to provide our registrars with information about the person who died, they will then record these details and provide you with a document that will allow you to make arrangements for a funeral. Deaths should be registered within five days.

We also offer a ‘tell us once’ service which will automatically inform all relevant Government departments of a death. We can help you arrange for a same day burial service if needed.

For more information visit camden.gov.uk/deaths-in-camden.

If you do not feel able to register a death, then the Coronavirus Bill passed by Parliament expands the powers of a funeral director to do so on your behalf. If you would prefer a funeral director to register a death, please speak directly with them.

Funerals

Despite this unprecedented time, we know that it’s important to say goodbye to loved ones. That’s why we’re working with professionals in the funeral sector, faith leaders and others to ensure that, wherever possible, family wishes will be respected and acknowledged.

Government guidance currently allows funerals to continue, however, to comply with social distancing rules that keep you, other mourners and funeral staff safe, you are asked to keep attendance to close family members only.

When organising a funeral you may want to consider:

  • Who is attending, being mindful of those in high risk groups
  • Recording eulogies on your phone or another device for those unable to attend
  • Practicing social distancing by organising a seating plan
  • Organising a celebration of life or memorial for a later date, when it is safe for more people to attend

Funerals may also have to be shorter at this time so that the venue can be cleaned between services. These measures remain under constant review by the Government and we will update the guidance if any changes are made.

We understand and recognise the importance of ensuring some of our faith communities are able to bury their loved ones within a set time frame. To support our communities, our Registrars are continuing to offer of a same day burial service to those who need it. In addition, Islington and Camden’s shared cemetery service have set aside extra burial plots for faith communities.

To further assure faith communities, emergency legislation passed by the Government to help deal with the pandemic has made clear that there will no enforced cremations against the wishes of an individual so long as burial space is available. 
 

Support paying for a funeral

We know that some of you will be facing financial difficulty as a result of the current health emergency and that the cost of funeral arrangements for a loved one may be adding further stress to already upsetting circumstances.

The Government offer a number support packages that you may be eligible for including the Funeral Expenses Payment which can provide financial assistance to family or friends with the costs of a funeral. The Government have issued guidance on how you can access this at gov.uk/funeral-payments.

Funeral Expenses Payments can help with some of the costs of the following:

  • Burial fees for a particular plot,
  • Cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate,
  • Travel to arrange or attend the funeral,
  • The cost of moving the body within the UK, if moved more than 50 miles,
  • Death certificates and other documents.

If your husband, wife or civil partner has passed away then you may also be eligible for up to 18 months of bereavement support payments, you can find out more about how to access this here

If you are a parent and have lost your husband, wife of civil partner then you may also be eligible for a widowed parent’s allowance. You can find out more here.