Webpage written by Ellis age 18 from Leeds

Bereavement and Loss


Grief is a natural response to loss. It is something that most of us will experience at some point in our lives. Grief and loss was particularly difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Young people may experience grief differently depending on a range of different factors such as the relationship you may have had with the person, religious beliefs and so on.

Grief starts off by impacting the brain. However, it also affects the whole body. A fight or flight response which is usually triggered during times of fear and stress is started in response to loss.

“Sometimes it’s okay if the only thing you did today was breathe.”

The different stages of grief

It is normal to feel the 5 stages of grief:

1. Denial. You may carry on as if nothing had happened and refusing to believe someone you may have been close to isn’t coming back. 

2. Anger. You may be angry towards the person who has died for leaving you and not being there for you in the future. You could also be angry and blame yourself for having not done something that may have prevented their death.

3. Bargaining. It’s often hard to come to terms with the fact that nothing can be done to change the situation. You may feel helpless. You may start to dwell on the past and wonder if things would have turned out differently or if you could change something. 

4. Depression. Life can feel like it no longer has any meaning as it’s almost like you’ve lost a part of yourself.

5. Acceptance. Accepting your loss and being prepared to move on to the next stage of life without that person.

These key stages allow people who have suffered from loss to reflect and understand their grief better. Whilst these stages may be a shared experience to many, it’s important to note that different people can experience these stages in different orders. There’s no set way of how to grieve.


  • It’s important to note that while everyone experiences grief at some point, we all react to loss in different ways. It’s important that we support each other throughout these difficult times.
  • It’s important to open up about your feelings and not keep them to yourself. Try to maintain social connections.
  • Grief doesn’t just trigger emotional responses but also physical ones which may affect daily life.
  • Grief is like an emotional rollercoaster. A range of different emotions may be experienced such as anger and sadness.


Frequently Asked Questions 

What type of things do people grieve about?

Grieving doesn’t just have to do with the loss of a person. It can involve many different things such as a major change in life such as moving away from somewhere, unfulfilled expectations, losing a job, a divorce or losing a pet to list a few.

How to cope with grief?

  • It’s important not to neglect your health during times of grief and that you continue to eat regular and healthy meals and do exercise even if you don’t feel like it.
  • It’s also important to get a healthy amount of sleep. Looking after your body can make it easier for you to cope with difficult feelings.
  • Spending time with family and friends will allow you to feel supported through these times. You should try to do things that make you feel happy and provide a distraction from the ongoing feeling of grief.
  • Focus on the good times with the person you have lost, this may help you to accept your loss and move on.

Why does grief cause physical pain?

Grief can cause physical symptoms as well as the more well known emotional responses. It can cause aches in joints, stiffness and headaches. This could be due to the extra amounts of stress hormones produced by the body during grief triggering a continuous fight or flight response as mentioned earlier. This means muscles and joints have to continuously respond to these placing them under stress. It’s important to allow feelings associated with grief to be expressed rather than suppressing them. This not only contributes to a better mental health but also provides physical relief.

Will grief ever go away?

We respond to grief through learning to “grow around” it as opposed to it going away. This theory can be illustrated through an analogy. Imagine a circle representing someone’s life. The circle is then shaded in to represent grief taking over and filling every aspect of life. As time goes on, instead of the shaded part representing grief shrinking, it remains the same but life grows around it through new experiences. On some days grief may feel as intense as when the loss had first occurred. However, on other days life may be lived outside the circle. This allows you to move on with other parts of life.

Grief occurs in episodes and can often be triggered by things like places you visit, smells, or sounds which trigger memories of the person that has died.


How to support someone else going through grief?

Grief can be overwhelming and may affect our daily activities and our interactions with others.

  • While some people may hide grief, other people may want to open up and talk
  • Listen to what they have to say
  • Make sure they keep healthy

Why am I not feeling bereavement after a loss?

  • You may feel guilty and upset at not being able to grieve over a person in a way that you would’ve liked to or the way you thought they would’ve wanted
  • You may have had a difficult relationship with the person
  • You already expected it, you may feel relieved because they were suffering from an illness

Is it normal to want to be alone all the time?

Some people prefer to be alone and isolate themselves after losing a loved one. Other people prefer to talk about it. Young people say that going to school or college can be really difficult at first. This is normal. 

Why do we grieve?

Grief is believed to have been a natural part of our evolution.

In the past, people needed to make relationships with others in order to survive. These relationships meant that we would go looking for missing members of a group.

In the process of evolving into the social species we are today, we started to form deep attachments to others that we love.

Where can I get help?

When you lose someone close to you, it’s natural to feel sad, depressed, worried or angry. Everyone reacts in their own way. If you’re finding it hard to cope, we can help you find support.

Leeds mind logo.png Compassionate support across West Yorkshire and Craven for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide. Delivered by staff who understand it because they've been there. Open Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, and Friday 9am to 4:30pm. Call 0113 305 5800 or email sbs@leedsmind.org.uk

1200px-Winston's_Wish_logo.jpg Winston's Wish is the UK's childhood bereavement charity. Talk Grief is a dedicated website for grieving teenagers and young adults, run by Winston’s Wish. The Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger text service provides free, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, anonymous crisis support across the UK. If you are experiencing a  crisis and need support, you can text WW to 85258.

Grief encounter logo.png Grief encounter supports children and young people through bereavement. They have a free webchat service available. Opening times: 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday call 0808 802 0111 email grieftalk@griefencounter.org.uk

youngminds logo YoungMinds is leading the movement to make sure every young person gets the mental health support they need, when they need it, no matter what.

HOPE-AGAIN-IDENT-FINAL.png Hope Again is the youth website of Cruse bereavement support. It is a safe place where you can learn from other young people how to cope with grief and feel less alone.

 Text Chat Health Leeds 07520 619 750, Calderdale 07480 635297 or Bradford and Kirklees 07312 263032. Chat Health aim to reply to your text message within 24 hours 8.30am to 4pm, Mon to Fri.