Spectrum Life is our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is a confidential, neutral service provided by an external company to support colleagues at the University, including free counselling.
Grief, bereavement and loss
Read stories shared by your colleagues about their experience of grief here.
What is grief?
"Grief can be difficult and stressful and nearly everybody goes through it at some point in their lives. Despite this, it can be very difficult to predict how we might react to a loss, as it is a very individual process. In most cases, grief is not a diagnosable mental health problem. It is absolutely normal that grief places strain on our everyday lives and it can take a long time to adapt to life after a loss. Even after a long period, it is still normal to experience days like the difficult early days after a bereavement, but over a period of time we gradually learn to manage these." - Mind
If you or someone you know is experiencing grief please refer to the support options below.
- Spectrum Life is our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which is a confidential, external service to support colleagues at the University. They provide up to six sessions of free counselling.
- If you are experiencing grief it can help to talk to your manager who can refer you to Occupational Health for support. Alternatively, you can make a self-referral direct to the Occupational Health Team.
Colleague Grief and Bereavement Group
This group is led and supported by the University Chaplaincy (as facilitators with Cruse training) and Colleague Wellbeing. It is a support network for colleagues and PGRs experiencing any form of grief or bereavement. You could be at any stage of this experience including, for example, a recent loss, a loss some time ago, facing the future loss of someone close, a miscarriage, or the 'loss' of someone still living in the case of advanced dementia where personality change and memory loss can be common. The group is a safe space for sharing/listening and practical/reflective activities with much mutual support. This is open to all colleagues regardless of worldview or religious faith.
You do not need to register to attend, you can just turn up to the sessions that suit you. At in-person sessions, anyone attending is welcome to arrive up to 30 minutes beforehand if it helps to relax and unplug from work. The facilitator will also be available directly afterwards if you want to have a private chat (completely optional). To find out more about this group please email either Ramona or Colleague Wellbeing.
Here are the upcoming meetings:
DATE TIME LOCATIONS 27 September (Wednesday) 16.00-17.00
Online (ColleagueWellbeing@exeter.ac.uk for email/calendar invite list)
31 October (Tuesday) 12:30-13:30
Streatham campus: The Quiet Room in The Old Library
29 November (Wednesday) 16:00-17:00 Online (ColleagueWellbeing@exeter.ac.uk for email/calendar invite list) December - date TBC TBC TBC
Grief & Bereavement Network - Teams site
- Whether you attend the group meetings or not, you are very welcome to join the Grief and Bereavement network via our friendly Teams site. Ramona and Rosie (admin support and member) will use it to share information, dates etc. and members use it to check in with others, ask for advice, share information and things they've found helpful, or just share what they're going through with others who understand. To join the group please email: ColleagueWellbeing@exeter.ac.uk.
Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Guidance
- The University's latest guidance is available here: Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Guidance.
- The UoE Multifaith Chaplaincy offers one-to-one pastoral care and a confidential listening ear. They offer this to people of all faiths or no faith.
Other University resources
- Bereavement support booklet - for staff and students (note: this booklet contains references to student support available)
- Taking good care of ourselves can really help us to stay mentally well. Take a look at the ‘Self-care and staying well’ section for resources and advice.
- The University of Exeter library has an in-person and online wellbeing section you can access.
External support & Events
- Let's Talk About Loss for young grievers aged 18 - 35.
- AtALoss.org, a signposting website for bereavement support services in the UK.
- Cruse Bereavement Care - bereavement support, information and campaigning.
- Marie Curie have bereavement information (including support others), an online chat function, add hoc talk line and 'Check in and Chat' where you can access up to 12 weekly support sessions from a trained volunteer who can provide a listening ear and a safe space to talk. Thier support is tailored to those being affected by a terminal illness, whether that is the person diagnosed themselves, their carer or loved ones. It can be any form of terminal illness, including but not limited to a cancer diagnosis.
- NHS - Get help with grief after bereavement or loss
- A "Bereavement self-help guide" has been created by DPT NHS.
- The Access to Work Mental Health Support - a confidential service delivered by Remploy funded by the Department of Works and Pensions is available at no charge to any employees with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues affecting their work.
- Death Cafe - at a Death Cafe people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. Their objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives'.
- It can be helpful to go through one of Mind’s ‘Wellness Action Plans’ (workplace, remote and hybrid) with your manager so you can both explore how they can support you more with your wellbeing. They also offer a managers support guide.
- NHS Talking Therapies (previously called IAPT)- an NHS support you can refer yourself directly to for talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling, other therapies and guided self-help.
Supporting someone experiencing grief
- 'Your Colleague is Grieving. How Can You Help?' - Harvard Business Review
- Here is a useful infographic about supporting someone with grief from an organisation called BelievePerform we subscribe to. Once you click on the below you can then download it (by right-clicking -> 'Save images as'). You can then zoom in for greater clarity.