Workplace Counselling: Employee Bereavement

The use of workplace counselling is usually associated with helping the workforce manage stress, anxiety and feeling burnt out.  And while these are common and important issues that require attention, this understanding of the role of workplace counselling can be limiting and means that important issues can be overlooked.  One such issue – employee bereavement – is often not considered in the employee counselling provision and is perhaps even seen as taboo topic for workplace discussion.

Bereavement is something we will all face but the impact it has on our work is a topic that is often kept at arm’s length.  A grave face and well-meaning phrases like “I’m sorry for your loss” or “if there is anything I can do…” are frequently the extent of the support offered at work, which can leave employees feeling unsupported. 

More than half of employees have said they would leave their current role if they did not receive adequate support for a bereavement, and a third of line managers would welcome more support for bereaved colleagues[i].  It is clear that employees and workplaces benefit from ensuring that those suffering bereavement have access to professional bereavement counselling during a fragile and emotionally distressing time.

Bereavement can bleed into all aspects of life, not least our work.  Grief is powerful and unpredictable. It can cause sleep deprivation, disassociation, flashbacks, and powerful emotions including sadness, anger, shock and guilt.  It can change the way we work, affect our concentration, diminish engagement and efficacy, sometimes making even the simplest of tasks seem like insurmountable challenges.  It can also impact how we relate to our colleagues and our clients, with issues around isolation, anger and fear affecting our interactions.  Without professional support, grief can continue for prolonged periods, impacting the individual and the organisation.

Offering bereavement counselling for employees is an empathetic, intelligent and economical response to mental health issues that can accompany grief.  Our Bereavement Counselling Team all have extensive post BACP Qualification experience of supporting people through bereavement in the working environment. These specialist counsellors create a professional and safe space where employees can open up about their feelings, offering concrete means for individuals to process their grief whilst also building frameworks that allow reengagement with their work.

Bereavement Counselling Services are available on a regular or ad hoc basis and if you would like further information, please us at [email protected] or complete the form below:


[i] https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/bereaved-family-friends/work/employer-resources/research-data-bereavement-work

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