The free service, commissioned by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP), is delivered by West Yorkshire and Harrogate Independent Hospices Consortium, Bradford Bereavement Services Consortium and Leeds Mind, and will be launched on 29 June 2020. The practical and emotional support and advice service is available 7 days a week, from 8am to 8pm.
Open to people in West Yorkshire and Harrogate, the service is the first point of contact for anyone suffering any form of grief and loss, or those worried about losing someone, whether this relates to a family member, friend or member of their community. It is also available to those feeling impacted by the deaths of public figures and/or the volume of deaths across the country.
People may have lost someone who has died from another condition other than the virus and that loss may have felt all the more difficult, for example, they may have been unable to visit a loved one during an illness or see them in their final days due to the virus.
People will be able to self-refer to the service or will be signposted by other agencies such as the police, hospital bereavement services, funeral directors, GPs, community and faith organisations and others. People will be signposted to further support where required, with the service well-connected to local place-based specialist bereavement support services.
Dr Sarah Munro, CEO Lead for WY&H Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Autism Collaborative and CEO for Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “It is sadly the case that many more people have suffered loss and grief throughout the past few months. This can be made more distressing due to the restrictions that have been in place, which reduces access to the usual practical and emotional support we might usually receive from family and friends. That is why this additional service is so important and what makes it unique is the relationships it will have with specialist local organisations. This service will relieve some of the pressure on these valued local support networks and in doing so enable more people to get support with their grief and loss at a time when they need it”.
West Yorkshire and Harrogate Independent Hospices Consortium Chief Executive Tony Collins said: “We hope this collaboration between Leeds Mind, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Independent Hospices Consortium and Bradford Bereavement Services Consortium to deliver this service will go some way to assuring the mental and physical wellbeing of those in our community who have been affected, both now and as social isolation and associated restrictions are relaxed and ultimately lifted”.
Lucy Hancock, Operations Director for Leeds Mind, added: “The challenges of the last few months have generated many instances of grief and loss, and it is vitally important that people are supported through these experiences. We’re proud to be working in partnership on this project, to ensure both practical and emotional support is available as we emerge from this strange period.”
The phone number for the telephone support line is: 0808 196 3833, while a live chat and live text functionality will be available on the website.