NEWS19 May 2021

NatCen launches bereavement study

Covid-19 News Public Sector UK

UK – The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has begun a research project into Covid-19’s impact on bereavement, grief and funeral practices and customs and how this affects mental health and wellbeing.


NatCen will examine the formal and informal support people need following bereavement during the Covid-19 pandemic and how public health messages could support mourners in managing the funeral process when social distancing is required.

The research, which is led by Caroline Turley, director of qualitative methods, and Dr Priya Khambhaita, research director in health and social care, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) study on the response to the pandemic.

The research team will carry out interviews with 30 bereaved families to explore the short and long-term impacts of bereavement on their mental health and wellbeing.

There will be another set of interviews with 30 funeral directors to understand changes to the funeral planning process during Covid-19.

Good practice guidance will be released following the conclusion of the research programme and recommendations will span across cultures, faiths and beliefs as well as bereavement support and public health messaging.

Turley said: “Lockdowns, social distancing guidance and restrictions around funeral attendance have vastly altered people’s experience of bereavement and grief. This has caused distress for many bereaved families who have not been able to say goodbye to loved ones, or be supported by family and friends, in the way they might have wanted.

“This research will speak directly with those affected, to help develop recommendations around funerary practices and bereavement support.”