Covid-19 and bereavement: Fellows’ case studies

Patrick Vernon (above) has launched a special fund to help BAME families bereaved by Covid-19

Churchill Fellows are taking action against Covid-19 in a multitude of crucial areas, including working on measures to support those who have experienced bereavement. Here are their latest activities and insights.

Sharon McDonnell: mental health

Charity director Sharon McDonnell has been supporting people bereaved by suicide during the pandemic, via her organisation, Suicide Bereavement UK. With the reported rise in mental health problems during lockdown, Sharon is also organising a conference and seminar which will explore the long-term impact of coronavirus on the wellbeing of frontline staff,  those who were hospitalised and those who have been bereaved during the pandemic. The seminar will take place on 19 November 2020. Sharon's Churchill Fellowship explored best practice in suicide bereavement. Read Sharon's Fellowship Report: Witnessing good practice in the field of suicide bereavement.

Julie Stokes: charity support

Charity leader Julie Stokes, founder of Winston's Wish, the UK's childhood bereavement charity, is providing specialist bereavement support for families and children affected by Covid-19. To tackle rising bereavement levels and the current restrictions on mourning, Julie and the charity have launched specialist advice and guidance on their website. This ranges from managing grief in self-isolation, to how to say goodbye when a funeral isn't possible, to talking to children about coronavirus and the death of a loved one. Additionally Julie is offering coaching advice and podcasts for businesses and leaders tackling bereavement at this time. Winston's Wish was founded as a result of Julie's Churchill Fellowship which explored stress management in bereaved children.

Erin Hope Thompson: charity support

Charity leader Erin Hope Thompson, founder of a cancer bereavement charity, has launched a support service specifically for people who lose loved ones to Covid-19. Under Erin's leadership, her charity are providing free online grief support groups and a telephone support service, connecting people with professionals and with others who have experienced a similar loss to Covid-19. Erin is applying learnings from her Fellowship which explored best practice in bereavement support. Read Erin's Fellowship Report: Shaping cancer bereavement care: developing a framework for action.

Patrick Vernon: BAME community

Equality campaigner Patrick Vernon has launched a special fund to help BAME families bereaved by Covid-19, as NHS statistics show that BAME communities are suffering higher rates of CV19 fatalities than the national average. The new Majonzi Fund will offer small grants for memorial events and tributes to be held post-lockdown as well as for access to bereavement counsellors and therapists. Patrick has received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to develop and expand this Fund. In addition Patrick has successfully campaigned for greater recognition for Mary Seacole, a Jamaican-born nurse who cared for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War. On 4 May, Headley Court in Surrey - a former rehab centre for injured soldiers - was reopened as the Seacole Centre and will be used as a temporary facility for patients recovering from Covid-19. An article about Patrick's campaigning efforts ran on the BBC website. Patrick's Fellowship explored black heritage and mental wellbeing.

Fellows' activities on Covid-19

Covid-19 Action Plan

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